On the Other Side of the World, an Even More Dysfunctional Election: America Has a Huge Stake in Afghanistan’s Future
New York Daily News, 2018
4 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2020
Date Written: November 9, 2018
Late last month, Afghanistan finally held its long-overdue parliamentary election, sort of. Defying Taliban threats and assaults, approximately 4 million brave Afghans cast their ballots in the hope of institutionalizing democracy in Afghanistan. Crucially, the parliamentary election was a test run for a more consequential spectacle: the upcoming presidential race in April. However, as the parliamentary polls dust — or sandstorm — begins to settle, the prospects for a fair and transparent presidential election look bleak.
Unfortunately, the chaotic election, electoral authorities’ questionable conduct, and government interference have stoked fears about a repeat of the fraud-riddled fiasco that marred the 2014 presidential race. It would be a tragic irony if the ostensible guardians of Afghanistan’s electoral system end up strangling the fledgling democracy from within — a job the Taliban has failed to do. The international community, including the United States, has a crucial role in averting yet another major crisis, while it might still be possible.
Keywords: Afghanistan, Afghan War, Taliban, Afghan Election, Parliamentary Polls, Presidential Election, Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, Fraud, Democracy, UNAMA, United States
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