Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yes Afghanistan Can?

We're still waiting on results from today's election in Afghanistan, but things seem to have gone quite well today, despite fairly low turnout. The Afghan police did a good job in stopping several potential incidents intended to disrupt the voting. As other people have pointed out, the process of the election, including the much-publicized donkey transportation for some ballots, is more important than the actual outcome.
That being said, Karzai is overwhelmingly favored to be re-elected. Andrew Exum speculated earlier this week that the Taliban would prefer to have Karzai in office (since his platform seems to be pro-corruption, pro-warlord, and pro-drug), and thus would reduce violence in the south, Karzai's stronghold. That doesn't seem to be the case; turnout has been lower in the south due to violence and higher in the relatively peaceful northern parts of the country. Will that be enough to keep Karzai under 50 percent and avoid a runoff? We shall see how hard the anti-incumbent tide swings.

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