Sand and Tsunamis
Travels between Saudi Arabia and Japan
About Us (3)
Dave in Japan (8)
Futureland (Japan) (6)
News and Other Scary Stuff (17)
Other Travels... (12)
Picture Postings (21)
Rants and Ramblings (13)
The Magical Kingdom (33)
* Cool Map Feature...
* Visit to Odawara Castle
* Some pictures
* They let women DRIVE here!
* Cool things here in Japan
* Adventures in Sushi
* Adjusting to Life in Japan
* What an exciting year...
* TIBETAN CHEST: DETAIL
* NEW FURNITURE!
* Feb Brunch at Shonan Village
* KH hongkong
* HONG KONG: FEB 05
* Eat a camel?
* This Just In...US to Cease Existence in 2007!
* This Just In...
* This Just In...Easter Bunny Gets Pummeled by Boy at Mall
* This Just In....When Old Ladies Attack
October 09, 2004
happened today. It's pretty historic for many reasons, not the least of which is that it's the first time women have been allowed to vote, an historic achievement. May the progress towards a democratic government and a bright future continue.
KABUL (Reuters) - Poll stations officially closed in Afghanistan's historic presidential election on Saturday with no reports of any major attacks by Taliban militants who had vowed to sabotage the process.
The election has been jolted by a boycott of 15 of the 18 candidates in the fray, who alleged irregularities in the conduct of the poll. Election authorities said the complaints did not justify halting the voting.
© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
TOMORROW, millions of Afghans will go to the polls to select their president for the next five years. After a month of campaigning and months of planning, Afghans across this rugged land and refugees in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran will choose from among 18 candidates. For the first time in their history, Afghans will select a national leader by secret ballot and with the full support of the international community.
Four years ago, such a situation was almost undreamt of. The Taleban had its grip firmly on the levers of power in Afghanistan and tolerated no opposition or dissent. Human rights were trampled underfoot; women's rights were virtually non-existent. Children were not free to study, and women and girls were confined to their homes. Investment - in the economy, in basic infrastructure, education and health care - was at a standstill.
Today, the Taleban is gone and the Afghan people stand at the dawn of a new day. Thanks to their hard work and some targeted assistance from the United Nations and over four dozen nations and friends of Afghanistan, the Afghan people will chart their own political destiny. At more than 4,900 polling centres across the country, Afghans will cast their ballots.
Provincial authorities will hear voters' complaints of any irregularities. International and domestic monitors will be present at many polling stations. Votes will be tallied at counting centres in the presence of candidate representatives and the media. The interim election commission will compile the results and publish the final tally.
These elections, while extremely important, are part of an ongoing and irreversible process. Over the past 2 1/2 years, Afghans have come together to chart their political future with the Bonn Accords, establish an Interim Government with the Emergency Loya Jirga, and adopt a forward-looking and progressive Constitution at the Constitutional Loya Jirga. Next spring will see another important step - parliamentary elections, followed by the seating of parliament, and then the ongoing strengthening of local institutions and the deepening of civic education. All of these steps embody the consolidation of democracy.
The Afghan government, with the support of the international community, has started to nurture grassroots democracy at the local level. Its leaders are encouraging the organisation of village and district councils to form a vital local government base upon which Afghans can build a moderate, stable and democratic state and society. These and other efforts will draw upon strong Afghan traditions for local empowerment through councils and consensus.
It will take time to build the political institutions needed for a modernising state and to educate the next generation in the habits of political self-determination and support for good governance and strong democracy. But Afghanistan already has the most important component for making this process work - the burning desire of its people, after decades of war and devastation, to build a democracy and govern themselves. Efforts by millions of Afghans - to make the long trek to registration offices, to wait patiently in queues, to brave the threats of the Taleban and others to kill them for seeking self-government - represent political self-determination of the most fundamental sort.
When the Taleban attacked election workers, Afghans responded by swiftly apprehending the perpetrators. When insurgents hijacked a bus and murdered Afghans who had registered to vote, Afghans responded by registering to vote in record numbers. When the Afghan government asked the international community to increase security in more dangerous parts of the country to improve the climate for elections, the international community heeded that call. Such courage must be honoured and supported, and the United States and others in the international community are doing that. There are now more than 18,000 coalition troops and almost 9,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan, with additional forces on call if needed. The UN, non-governmental organisations and other donors have contributed generously to support the registration and balloting process. In Berlin in April, and at this year's UN General Assembly, the leaders of the international community affirmed their unwavering commitment to the people of Afghanistan.
AN ENDURING FUTURE ALLY
AS PRESIDENT George W. Bush has emphasised, it is freedom's most precious assets - tolerance, the rule of law and the protection of civil rights - that create successful societies around the world. In Afghanistan, the US is supporting a civilian government, the Bonn Process, and initiatives to strengthen security and provide a foundation for educating the next generation. If we and other friends of Afghanistan remain committed to this strategy, Afghanistan will emerge as a moderate and democratic society, true to its Islamic heritage, as well as an enduring ally in the war against terrorism.
Posted by djf on October 9, 2004 06:33 PM
Category: News and Other Scary Stuff
Email this page