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Polls open in historic Afghan election

Old 10-09-04, 12:08 AM
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Polls open in historic Afghan election

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2...election_x.htm
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) Afghanistan's first-ever direct presidential election began Saturday, with people across this ethnically diverse land casting the first ballots in an improbable experiment with democracy.
After 25 years of near constant war and under a Taliban threat of ruinous violence voters descended on bombed-out schools, blue-domed mosques, and bullet-pocked hospitals to choose their leader for the first time in their history.

Interim leader Hamid Karzai is widely expected to win the vote against 15 rivals, among them warlords, royalists and even an Islamic poet. But the size of the field could deny Karzai the outright majority needed to avert a run-off.

A 19-year-old Afghan refugee in Pakistan became the election's first voter early Saturday, casting a ballot in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

"I cannot explain my feelings, just how happy I am," said Moqadasa Sidiqi, a science student whose family escaped Kabul in 1992 during the Afghan civil war. "I would never have thought I would be able to vote in this election."

Some 750,000 Afghan refugees registered to vote in Pakistan, and another 400,000-600,000 were eligible in Iran. Initial results were not expected until late Sunday or early Monday, but anything approaching a full count could take as much as two weeks.

While the Taliban threat of an overwhelming attack had not materialized by early Saturday, there were plenty of signs the rebel group was trying. On Friday, a bomb-sniffing dog in southern Kandahar discovered a fuel-truck rigged with anti-tank mines and laden with 10,000 gallons of gasoline.

Election officials arrested three Pakistanis and said they planned to detonate the truck in the center of the city on polling day.

"This would have caused hundreds of deaths ... and the electoral process would have been derailed in the area," said Col. Ishaq Paiman, the Defense Ministry deputy spokesman.

A flurry of rockets landed in several cities around the country on Thursday and Friday, including one that hit a parking lot near the U.S. Embassy, and another that injured a young girl and an old man in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Still, none threatened to derail the vote, and most Afghans brushed them off.

"In 25 years a lot of rockets have landed. If another one lands because of the election, it's no problem," said Noor Uddin, a 49-year-old Kabul businessman, on Friday. "(Saturday) is a happy and historic day. That's what is important."

A day ahead of the vote, Islamic clerics urged Friday worshippers to embrace democracy, while election workers scurried to ready voting booths.

At the Blue Mosque, the capital's largest house of prayer, Mullah Obeid-ul Rahman told some 400 faithful that Islam and democracy should go hand and hand.

"Saturday you should go and vote. Put your card in the box and say 'God be praised!'" he said. "Give your vote to that person who is a good Muslim and can heal Afghanistan's injured soul."

Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said more than 100,000 Afghan soldiers and police, regional militias allied to the government, U.S. troops and international peacekeepers were deployed to protect the vote.

Expectations for the election have been set intentionally low.

Afghans have no experience with democracy, and most say they will vote based on the recommendations of tribal elders. The country of 25 million people is largely illiterate, and voters will have to rely on candidates' photographs and electoral symbols to figure out which box to check.

Both the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have sent observer missions, but neither will pass judgment on the fairness of the process, saying it would not be appropriate to try to hold Afghanistan to international standards. A small U.S. observer team also was monitoring the vote.

Afghanistan has lived under many forms of government in the past 30 years from Pashtun monarchy to Soviet-styled communism, from rule by warlords to repressive Taliban theocracy. Now there are signs that democracy is getting a chance.

Rahman, the Kabul cleric, did not say which presidential hopeful he would pick, but he made clear that the only female candidate, former U.N. worker Massooda Jalal, was not his choice.

"In Islam, it is forbidden for a woman to become president," he told the crowd.

At least one of his listeners disagreed.

"I am voting for Massooda Jalal," said Fazel Rahman, 35. "I have come here to pray. I don't care what the mullah says about politics."
No mention of the courageous, visionary leader who made these historic elections possible. The AP won't say it so I will. ''Thank you, President Bush!''
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Old 10-09-04, 12:17 AM
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Yeah, uh... thanks Bush. Very courageous of you.
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Old 10-09-04, 12:37 AM
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Yeah, uh... thanks Bush. Very courageous of you.

I can imagine what Clinton would have done for a legacy like this instead of the one he left on the blue dress.
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Old 10-09-04, 12:40 AM
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Whatever, Clinton bombed the hell out of that country too.
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Old 10-09-04, 12:40 AM
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I heard on the TV that a bomb went off at a polling place.
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Old 10-09-04, 12:44 AM
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I heard on the TV that a bomb went off at a polling place.
Some people are saying there was one, others are denying.
Whatever, Clinton bombed the hell out of that country too.
To quote a kick-ass president: Clinton "bombed an empty tent with a million dollar missile and hit a camel in the butt."
Or something like that.
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Old 10-09-04, 12:45 AM
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We should run away and when terrorists bomb places, we should retreat.

