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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Afghan elections: Your reaction
An Afghan veiled woman casts her vote for election at a polling station in Herat, Afghanistan
Counting in Afghanistan's presidential election has been delayed to allow complaints into the poll to be lodged.

More than 10 million people were registered to vote, but 15 of the 18 candidates said flaws in the voting procedure would produce a fraudulent result.

The United Nations is investigating the ballot.

QUICK GUIDE

International bodies have endorsed the elections, with the largest monitor group there describing them as "fairly democratic".

What is your opinion about the Afghan elections? Will the vote be seen as legitimate? Are you an Afghan voter who has experienced problems? What will the impact be on the eventual winner of the poll? Send us your comments and experiences.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

This election was for president of Kabul not Afghanistan.
Raj, India

This is a day of celebration and should be seen as such
Paul Trementozzi, USA

Congratulations Afghanistan! This is a day of celebration and should be seen as such. How short the memories are of so many. Was it not just a few short years ago that the Soviets were at war with Afghanistan and couldn't win. The amazing thing about this is that it is not the United States that conquers but rather freedom that conquers. I can only thank God that it was the US that led this war. So many get down on the US and think that their motive is somehow impure. The fact of the matter is that they are sending their young men and women in to give their lives to free this country and give freedom a chance. They have done so and the world should be grateful and not jealous!
Paul Trementozzi, USA

What else do the events today show but a strong and passionate desire for a change? The great turn out, largely free of violence and even free of (visible) intimidation, superb women participation all indicate one thing - this nation is ready to take its charges and they have the passion and desire to move forward. I bet you they will. Watch out for a great nation to emerge in that region in coming years. Getting out your house and standing in long lines in a freezing and windy Kabul at 6:30 or 7:00 am is not an easy thing.
Haseeb, Kabul

I went to Zone Five (in Kabul) for voting, but I noticed some chaos there, mainly related to the ink they used to mark the voters' fingers. I saw that some people came out of the polling station, got another voters' card and voted again. I reported what I saw to the monitoring bodies. I think holding such elections was good, but the results would not be legitimate because of the failings on the part of the Joint Elections Commission.
Abdullah Dehzad, Kabul
From bbcpersian.com

I noted that the ink which was used on my fingers could be washed away easily
Roya Dadmanesh, Kabul
On the morning of Saturday October 9th, at 7:00 o'clock I went to one of the polling stations (in Kabul) and I was the second female voter there. The elections process was very good. Anyone could vote freely, but later I noted that the ink which was used on my fingers could be washed away easily. I rushed back to the polling station and told the officials about this problem. They replied that this was the only ink they had. I am very happy that after a long time of fighting our people can move towards democracy... my only concern is that some might have misused this weakness (the ink).
Roya Dadmanesh, Kabul
From bbcpersian.com

The problem was that anyone could vote several times. I voted five times myself.
Ali Akbari, Mashhad
From bbcpersian.com

The issue of ink stains which could be washed away was a serious problem which should be dealt with by the Unama. But this cannot be used by some candidates to boycott the elections, because all the candidates could get more votes as a result of that problem. There is no proof that this problem has resulted in more votes for a particular candidate and less for another... I think this problem can be sorted out and it is nothing comparing to the peoples' desire to vote.
Naseri, Kabul
From bbcpersian.com

I think this was the first and the most successful elections in the region. The only problem related to the ink stains was sorted out. The people of Afghanistan should be proud of this achievement. If the candidates think of their people, they should allow the results of this election to be announced
Qorbanali, Kabul
From bbcpersian.com

I had tears of joy, when our great nation decided to vote
Khalid Zamani, London, UK
I had tears of joy, when our great nation decided to vote in this historical day. Being abroad it is not possible for me to vote, but if I had a chance to vote I will vote for Mr Hamid Karzai. He is well educated and he is the only person who works for the interest of afghans by removing warlords. It is time for afghans not to forget, but to forgive.
Khalid Zamani, London, UK

