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Compiled by the embassy of afghanistan in canada

In this Bulletin:

  • * Afghanistan election sees heavy turnout despite Taliban warnings
  • * Smooth Afghan election raises questions about Taliban's strength
  • * Afghanistan's Milestone
  • * Afghanistan elections: In the Taliban heartlands, an inky finger is
    the mark of death
  • * 15 dead in bomb attack as Afghanistan waits for election results
  • * Baird praises Afghans after high election turnout
  • * Women could make the difference as Afghanistan turns out to vote
  • * Russia hopes infrastructure projects will build bridges in


[Disclaimer: The content of this news bulletin does not necessarily reflect
the view or policy of the Afghan Government, unless specifically stated as
such. The collection of articles and commentaries from Afghan and
international news sources is provided for informational purposes, and
accuracy of the news is the responsibility of the original source.]


Afghanistan election sees heavy turnout despite Taliban warnings

Some polling centres ran out of ballots and had to extend polling hours

The Associated Press, Apr 05, 2014 - Millions of Afghans defied Taliban
threats and rain Saturday, underscoring their enormous expectations from an
election that comes as the country's wobbly government prepares to face down
a ferocious insurgency largely on its own.

With combat forces from the U.S.-led coalition winding down a 13-year
presence and the mercurial Hamid Karzai stepping aside, the country's new
leader will find an altered landscape as he replaces the only president
Afghans have known since the Taliban were ousted in the wake of the Sept. 11

But for some progress, particularly with women's rights, the country's
situation is inauspicious, especially with its poor security and battered
economy. Yet despite carnage and grave disappointments, Afghans by the
millions crowded mosque courtyards and lined up at schools to vote, telling
a war-weary world they want their voices heard.

Nazia Azizi, a 40-year-old housewife, was first in line at a school in
eastern Kabul. "I have suffered so much from the fighting and I want
prosperity and security in Afghanistan. That is why I have come here to cast
my vote," she said. "I hope that the votes that we are casting will be
counted and that there will be no fraud in this election."


Smooth Afghan election raises questions about Taliban's strength

(Reuters) 2014-04-07- A bigger-than-expected turnout in Afghanistan's
presidential election and the Taliban's failure to significantly disrupt the
vote have raised questions about the capacity of the insurgents to tip the
country back into chaos as foreign troops head home.

The Taliban claimed that they staged more than 1,000 attacks and killed
dozens during Saturday's election, which they have branded a U.S.-backed
deception of the Afghan people, though security officials said it was a
gross exaggeration.

There were dozens of minor roadside bombs, and attacks on polling stations,
police and voters during the day. But the overall level of violence was much
lower than the Taliban had threatened to unleash on the country.


Afghanistan's Milestone

For the first time ever, one elected Afghan president is being succeeded by
another as America's strategic mission comes to an end.

DIPLOMAT, By Akmal Dawi, April 06, 2014- In April 1996, when Mullah Omar
took the title of Afghanistan's Amir-ul-Momineen (Leader of the Faithful) in
perpetuity, more than 99 percent of Afghans had not even seen his face.
Omar, who to this day remains in hiding while continuing to engage in a
bloody war in a bid to return to power, ruled only by decrees that were
announced by Taliban's music-less, female-less and truthless Radio Shariat.
In one of those decrees, Omar instructed his forces to punish any of his
adult male subjects who dared to trim his beard or venture outside without a

Eighteen years later, every one of the eight men who have competed
gracefully to be the next Afghan president is widely known to the public.
From ridiculing their personal lives to contesting their political ideas,
Afghans have been liberally engaged with their future president. Unlike
Omar, the next Afghan president will be bound by laws and accountable to a
strong bicameral parliament-in short, subject to the will of the Afghan

As much as this astonishing transformation reflects the aspirations of
Afghans themselves, it is also the scenario envisioned by the U.S. more than
a decade ago.


Afghanistan elections: In the Taliban heartlands, an inky finger is the mark
of death

While voting has been brisk in urban areas, in many rural districts people
have been unwilling to risk reprisals - despite the best efforts of Afghan
soldiers to protect them. Kevin Sieff reports from Nerkh in Wardak province

Independent, Sunday, 6 April 2014-They were the only voters at a polling
station here, and from the voting booth, Taliban gunfire could be heard.