Some people just don't deserve freedom.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:11 AM
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Clinton admin. would probably call for 20 news briefing or addressing the nation by now.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:30 AM
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Praise be to the new democratic republic of Opium Poppyland.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:37 AM
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Praise be to the new democratic republic of Opium Poppyland.
It was much better when the Taliban was making the money from all the opium.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:40 AM
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ummmmm...... poppy seed bagel
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Old 10-09-04, 04:51 AM
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Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
Praise be to the new democratic republic of Opium Poppyland.
Where women don't get shot to death in a soccer stadium for showing an ankle.
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Old 10-09-04, 08:30 AM
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Sounds like it's over and the complaints are starting...

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...an_election_dc
Afghan Election Body Says Will Not Halt Vote


KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan (news - web sites)'s election authority said on Saturday the election process would continue in the country's historic presidential election despite a decision by most of the candidates to boycott the poll over irregularities.


"Halting the vote at this time is unjustified," Ray Kennedy, a member of the Joint Election Management Body, told reporters. "Afghans have turned out in large numbers (to vote) and the process has been safe and orderly."

Kennedy was speaking just minutes before polling stations officially closed at the appointed time of 4 p.m. and hours after all the candidates arrayed against President Hamid Karzai said they were boycotting the election because of problems with systems put in place to prevent illegal multiple polling.

The move by 15 of the 18 candidates in the fray effectively leaves Karzai as the only one standing -- two others withdrew in his favor earlier this week.

"Today's election is not a legitimate election. We are not a part of today's election," contender Abdul Satar Serat said after a meeting of most of the 15 candidates and representatives of the others.

Serat, flanked by all those who attended the meeting, accused election authorities of favoring the U.S.-backed Karzai.

There had earlier been widespread complaints that the wrong pens were being used to mark voters' fingers to show they had cast their ballot, and what should have been indelible ink could be quickly wiped off.

Officials said the complaints were the result of a minor misunderstanding -- the pens used to mark ballot papers had been mistaken for those used to mark voters. (Additional reporting by Sayed Salahuddin)
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Old 10-09-04, 08:56 AM
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"Today's election is not a legitimate election. We are not a part of today's election," contender Abdul Satar Serat said after a meeting of most of the 15 candidates and representatives of the others.
Way to concede...
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Old 10-09-04, 10:45 AM
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While the Taliban threat of an overwhelming attack had not materialized by early Saturday, there were plenty of signs the rebel group was trying. On Friday, a bomb-sniffing dog in southern Kandahar discovered a fuel-truck rigged with anti-tank mines and laden with 10,000 gallons of gasoline.

Election officials arrested three Pakistanis and said they planned to detonate the truck in the center of the city on polling day.

"This would have caused hundreds of deaths ... and the electoral process would have been derailed in the area," said Col. Ishaq Paiman, the Defense Ministry deputy spokesman.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
Praise be to the new democratic republic of Opium Poppylandstan.
fixed.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:11 PM
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Who the hell are Poppyl and Stan?
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Old 10-09-04, 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by bhk
Who the hell are Poppyl and Stan?
Think Bert and Ernie - with turbans and beards.
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Old 10-09-04, 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by bhk
It was much better when the Taliban was making the money from all the opium.
Now it is just the warlords making money from the opium. Woohoo!
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Old 10-09-04, 01:47 PM
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Originally posted by Jeremy517
Now it is just the warlords making money from the opium. Woohoo!
link?
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Old 10-09-04, 02:38 PM
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Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
Praise be to the new democratic republic of Opium Poppyland.
let's see what happens in 15 years. what else are people supposed to do for money there right now?
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Old 10-09-04, 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by Myster X
link?
You need a link to believe that most of the country is still run by warlords?
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Old 10-09-04, 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by al_bundy
let's see what happens in 15 years.
It only took the USA how many years to do away with slavery? I agree; give them time.
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Old 10-09-04, 04:32 PM
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all pro-Bush spin, anti-Bush spin, jokes and anything else aside this is something pretty damn historic that we can't understand because we take voting for granted so much. I mean come on donkeys carried ballots to remote places just so they can vote for the first time. Afghanis waited for hours in line not knowing if some crazy Taliban supporters would drive by and open fire on them. 10 million registered voters with 40 something percent being women! It's something great
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Old 10-09-04, 04:34 PM
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Originally posted by Jeremy517
Now it is just the warlords making money from the opium. Woohoo!



See, right now, we're sending in.. [ holds us McMuffin ] ..food.. [ puts McMuffin in front of Male Customer ] ..to Somalia.. but it's not getting to the people who need it because.. [ brings McMuffin back to himself ] ..it's being intercepted by the warlords.. [ chews McMuffin some more ] And it's not just us. It's other countries, too.. [ grabs a McNugget from another customer ] Your McNugget is aid from Great Britain.. [ takes it to other customer, then gibbles it down ] ..intercepted by warlords! [ grabs someone's Filet-o-Fish ] This man's Filet-o-Fish over here is relief from Italy.. [ pops it in his mouth ] ..warlords! And you can send all the food you want.. [ grabs different items ] ..a McDLT, hot apple pie.. it's just gonna end up with.. [ puts it all in his mouth ] ..the warlords!

(this is automatically what pops into my head when I hear the word "warlords" - thanks, SNL!)

Last edited by DJLinus; 10-09-04 at 04:38 PM.
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