Atif B.

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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.

Demoralization and despair have reached such a level in my city, Kandahar, this summer that most people tell me they will not participate in Thursday’s presidential election. They doubt the transparency of the vote, disbelieving that President Hamid Karzai’s corrupt administration will allow another candidate to win.

One reason for the pessimism here is that the president’s brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, managed to place relatives and friends in most of the important government positions. One of them runs Kandahar city’s education system, so it’s no surprise that many of the teachers are encouraging their students to support the president. This is especially worrisome given the widespread allegations of “phantom voters” — people under the legal voting age of 18 who have used fake names or lied about their ages to register for the election.…  Seguir leyendo »