In a historic demonstration of unity, Afghans from around the country travelled to polling centres for the second time in three months to cast their votes in the country’s peaceful transfer of power. Voters from around the country all praised the heroes of the Afghan National Security Forces for ensuring they could vote in peace.
Also, greatly appreciated was the faster voting process; due to more experienced IEC staff and extra polling booths. Intensified efforts to prevent fraud also met with strong approval from Afghans exercising their rights as citizens. More than 60 percent of eligible voters’ turnout was more than the April 5th elections.
Lines of voters in big cities and small villages across western Afghanistan waited to cast their vote for Afghanistan’s future. Mohmad Sadiq Ehrari from the Herat Police HQ said that the cooperation of people with the ANSF was a key to success. “Today is about the unity of effort between the people and their security forces so we can all have a better future together.”
Security gains also contributed to increased female participation in the elections. “This encourages women to come out from their homes and vote for their favourite candidate. Security forces are looking very professional and competent. If not for them, I could not have voted today,” said Maryam Hossaini.
Warnings from the enemies of peace in southern Afghanistan did little to deter the people from casting their vote for the future. Kandahari police officer, Ahmadullah, explained why this day was so important. “Two days before the election, I didn’t sleep much because I knew this would be a defining event for our future and as a proud member of the national forces, I wanted to enable the people to go to cast their votes,” he said.
Sawila Kakar of Kandahar came to vote full of hope and without any fear. “I heard the insurgents would not let the people vote, but see what happened? Nothing! This means that the enemies of peace are tired fighting, and they want peace.”
One of the first votes cast in Helmand was by Governor Mohammad Naim, who praised both ANSF and local voters for their efforts in moving together as a nation.
“According to the insurgent propaganda, they said they would disturb the elections, but it was a lie. Our ANSF maintained very good security, and I’m very proud to have seen so many of our brothers and sisters exercising their vote in determining the future of Afghanistan.” Capitalizing on the success of the first round of elections, the ANSF in northern Afghanistan were confident they could create an environment of peace and security. Shirjan Durani, from Police HQ in Balkh Province, explained. “Our focus was to remove all threats to polling centres and show our compatriots we would protect their right to choose their future.”
Mohammad Latif, a teacher in Mazar-e-Sharif, was impressed by the commitment of the ANSF. “As a teacher I always tell my students to capitalize on today for tomorrow’s better future. Our ANSF have allowed us to choose our new president in peace, so our future is ours and belongs to no one else.”
The mountains of eastern Afghanistan were even more secure than in the first round of voting; something that gave many areas a boost in the turnout. Colonel Sayed Abbas Sadaat, head of the police in Kapisa province said the ANSF worked hard so that no one could infringe rights of Afghan men and women to vote. “Some anti- government insurgents tried to prevent the people from voting but the ANSF did not allow them to achieve their ugly goal.”
Gulistan Ghalib, a resident of the Nangarhar provincial capital Jalalabad, spoke about where these elections will sit in the historical spectrum. “Afghans have learned a lot of lessons over the past decades; we are awake now and we can see the light of the future. My hair is white from the troubles and fighting of the past years, but now on election’s day we saw that Afghans have said no to violence, and that just like winning in cricket, we are very good at democracy as well.”