Afghanistan’s first election ever is underway. It represents a huge victory for the United States, and and implicit support for President Bush’s often-expressed faith that people everywhere are capable of self-government. It’s revealing, I think, that while all mainstream Democrats now claim to support our effort in Afghanistan (although many didn’t before the war was won), it is rare if not unheard of for a Democrat to express any satisfaction over our success there or over the elections now in progress.
The Washington Times reports on the voting now taking place:
There were no major attacks, but security forces thwarted a planned massive truck bombing in the southern city of Kandahar. A top Afghan official said the bomb could have killed hundreds of people and disrupted the electoral process in the southern region.
Until now, Taliban fighters have failed to undertake the feared high-impact operation that could put the election process in jeopardy. They could revise tactics and may try to take high-value foreign hostages. The U.S. Embassy said yesterday it had received “a credible threat” against American journalists.
“They plan to kidnap U.S. journalists by luring them to meet with kidnapping operatives under the guise of providing videotapes on the activities of anti-government forces,” said Mohammed Yusuf Pashtun, governor of the southern Kandahar province. “They are convinced this is their last chance. … If the nation unites over the elections, then it is the end of the Taliban.”
Ordinary Afghans place great hopes on the elections, which they see as a turning point that would result in the disarming of warlords and an increase in international support for economic reconstruction.