Afghan voters defy Taliban, show up in large numbers to cast ballots

By Kyle Johnson,

Afghanistan citizens showed up to vote on Saturday despite violence and threats by the Taliban in an effort to disrupt the elections.

A larger than expected number of voters showed up to cast their ballots in the presidential and provincial elections, a process that was helped along by plenty of security, reports CNN. Enough people showed up to vote that many polling places were kept open an hour later to accommodate those in line.

To protect voters, plenty of security was called upon to prevent any possible attacks from the Taliban. Cars were kept from the road in the Afghanistan capital and police set up checkpoints and anyone who wanted to enter a polling station had to be searched.

Legislator Shukria Barakzai said she was happy that "today is the day ... when the people of Afghanistan can go and vote freely."

The Taliban had threatened to punish anyone who showed up to vote and there were worries few people would actually show up. A Karbul resident, Zakia Raoufi, said she had been holed up in her house for the previous three days as the city experienced bombings in an effort to disrupt voting, according to The Washington Post.

She said when she left her house, "I was wondering whether I will come back home alive or not."

There are eight candidates for the presidential position, such as palace-backed Zalmay Rassoul and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. A candidate will need 50 percent of the vote to be declared the winner, otherwise the top two finishing candidates will go up against each other in another election.



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