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Afghan voices: 'Not what we wanted'

Hamid Karzai has been declared the elected president of Afghanistan by poll officials, after they scrapped the planned second round of the vote.

The decision comes a day after sole challenger Abdullah Abdullah pulled out, leaving only President Karzai in the race.

Here, ordinary people from across Afghanistan discuss whether the latest developments are good for the country.

BAZ MOHAMMAD ARYUBWAL, TRANSLATOR, KABUL
Baz Mohammad Aryubwal

This is the best outcome because Karzai is the best presidential candidate.

He's achieved so much. I've lived in this country for many years, through different periods of our recent history. What he achieved is something that hasn't happened in Afghanistan before.

We have democracy, we have freedom of speech. Everyone can say what they like now.

I voted for Karzai on 20 August. There was some insecurity on the day, but people went out to vote.

There was an incident, but straight afterwards police were advising people through loudspeakers that everything is under control and that it's ok to go out to vote.

I didn't observe any irregularities and to be honest, I think the election fraud is not as widespread as the Western media wants us to believe.

They have an agenda. They wanted to put pressure on Karzai so that he doesn't criticise them for the civilian deaths.

I am happy with the process and the outcome.

BASEER, UNIVERSITY STUDENT

To cancel the election and declare Karzai as president was not the right decision. I am very disappointed. People must feel hopeless, because all decisions are being taken for them.

The election should have taken place. The decision about who should lead the country should have been left to the people of Afghanistan. This is not what people wanted.

After all the violence and fraud during the first round, there was a little bit of hope that the run-off could put things right. There would have been a close competition between Karzai and Abdullah and maybe people would have voted for Abdullah for a change.


Death is looking us right in the eyes - we don't need an election, we need a peaceful day to work and study

The best solution after Abdullah's pull-out would have been for the loya jirga [tribal gathering] to convene, elect a new government and a third person to lead the country for a year or so, until the security situation improves. Then hold an election when the time is right.

They didn't give a chance to the election process or the loya jirga.

The majority of people agree that the conditions are distressed and that now is not the time to hold an election.

Death is looking us right in the eyes - we don't need an election, we need a peaceful day to work and study.

I know a large number of students and workers all saying that they weren't going to vote. Why take the risk to be killed by the Taliban when there'll be fraud and our votes will mean nothing.

We are hopeless with our current government and our current system. We don't know what may happen tomorrow - we are worried about that.

WAIS MEHRABI, TV PRESENTER, MAZAR-E-SHARIF
Wais Mehrabi

I am neither pleased nor disappointed with the announcement that Karzai has been declared president.

What I am very disappointed about is the election itself. I was hoping that the election will pave the road for a better democracy in the country and that people will feel that they have the power to choose their president.

With his decision to withdraw, Abdullah not only disappointed his supporters but more importantly, he undermined the legitimacy of the election. His demands were not logical and not constitutional. He couldn't have expected them to be met in such a short period of time.

It would have been much better to go ahead with the run-off. That would have restored the legitimacy of the election and whatever the result, it would have been what people wanted.

But there wasn't any point in holding an election with just one candidate. It would have been a waste of time and money.

I am happy that Karzai has finally been announced as president. I hope that it will not be used as a reason for Abdullah supporters to create further controversies.

We should let the past go and we should focus on what happens next. I expect everyone to put their differences behind and work to form a good government, a unity government.

I expect Karzai to invite some of the people around Abdullah in this government as they have abilities and potential. They should all work together to build a better future for our country.

BASIR AMIRI, 41, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTION WORKER, KABUL

I was on my way home when I heard the news on the radio that Karzai has been declared president. This is shocking news.

Everybody knows that the Independent Election Commission is far from independent. They are Karzai supporters.

Abdullah Abdullah has a large number of supporters and with this decision, the government is ignoring the will of these people.

Abdullah had legitimate reasons to pull out of the election and I think he made the right decision. But there should have been a third option.

A loya jirga should have been called, a big national assembly of people from all parts of Afghanistan. They should have been given the right to make the decision.

We don't accept Karzai as president because he is being forced on us.

There are too many irregularities in this government. People want a change in the system and we can't expect a change from Karzai.

People want to have better leadership, jobs, security, transparency and we want to see a person who is committed to bringing those changes. There was a hope that Abdullah could be that person. It is a big pity that was not meant to happen.

ANONYMOUS STUDENT, BAGHLAN

I am really upset. We don't want this president [Karzai]. Abdullah could have fulfilled our hopes. But now everything's going to be the same.

There is serious lawlessness here, there's so much corruption.

The policemen shot my cousin because his car was without a number plate. The police are trouble-makers in uniform.

We don't have any hope from Karzai. Everything will stay the same.

On the other hand - cancelling the election is good news from the security point of view.


Karzai should have been challenged in a run-off. Dr Abdullah made the wrong decision to pull out

The Taliban had issued fresh warnings that they'd cut off fingers covered with ink. People were scared.

There was a lot of fighting on 20 August. Many people died in the streets. My uncle was taking the injured to the hospital.

I went to the voting centre early in the morning. I heard gun shots, people started running in panic. I had to run to escape the bullets, then I hid in the attic for the rest of the day. Later I saw bullet holes in the trees not far from where I was.

Our family - my dad, mum and two brothers - had decided to go to Kabul for the run-off in the hope that it was going to be safer there. We were going to leave tomorrow.

We can stay now. But still, this is not a good solution.

There was so much fraud going on - I saw with my own eyes election officials taking the ballot boxes to their homes.

It was Karzai who employed these tactics. That's why I don't want him to become a president. He should have been challenged in a run-off. I think Dr Abdullah made the wrong decision to pull out.



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