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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Afghan election blogging and counterinsurgency 

Afghan Warrior describes the weekend's elections:
Afghanistan's first parliamentary election will be remembered as one of the most important days in the history of Afghanistan. Despite threats from the enemies for the last few months, millions of Afghans rushed towards polling stations to elect their representatives for the parliament. Women equally with men cast their vote...

In my point of view most people voted for honest and educated people who were not involved in any violence against the Afghan people. I asked my friends and some other people and everyone told me that they voted for new faces, honest and educated people.

Although hundreds of polling stations were established in the cities mostly schools and mosques were used as polling stations, but in the remote areas tents served as a polling station. Voting was slow in the morning but in the afternoon the number of the voters was increased. Except a few attacks from the enemies of peace in the southern and southeastern provinces which killed a dozen people including 2 national police and one French soldier, the situation was under control. Almost 30 attack plans of enemies were detected by the Afghan National Police and National Army in different provinces which prevented the terrorists attacks during the election day. In Ghazni province a vehicle full of explosive device was arrested by national police before it detonated also in Baghlan, Kabul and a few other southern provinces the police arrested a number of foreign terrorists and Taliban attempting to attack the polling stations.

If there were, in fact, almost 30 prevented attacks on election day -- far more than the reported number of successful attacks -- then it is good news for several reasons. First, even the number of attempted attacks was trivial given that there were more than 6,000 polling stations, each one a relatively soft target. Notwithstanding the Taliban, it was safe to vote in Afghanistan on Sunday.

Second, the large proportion of thwarted attacks suggests that the counterinsurgency's intelligence is very good, and that suggests that the Taliban is not effectively coercing the general population.

Third, the holding of democratic elections may have strategic value against Islamists, who reject the very notion of popular sovereignty (people cannot usurp Allah as sovereign). Whereas elections were not strategically significant against communist insurgents during the cold war -- communism is, after all, a perverted form of popular sovereignty -- elections are an affront to Islamism. That means that successful elections are a defeat for Islamism.

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