I was an election observer at the very successful 2001 election in East Timor. There the UN used an invisible ink which was only visible under ultraviolet light to mark fingers. This was extremely effective and had the confidence of the voting population. The role of the UN in Afghanistan was to "advise and support" the Joint Electoral Management Body. So the question is: Why did they not use the invisible ink technology in Afghanistan? The confidence of an already sceptical electorate seems to have been undermined.
Janet, St Louis, USA

Today I am very happy and its great day for our Afghan nation and I never thought that one day we will elect our own president it is unbelievable. So now it's time to think about our country's future and leave behind the past.
Q. Shireenzadeh, Afghani/London UK

How wonderful to see all these women voting. I think it is amazing!
Sarah Jane, Los Angeles, USA

There was never any chance of an honest, representative election being held. This is in part due to the ruling traditions of Afghanistan. It is equally due to the ridiculous concept of foisting democracy on a country before establishing security, literacy, rule of law, prosperity and any number of more necessary but more difficult to achieve ideals.
Paul Gore, Oakland, OR, USA

This is a great day for Afghanistan. The very fact that they are debating whether the elections are fair is great progress in itself. President Karzai needs to show inclusiveness and leadership now. Only then will success be enduring.
S Biswas, Worcester, MA

I wish that I could vote on this historic day
Shafiqullah Rahmanzai, Utrecht, Nederland
I am very happy to see my country's democratic presidential election. Hamid Karzai is my favourite candidate, because he is popular among the different ethnic groups and he can only brings peace and stability to Afghanistan. I wish that I could vote on this historic day in Afghanistan. I am very sad being abroad and could not vote, but I am happy that soon I will be able to help my country in the democratic process. At the end I say Hamid Karzai go on the young generation is with you and will fight with you for democracy and peace.
Shafiqullah Rahmanzai, Utrecht, Nederland

The election has been marred by violence, fraud and now by the fact that all of the candidates apart from Mr Karzai appear to have stood down or boycotted the results. I really hope that the election will lead to greater stability in Afghanistan but I don't see how this situation is going to reinforce the government's shaky control over the country.
Joseph Pugh, London, England

The excuse of the day for the presidential candidates - other than Karzai - is that the indelible ink washes off. That may very well be true, however, warlordism is not a national trait that washes off so easily. An all-powerful president would erode the local presence and inevitably the influence of the warlords. This fact is inherently dangerous for those warlords who view life through the prism of coercion and strong handed tactics. In short, there will be other excuses. Warlords like the status quo and will try hard to destroy the political system from within.
Mehran, St Paul, USA

How fair can election be when one candidate receives 75% of the media coverage, receives all the resources of a superpower backer and had a big hand in the "consultation" process that formed the constitution?
Jack Saunders, Ipswich, UK

How dare those highly paid UN officials and so-called "election experts" be foolish enough not to test the indelible ink beforehand? The world community has spent $70 million on the Afghan election, in the hope of getting things right and healing the pain and suffering of our people. Yet, this is how irresponsible those officials are. Those responsible for this tragedy must be dismissed immediately and face a court of justice. In order to get things right, the election must be called at a later date.
Mohammad Anwar, Australia

I have been here for some time from the UK , visiting family and doing research, and I have been to Peshawar and some of the tribal areas adjacent to this city along with family members who reside there. All the Afghans I met there, invariably, were of the view that there cannot be a 'fair' election under American auspices until Karzai, an obviously American-backed candidate, withdraws after having completed his mandate. The present situation emerging in Afghanistan is only a sad reflection of this reality.
Omer S Khan, Lahore, Pakistan

This entire farce was a foregone conclusion from the very start
Lee, London, UK
This entire farce was a foregone conclusion from the very start and will do nothing to give Karzai legitimacy or to decrease the violence. Afghanistan remains an American satellite.
Lee, London, UK

Negative, negative, negative, BBC...can you ever report the positive? This is the first opportunity Afghans have had to vote, perhaps your spin might have done better with that positive fact.
Cindy Fisher, Beverly Hills, USA

