- Foreign affairs April 5
Following a dozen years under Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's leadership, Afghan voters turned out at the polls on Saturday to elect the first president of the post-American era in their country.
U.S. troops were ordered to remain out of sight throughout the voting, so that the process would truly be "Afghan-owned," The Washington Post reported. While there were some incidents of violence — not to mention threats from the Taliban to stay home —Afghan voters arrived to cast their ballots anyways, in such high numbers that some polling stations ran out of ballots.
"I was wondering whether I will come back home alive or not," Zakia Raoufi told the Post. But, "this election means a lot to me. What I'm hoping for from the next president is someone to stop the bloodshed in this country, to provide us peace and stability and education and opportunities for our children."
Below, photos of citizens determined to have a voice in the future of their country. --Sarah Eberspacher
Afghan men cast their votes at a polling station in Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province. | (AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq)
A young woman shows her inked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Herat. | (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)
Afghan men line up before casting their votes in a polling station in Herat. | (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)
Afghan women leave a polling station after casting their votes in Jalalabad, east of Kabul. | (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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