But before they cast their ballots for Afghanistan's next president, the
three men had a request. They did not want to dip their fingers in ink - the
process used to identify voters and keep them from casting more than one

"If the Taliban see our fingers, they will kill us," Abdul Balkhi told
polling station officials. "During the night they will come to our house,
and what will I say?"

Although voter turnout exceeded expectations in many of Afghanistan's major
cities, residents in restive, rural districts such as Nerkh had a tougher
calculus to weigh before participating in Saturday's election. Their dilemma
reflects a weakness in the country's democratic process, which doesn't
capture the preferences of the many Afghans living in the shadow of the


15 dead in bomb attack as Afghanistan waits for election results

FOX News, 7 April 2014 - A roadside bomb killed at least 15 people
traveling in vehicles that had been diverted from a main road Monday after
an earlier attack in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

The blast came after a relatively calm weekend in which no major attacks
were reported as Afghans voted for a new president and provincial councils.

The Taliban had threatened violence to disrupt Saturday's vote, and staged a
series of high-profile assaults in the preceding weeks. But security forces
tightened their grip and only sporadic attacks took place.

The two SUVs carrying the civilians hit the hidden explosives on a side road
that was being used because authorities blocked the main road following a
suicide bombing targeting a NATO convoy in Kandahar province, the local
government spokesman said.

Those killed included a woman, and four other people were severely wounded
and in critical condition, according to Dawkhan Menapal, spokesman for the
provincial governor. All the passengers were from Uruzgan province to the
north of Kandahar and were apparently traveling home when the blast occurred
in the Maywand district.


Baird praises Afghans after high election turnout

Canadian Press, 6 April 2014- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says
Afghans have demonstrated their commitment to a democratic future, and now a
new government must demonstrate that commitment as well.

Baird commented after Afghans defied a threat of Taliban violence and
flocked to polling stations on Saturday in numbers so high that some centres
ran out of ballots, and others stayed open late.

Baird noted that an unprecedented number of Afghan women turned out.

Read more:

Women could make the difference as Afghanistan turns out to vote

(CNN) 7 April 2014 -- It was only a few short years ago -- in 2001, prior to
the U.S. invasion -- that Afghanistan's women were all but entirely

With strict Taliban laws in place, half the country's populace was barred
from practically every aspect of public life, from education to voting and
most occupations. Afghan women, under the Taliban, weren't even allowed to
leave their homes without a male escort, and the mandatory burqua became a
visual symbol of the regime's all-encompassing oppression.

The country still has a long way to go, but giant strides have been made
since the Taliban was scattered and broken under the might of the U.S. and
allied military. Women's rights were guaranteed under the new, post-Taliban
constitution, but there remains a gulf in terms of what is written and what
is practiced.

Afghanistan remains far from an equal, open society, and outside the
capital, Kabul, conservative values still reign. In some parts of the
hinterland, the old rules still apply, even if they are no longer being
enforced by the Taliban.


Russia hopes infrastructure projects will build bridges in Afghanistan

Guardian, 7 April 2014-Vladimir Putin hopes to promote Kremlin's interests
as revival of Soviet-era development projects coincides with US withdrawal

To the white-bearded Afghan machinists, it felt like the cold war era had
returned. After 25 years of working in a sprawling Soviet-built factory - a
vestige of a war and occupation long extinguished - they suddenly spotted a
new shipment of gleaming Russian equipment arriving last autumn on an
18-wheeler. The factory was abuzz. The Russians were back.

As the US-led war winds down and <http://www.theguardian.com/world/russia>
Russia reasserts itself in Ukraine and the Middle East, Moscow is also
ramping up its investment in <http://www.theguardian.com/world/afghanistan>
Afghanistan. It is rebuilding the relics of the Soviet occupation and
promoting its own political and cultural prowess.

"You see Russia's interest in Afghanistan rising. It's visible," said Stepan
Anikeev, the spokesman for the Russian embassy in Kabul. "We want to enlarge
our role in the region. It's not only for Afghanistan, but for our own


Khalid Khosraw
Political and Media Officer

Embassy of Afghanistan in Canada
Tel: 613-563-4223 

Fax: 613-563-4962
Email: k.khosraw@afghanemb-canada.net


240 Argyle Ave. Ottawa, Ontario, K2P-1B9 | Phone: (613) 563-4223 / 65 | Fax: (613) 563-4962 | contact@afghanembassy.ca