Speed Reads

Foreign affairs

Facing violence and threats from the Taliban, Afghan voters still turn out

AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi

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