Millions of Afghan men and women went to the polls to choose two-hundred-forty-nine members of parliament from among two-thousand-seven-hundred candidates, including more than three-hundred Afghan women. In addition, they voted for more than three-thousand candidates who ran for seats on thirty-four provincial councils.
Some one-hundred-thirty-five-thousand ballot boxes placed in twenty-six-thousand polling stations across Afghanistan are now being collected. It is expected to take more than a month to count all the ballots. Jawed Ludin, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's chief of staff, says, "The world knows that the future of Afghanistan depends on these elections."
Mohammad Sadiq, a voter in Kabul, said the election was a proud day for Afghanistan. "After more than twenty-five years," he said, "the government [in Afghanistan] will serve the people, and not the other way around." Muhammad Akbar, another voter in Kabul, said, "I came to vote for our future. There should be changes and jobs created for the people. Our country should at least be developing."
Remnants of the ousted Taleban regime attempted to disrupt the election process. According to news reports, violence on election day included a rocket attack on a United Nations compound in Kabul, a mortar and artillery attack in Kunar province, and a raid on a polling station in Helmand, west of Kabul.
Peter Erben is the United Nations chief election officer in Afghanistan. He said that the insurgent attacks failed:
"The issues we have with opening a few polling centers is really the exception to the general situation of being open everywhere."
President George W. Bush congratulated the people of Afghanistan "for showing up at the polls and defying the Taleban. . . .These people," says Mr. Bush, "supported democracy."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.