Voters lined up at a polling place on the outskirts of Kabul on Saturday.
By Edrees Kakar
KABUL, Afghanistan – Although the official results of Afghanistan’s national election won’t be announced for another month, the victory is already clear.
The people of Afghanistan are the winners of this election by defying violence, terrorism and showing their enthusiasm for a democratic process.
This election turned out to be an unprecedented major event due to the immense enthusiasm displayed by all generations, but mainly the youth.After witnessing two months of rigorous campaigns across the country, on Saturday, Afghans went to the polling stations to elect their future president from a field of eight candidates.
It’s the first time I have participated in an election and it was with my full spirit and enthusiasm that I cast my vote with optimism for Afghanistan’s prosperity and for real democracy.
Throughout this election, I witnessed all my friends engaging in election-related debates and conversations in a more civic way, even though with disagreements.
For me, the most interesting events during the campaign periods have been the live television debates among the candidates, which provided a wonderful opportunity for us to evaluate them.
Edrees Kakar's voting card and his ink-stained finger, showing that he cast a ballot on Saturday.
Polling day was a joyful day for me, seeing Afghans with happy faces while casting their ballots.
Maybe the reason for all this enthusiasm is that the youth make up most of the voters.
This much-needed spirit for democracy comes in this important year when foreign forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan and transferring all security responsibility to Afghan forces.
This is in fact a sign of progress and optimism for the future of Afghanistan where estimated 7 million people cast their votes despite intimidating security situations and harsh weather that included pouring rain in Kabul and snow-blocked roadways in some mountainous districts.
It shows the determination of the Afghan people to defend the values of democracy and decide their own fate through voting. Though eight candidates competed in the race, the top three frontrunners are Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Zalmay Rassoul.
Messages of pride for being part of this election have circulated online and on various television channels, and many people are calling to establish the 5th of April as a new national festive day for democracy in the country.
Many of those who voted uploaded pictures of their finger colored with the ink of the polling stations.
Long lines outside the polling places, like this one on the outskirts of Kabul, showed that Afghans were determined to vote.
The winner will replace the country’s first democratically elected leader, President Hamid Karzai, who will be ending his two consecutive terms in office. He was constitutionally barred from running for a third time.
By transferring power peacefully through this election, Karzai will make history as the first elected president of Afghanistan to transfer power through polls and to respect the decision of Afghan voters.
Despite differences of views with some of his policies, people in general are praising Karzai’s tenure during 13 years of harsh situations and are showing gratitude by sharing his picture online.
Afghans on social media across the globe exhibited a significant amount of support for this election, too, many expressing gratitude, pride and excitement at the large turnout and toward police and security forces for the safe election.
Others marveled at the historic election and stated hopes for freedom from terrorism and extremism and a stable, peaceful and prosperous future.