There is a flurry of last minute electioneering in Kabul as the campaigning for Saturday’s election in Afghanistan came to a close.
The parliamentary poll for 249 seats in the lower house is seen as a test of stability in the country ahead of President Barack Obama’s strategy review in December and a reflection on President Hamid Karzai and his government’s credibility.
Two Kabul residents stressed the importance of voting.
“We are preparing for parliamentary elections. It is the responsibility for the eligible Afghan voters to go and cast their vote, we want to choose the right honest person to serve our country,” said Ahmad Shah.
Reshad Ahmad said the vote would be an opportunity to bring change to his country.
“We have only one chance in years to choose our own destiny by choosing the right representative in order to save our country from this critical situation,” he said.
Security has been beefed up with almost 150,000 foreign troops acting in a back-up role amidst a backdrop of violence by the Taliban who have warned people not to vote.
Haroon Mir, a candidate and head of the Afghanistan Policy centre, is hoping the Taliban will let people vote in peace.
“If there are any attacks on the day of the election, there is no motivation for the people to go out and take a risk to vote for candidates. Most of them, they don’t know them and we have a large number of candidates.”
As the candidates made their final speeches and pressed the flesh, they are only too aware of the dangers. Three have already been killed.
Final results are not expected before the end of October.