How legitimate the Afghan people consider the elections is crucial. Logistics is part of the challenge: making sure the right material is in the right place at the right time. Yet a great many ballot cards – either fake or not – are moving around in the balck market, say western reporters.
The question is not whether there will be fraud, but whether there will be enough to influence the outcome of the vote. A senior official said: “More than 2,000 international observers are here, and they are supposed to observe in different parts of Afghanistan. Ensuring security is the job of the Afghan security forces.”
This is Afghanistan’s second poll since the Taliban were toppled in 2001. If the result of the poll is disputed, there is a danger of widespread civil unrest. The international community is urging the fullest possible participation in the democratic process, while clearly coercion and intimidation are the counterpoint.