Ahmad Wali Arian

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With Afghanistan’s second-ever presidential election coming on Thursday, the Op-Ed editors asked four Afghans to report on the moods of voters in their communities.

1.- Hopeful in Panjshir. By Ahmad Wali Arian, a human-resources manager.

2.- Waking Up to Terror. By Mirwais Ahmadzai, a program manager with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

3.- Phantoms at the Polls. By Atif B., a former aid worker.

4.- Apathy Among the Educated. By Hassina Sherjan, the president of Boumi, a manufacturer of decorative products for the home, and the director of Aid Afghanistan for Education, a nonprofit group.

Last Friday I was in the Panjshir Valley, about 50 miles north of Kabul, talking with a dozen of my relatives about their perceptions and expectations of the presidential election. Our discussion was all about the candidates’ platforms, promises, teams and abilities.

This was a huge change from the last vote, in 2004, when nobody was talking about ideas. That election consisted mostly of ethnic groups and political parties trying to show their strength. And most felt it was really a formality; there was a sense that the president had already been selected behind closed doors and that our votes did not make a difference.…  Seguir leyendo »