Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Wolesi Jirga Elections: Afghan Voters Defy Violence to Cast Ballots

Wolsi Jirga Elections started on 20 October, 2018 and was extended amid delays, with some constituencies remaining open on Sunday. High participation of Afghan in Wolwesi Jirga elections defied deadly attacks to cast ballots in large numbers in the Afghan long due Wolesi Jirga elections. Although, there were several explosions targeting polling stations, with dozens of people killed or injured in scores of incidents across Afghanistan.
The Taliban and ISIS had repeatedly vowed to disrupt the Afghan Wolesi Jirga elections. And it already had taken the lives of 10 candidates in run up to the polls and took the at least 36 people in nearly 200 attacks, including 27 civilians, on the first day of elections and 11 people were killed in the second day of elections.
However, security was not the only issue in Afghanistan threatening the vote on the elections day. There were technical problems with new biometric voter registration and experts argue that the biometric devices did not lead to quick voting in Afghanistan. Further, past elections have been marred by corruption and fraud, with cases of ballot box stuffing, multiple voting and voter intimidation all documented across the country. However, according to the AIHRC, no serious electoral violations have been registered yet. But it has pointed out other the electoral violations e.g delay in opening the polling stations, delay in biometric system transfer to the polling stations, lack of  knowledge of biometric system, low quality inks, voting by underage and those whose names have not been on the list.
The Strong Message of the high turnout of the Afghan voters
Afghan voters strongly conveyed a clear message to all the terrorist groups that they will not let them win in the country. Many have termed this as an act of bravery to vote in Afghan elections. In many polling stations the crowds were even larger this time than past eledctions and the queue of male voters kept getting longer. However, turnout has been low in the insecure areas. 
Anyhow, considering the volatile security conditions in the country, many believe even conducting this election is an achievement: It showed that Afghan officials and security forces can do it, and to usher in a more legitimate parliament to replace a discredited assembly and pushing to move toward presidential elections in 2019 and Taliban peace talks.
Why do Afghan elections matter for the Afghans and the International Community?
For most Afghans who lokking for a better life, jobs, education and an end to the war with the Taliban, the Wolesi Jirga elections seem as strategic means to ensure them.
And for the country’s foreign partners, seeing a flourishing democracy would be the return they’re seeking after many years of investment, billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost in more than a decade of fighting in Afghanistan. So, they seriously backed up holding the Wolesi Jirga elections and urged the Afghan government to conduct it in a transparent, fair, free and credible manner.
However, this election has been seen as a key test ahead of the all-important presidential elections due in April 2019.  The overall support of the international community, high peoples’ turn out and overall relative good security are the strong points of Wolesi Jirga elections; while weak electoral management by IEC and lack of knowledge about how to use the biometric system, lack of on time delivery of the electoral materials and lack of on time presence of electoral workers and officials in the polling stations have been the most outstanding weakness of it that require to be addressed properly in the coming presidential elections due next year.