Afghanistan’s Postponed Presidential Election Will Continue


Kassidy Haggard, National and World News

       An 18-year long war has been raging between the Afghanistan government and an insurgent group called the Taliban. More names were added to the growing list of casualties due to two bombings that took place earlier this week in an attempt by the Taliban to stop Afganistan’s presidential election.  

      The first bombing took place outside a presidential campaign only hours before the second, where many people were lining up to get through the campaign’s checkpoints. A man drove his motorcycle into the crowd of around 2,200 unsuspecting citizens and detonated a bomb. The explosion took the lives of at least 26 people, 4 of whom were members of the Afghan military. Out of more than 40 people who were injured in the bombing, many were women and children. The current president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, was not harmed in the explosion because he was half a mile away in a secure compound. 

       Hours later, the second bombing took place near a busy intersection called Massood Square in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. The bombing was near Afghanistan’s ministry of defense along with NATO and the US embassy, commonly referred to as Kabul’s “Green Zone”. At least 22 lives were taken in the bombing, and more than 38 people were injured. The second bombing that took place this past Tuesday was close to a previous suicide bombing at a NATO checkpoint earlier this September, where 12 people were killed–one of those 12 people was an American service member. 

       This previous attack–as well as the others before–was one of the main reasons that U.S. President Donald Trump pushed to end the months-long peace talks with the Taliban, which had been taking place in Qatar. Due to the end of the peace talks, the Taliban have thus stepped up their attacks across Afghanistan and has also refused to discuss anything involving a cease-fire. 

        Before the peace talks were ended, the U.S. had been trying to reach a deal with the Taliban l which involved the Taliban ceasing any and all terrorism within their territory if American troops withdraw from the territory. Then, the U.S.planned to attempt a second round of talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government to stop the 18-year-old war. Many Afghan government officials assumed that no election would take place. Instead, they assumed a power-sharing deal would be struck with the Taliban, which is why the Afghan presidential elections have continued to be put off again and again.

       These violent acts have been committed because the Taliban strongly opposes the presidential election scheduled for the 28th. As long as the election is preceding, the Taliban are planning to target election campaigns along with polling stations in an attempt to stop Afghans from voting. 

        Election campaigns have become one of the main targets because the Taliban do not think they hold any legitimacy. The threat of more bombings has put everyone on edge, so the Afghan government has gathered 70,000 security forces to protect the elections. However, there will be 2,000 fewer polling stations than the 2014 election in an attempt to make sure the voters stay as safe as possible and to prevent more casualties being added to the list of those killed because of Taliban bombings. 

        After these bombings took place, the presidential palace released a statement in which the Ghani said, “By continuing their crimes, the Taliban have once again proven that they have no will and desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and that all their movements are nothing but deceit.” Many of Ghani’s other statements and campaigns for the presidential election, which resumed after the election was set into motion once again, has been done through video due to the bombings. 

        The Afghan government is doing everything they can to make sure their people are safe and that they still have control of their country now that the peace talks have been ended.  The Taliban, however, are still trying to win the war between the government and themselves, and have said they are going to continue to go through with their bombings in an attempt to weaken and scare the Afghan government.