It is very expected, and occurs in almost every non-democratic country with staged elections. The local dictator arranges the details of the election process to ensure victory. The number allegedly voting means very little in these circumstances. When Saddam Hussein had his elections, everyone was able to vote too. If this is accepted as "democratic", then the West has completely lost all credibility.
Hussam Idris, UK

Astonishing. The Afghanis have their first real election in a century, and the main story is about some warlords that don't want to participate in the process. Let's remember the importance of what is going on here - a terror theocracy overthrown and the dream of every progressive liberal is coming true - a people freed with the right to choose their own future. Was it a surprise that reactionaries didn't want to participate? That in no way undermines the legitimacy of the election. How about the BBC asking if you are an Afghan voter that didn't experience a problem?
Brian, Alexandria, VA, USA

The confusion in the first election of Afghanistan should not surprise any one. If Florida can have hanging chads, Afghans can have fading ink. Next step is to engage all dissatisfied parties and reason out with them for as long as it takes. It is a golden opportunity to take the first lesson in conflict resolution in a civil way. Time for Karzai to show his statesmanship and the world to show its commitment.
M Khan, Potomac, USA

The first Afghan vote may be hampered with all sorts of things. But after all, it is a real election where the Afghan people can do their part. As an American I am very proud of what my country has done. Without America, Afghans probably will never have the chance to vote.
Johnson, American in Singapore

After 12 years I came back to my country Afghanistan - only Mr Karzai knows better the role of Afghanistan's future and he looks to one nation that is called Afghanistan. The rest of candidates are not educated and they want only to improve the one province which belongs to them so I am very proud of Karzai. I hope, Inshallah, he will win the election.
Karim Dad Ahmadi, Kabul, Afghanistan

Congratulations Afghanistan! It may not be perfect, but for the first time the people are exercising their right to be heard. The world should rejoice that the troubled country is emerging from the dark ages of the human rights stifling Taleban
Marsha Bodary, Utica, Missouri, United States

Allegations of voter fraud are nothing new, even in the most advanced countries. Isn't the main point that Afghans now have a chance to actually vote?
Greg Burton, Atlanta, GA

India has had indelible ink marking now for 52 years and I have been voting for over 45 years. This complaint about the indelible ink being removable is nonsense. The ink is from India. If only the BBC had asked one of the voters to demonstrate before the camera, the truth would have been known. The mark goes away only as the nail grows. Part of the ink which is on the skin will go away earlier.
Dr M Seshagiri Rao, Bangalore, India

Some were saying a while back that isn't any vote better than none? The answer is no, it isn't. It is only a good election if everyone is involved and abides by it.
Harry Sample, Longview, US

It seems the opposition, certain of defeat, has opted to discredit the poll before it has started. It seems Afghan politicians are more astute than we thought. If you can't win, use the media to smear.
Joseph Wilkinson, Whitehaven, UK

In the next election, I think the irregularities must be solved
Kazi Firoz, Kosice, Slovakia
Though there are allegations that many voters cast votes more than one time by not using indelible ink, the politicians out there should accept the result of whatever it is in order to at least pave the way to the future matured democracy. In the next election, I think the irregularities must be solved. Any confusion among the politicians will lead the Talebanised hardliners being encouraged and that will lead the country to chaos and instability.
Kazi Firoz, Kosice, Slovakia

When you see news such as this; when the elections have not gone 100% as planned, remember Afghans are allowed to vote for the first time ever. This is definitely proof that, while the US may not be perfect, it sure does try and make dreams reality.
Sean, US

Well, during the 1960 presidential elections in the US there were so many fraudulent votes cast for JFK that Chicago's mayor Daly's infamous appeal "Vote early, vote often!" gained national popularity.
Mirek Kondracki, Alexandria, VA, USA

The Americans back their puppet Hamid Karzai. Therefore the vote can never be fair. When the Americans learn about real democracy and how to run their own elections fairly, then perhaps other countries in which they have imposed their version of "democracy at gunpoint" may have a chance to run fair elections.
Taz, UK





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