Apathy and Fear of Taliban Combine to Keep Rural Voters Away From the Polls | Azam Ahmed
While polling centers across Kabul and other Afghan cities were celebrating record turnouts on Saturday, Tahir Khan, a tribal leader in rural Nangarhar Province, experienced a very different Election Day.
“It was a dead zone,” he said, referring to the eastern province’s Shinwar district. “All the polling centers were closed, and people hardly left their homes.”
The truth in Shinwar, and in some other rural areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan where the insurgency is strongest, is that the Taliban did not have to pick up their rifles to disrupt the vote on Saturday.
In some districts that were still nominally open for polling, residents were too frightened about the Taliban’s threat to punish voters, too dubious about the security forces’ ability to protect them or too disenchanted with the national government in general to turn out to vote.
FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)
Photo: Helmand PRT, Lashkar Gah/flickr