By most accounts, Afghanistan’s Thursday election was a model of democracy. But now the Taliban has made good on a threat and cut the fingers off two voters:
An Afghan election monitoring group says Taliban insurgents have made good on their threat to chop off ink-stained fingers of voters. Meanwhile, international observers are rendering a tentative verdict on the electoral process, calling Thursday’s balloting generally positive and democratic.
Two voters in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, where there is a significant Taliban presence, had their ink-stained fingers chopped off by insurgents. The head of the country’s Free and Fair Election Foundation, Nader Nadery, tells VOA his group’s observers reported that the two men were attacked by the Taliban on Election Day.
The report came as key international monitors are rendering a tentative assessment of the election process.
The U.S.-based National Democratic Institute says aspects of the election “were in accordance with democratic principles.” But there were serious flaws that must be addressed before future elections.
The Taliban had earlier threatened to cut off the ink-stained fingers of voters:
The Taliban have escalated a campaign of threats and intimidation ahead of the presidential election next Thursday, warning voters in mosques and through leaflets and radio announcements not to vote, or face “strong punishment.”
One Taliban commander stood up in a mosque in the southern province of Zabul and warned people that the Taliban would cut off any finger stained with the indelible ink that marks voters, a witness said.
Until now, the insurgents have refrained from specific violence against the election process and have kept the government and international forces guessing about their real intentions.
So now we see yet another difference between the United States and Afghanistan: In the United States, voters give politicians the finger and politicians give voters the finger.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.