Taliban Attacks Keep Turnout Low in Afghan Vote

Too early to gauge the legitimacy of parliamentary election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2010 2:29 PM CDT
Taliban Attacks Keep Turnout Low in Afghan Vote
An Afghan woman carries her child as she fills out ballot papers to vote in parliament elections at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010.    (Ahmad Massoud)

Despite Taliban rocket strikes and bombings, Afghans voted for a new parliament today, the first election since a fraud-marred presidential ballot last year cast doubt on the legitimacy of the government. Still, the defense minister described turnout as "low." As officials tally votes over the next few days, the real test begins: Afghans will have to decide whether to accept the results as legitimate despite the lackluster turnout and early evidence of fraud.

The Taliban had pledged to disrupt the vote and launched attacks starting with a rocket fired into the capital before dawn. The insurgent group followed with a series of morning rocket strikes that hit major cities just as people were going to the polls—or weighing whether to risk it. At least 11 civilians and three police officers were killed. Fraud allegations were piling up: Candidate monitors complained that the ink applied to voters' fingers to prevent them from casting multiple ballots was not working. The ink is supposed to last 72 hours, but many said they had been able to wipe it off with bleach. (More Afghanistan stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.