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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 16:54 UK

Afghan polling day experiences

Election observers have hailed Thursday's election in Afghanistan a success, after voting passed off relatively peacefully amid threats of Taliban attacks. But allegations of serious fraud threaten to overshadow the result.

Here, three Afghans share their election day experiences and reflect on the future.

ABDUL SABOOR ANSARY, 26, NGO WORKER, HERAT CITY

Abdul Saboor Ansary

People were worried because of the threats from the Taliban on Thursday morning. But as time passed we realised there were no major attacks here, so people felt safe to leave their homes and go out to vote.

The atmosphere was good, many people were happy to have the opportunity to express their opinion.

I believe this process is important. We must try our best to change our country. The poll was especially important for the young generation.

Yes, there were problems with voting. I have even heard of someone who voted three times. But, despite this, I still believe the election is important.

We are a young democracy. I was very happy to have the chance to vote for the second time.

I chose Abdullah Abdullah because he is an honest person who could make a difference. The problem with the current administration is that Karzai surrounds himself with friends rather than the most capable.

I am hopeful for the future of Afghanistan. People here are determined to develop the country, and no-one can stop us.

MOHAMMAD LATIF, 24, DOCTOR, KABUL

Mohammad Latif

I did not vote on Thursday. We had many candidates for the election, but I do not believe any of them can make a real difference.

Politicians are too closely connected to the Western governments, and not able to make a real difference. They are concerned about power, not the people.

People were optimistic after the Taliban were removed, but violence has gradually increased.

After the last election in 2004, the government promised to increase security, reduce poverty and decrease corruption. But all these things have actually got worse.

If you walk down the streets of Kabul you will see the atmosphere is tense. People are afraid of suicide attacks but also they don't like being stopped by Afghan soldiers and foreign troops.

I didn't see many people queuing to vote. I know people who said they did not vote because they were scared of the Taliban. Others said they would not vote as they did not trust any politicians.

It's difficult to say what the future will bring. But I fear the security situation will get worse.

I would like to see power in the hands of the people, not the government. I would like to see less involvement from foreign powers - but for now we still need help to defeat the Taliban.

MUZAFAR ALI, 28, OFFICE WORKER, NILLI, DAIKUNDI, HAZARAJAT

Muzafar Ali

The election went smoothly here - Hazarajat is relatively peaceful and cannot be compared with the more violent parts of the country.

People cast their votes without fear. And, thank God, there were no attacks in my area.

There were problems with the voting - but a lot of this is due to lack of public information.

Afghanistan is still a very backward country. For many, the main concern is survival. So it is up to candidates to reach out to the people. Is is up to the authorities to educate people about voting.

The election is very important. It is the only way to bring change in a peaceful manner. Any election is better than rule by the warlords or the repression of the Taliban.

I am optimistic that the new president - whoever he is - can continue to improve the country. But the next leader will have to take some concrete steps. Government must tackle the warlords. The poppy fields must be eradicated - as drugs are the fuel of the insurgency.

Most importantly, those who make plans in air-conditioned rooms in Kabul must think about how laws will affect ordinary people in the provinces. Leaders must think about how they can help people across the country.



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