The Day After: Concerns about Violence and Fraud

As media and observer reports trickle in from across the country, a more complete picture of what happened on election day is coming into view.  Or perhaps, more accurately, narratives about what happened are in increasing competition.  With both campaigns claiming strong turnout, I’m not going to address winners and losers in this post, but two other issues that will do much to shape the legacy of the election, corruption and fraud.

One of the most talked about issues around Kabul today was the stopping of Amarkhail the IEC’s number two at the election commission while leaving the commission headquarters apparently with a truck full of ballots (for the article, see here).  His defense was that while police were supposed to deliver them, they got sick of waiting and decided to deliver them on there own.  Most in the international community seem to think this is a legitimate excuse, especially since he is so high, such a move would be amateurish and would really only net a few thousand votes.  That being said, there is a youtube video of it going around and Afghans I spoke with about it seem less willing to buy this excuse, with several insisting that he was doing this to support Ghani.  It would be a little ridiculous if someone with Amarkhail’s experience was trying to pull such a stunt, however, that being said, you’re really not supposed to be driving around with a pickup truck filled with ballots, even if you are an elections official…

It’s also becoming increasingly clear that while the Taliban were not successful in launching any major attacks on election day, they were successful in carrying out numerous smaller ones.  Probably the most disturbing was reports that they had cut the fingers off of 11 voters in Herat province (see the article here).  As the days go by we should get a much fuller picture of the actual amount of violence that occurred on election day, particularly in provinces further afield.

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