People are literally dying to exercise a right we take for granted:
An Afghan provincial government official says two people died and 22 were injured when insurgents fired several rockets and mortars at a variety of targets in the Baghlani Markazi district in an attempt to terrorize voters casting their ballots in parliamentary elections. Zabihullah Shuja, of Baghlan province, said the attack Saturday did not deter voters who continued to make their way to polling stations to cast their ballot.
In a separate attack, also in Baghlan, a bomb detonated in the capital of Pul-e-Kumri injuring one person, said Shuja. He added that Taliban insurgents also engaged in a firefight with security personnel at check posts on the main roadways.
It's been eight years since the last Parliamentary election in Afghanistan, and these voters have no way of knowing when (or if) the next election will be held. Not even polling places in Kabul are safe, but these folks are still turning out to determine who their leaders will be. In some of the provinces, that means walking for a half-day or more across brutal terrain, totally exposed to sniper fire or worse. But still they come. I'm sure if asked, NC's gun fetishists would say they need to travel "in force," 2-3 trucks of well-armed heroes to protect them. But then they would be drone bait, wouldn't they? You probably get the message, but we're not done yet:
The elections, which were delayed by three years, have become a test of security forces’ ability to protect the process against attacks from the Taliban, who have said they will stop the voting, as well as a small Islamic State affiliate that has claimed responsibility for deadly suicide bombings in recent months. About 70,000 members of the security forces, already under fire from daily Taliban attacks, have been deployed to provide security for the elections.
Ten candidates and dozens of their supporters have been killed in attacks. One-third of the country’s polling stations were not expected to open, in areas controlled or influenced by the Taliban. After the police chief of the key southern province of Kandahar was killed on Thursday, the government postponed elections there for a week.
Bolding mine, because I've talked to a lot of people in our state who would make great candidates, but just didn't want to sacrifice the time or endure the "hassle" of running for office. Hey, it's an individual choice and you should only run if you really want to serve. But unless you're dodging bullets, what you consider a "hassle" is merely an inconvenience:
By midday, violence had been reported in several parts of the country. Officials and residents said there were mortar attacks in the provinces of Uruzgan and Helmand, in the south. In the northern province of Kunduz, officials reported fighting in several districts and rockets striking Kunduz city. The Taliban had blocked the highway from Kunduz to Takhar Province.
Gul Bai, a local police commander in the Imam Saheb district of Kunduz Province, said the Taliban had begun launching attacks at 2 a.m. and that the fighting was still going on hours later. “In Abfrosha district, they hit the polling center and the boxes with rockets,” he said. “We have four security forces martyred there.”
In the province’s Chardara district, fighting also started early, and the security forces managed to open only one of the district’s four voting sites.
At one polling center in Kabul, where voting began after a two-hour delay, people were lined up and waiting for their turn despite reports of small explosions in several parts of the capital.
“I am worried about security, but I am here to vote because I am tired of the current situation,” said Haji Mohammed, 50.
Hossai, an 18-year-old first-time voter, said she was excited to exercise her right. “I am the only one from the family who votes,” said Hossai, who uses only one name. “I think that my vote can change the situation. That is why I am here."
You are correct, Hossai. Your vote can change the situation.
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