Insurgent Violence Threatens Elections

As tomorrow’s Afghan election nears, insurgents have increased kidnapping and threats in an attempt to dissuade voters from coming out. With 19 reported kidnappings Thursday and Friday, and three candidates and over a dozen campaign and election officials already killed, The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan has called this election season the most violent since the Taliban regime fell in 2001. The election comes at a crucial time for the United States, which is trying to muster enough support for the Afghan government for it to hold once coalition forces begin to withdraw next year. On Friday, Karzai exhorted Afghans to “vote from their hearts,” going on to say that Taliban members “should serve their country and participate” as well. Security will be high, and the U.S. is trying to temper expectations. "This is an election being held for the first time ever by the Afghans themselves," a senior Obama administration official said Thursday. "There's no denying that it's being held in the face of an active insurgency, so security is going to be a challenge."