The news that Afghanistan voters have turned out in huge numbers today…in spite of Threats by the Taliban…is testament to the will of a hardy and courageous people.
After decades of armed conflict going back far beyond the cold war Soviet invasion and the subsequent succession of Afghanistan wars up to the present day, the Afghan people have lived under the yolk of virtually every form of tyranny yet devised. With the very-real Taliban threats to disrupt the election (in recent weeks insurgents stepped up shootings and bombings in the heart of Kabul), the population at large could be forgiven if – as some feared – they had chosen to stay at home.
Instead, they turned out in droves!
People stood in long polling station queues for hours, many in poor weather conditions. The biggest problem proved to be a severe shortage of ballot papers. The Independent Election Commission ordered voting to be extended by an hour, with ballot papers being dispatched where they were needed.
Could you get anyone here (or in any developed country) to stand in a polling station queue for more than about 20 minutes? Let alone in the pouring rain or as ground zero for a suicide bomber.
We don’t know how lucky we are.