A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, September 17, 2005

This sort of thing deserves more coverage

AP: Afghanistan Holds Landmark Elections---

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans went to the polls Sunday to elect a new legislature, hoping to bolster a fragile democracy after a quarter-century of war and sideline the Taliban militants who fought to undermine the vote.

"Today is a magnificent day for Afghanistan," said Ali Safar, 62, who was standing in line to vote in the capital, Kabul. "We want dignity, we want stability and peace. Thirty years of war and poverty is enough."

Some 12.4 million Afghans were registered to vote at more than 6,000 polling stations, guarded by some 100,000 Afghan police and soldiers and 30,000 foreign troops.

The Taliban called for a boycott of the elections, but said they would not attack civilians heading to the polls. A wave of assaults in the 48 hours leading up to the vote left nine militants and three policemen dead.

Security forces said they thwarted four rebel bombings, including an attempt to blow up a massive dam.

The vote was seen as the last formal step toward democracy on a path set out after a U.S.-led force drove the Taliban from power in 2001, when they refused to hand over Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11 attacks.
A U.S. military spokesman, Col. James Yonts, predicted "a massive number" of voters would turn out, telling The Associated Press that "this election will send a powerful message to the Taliban that their influence is waning."