Afghanistan Elections: In the Shadow of the Gun

Afghans go to the polls to elect a president on October 9. It will be the most far-reaching exercise of popular choice in the country’s history. The vote, three years after the Taliban was driven from power and just over three weeks before the American presidential election, will be followed next spring by polls to elect a new parliament.

The World Today Updated 19 October 2020 Published 1 October 2004 5 minute READ

Nicholas Nugent

Member of Chatham House

It has become conventional wisdom that President George Bush needs a foreign policy success if he is to win re-election in the United States. Since success is not likely in Iraq, runs the argument, it has to be Afghanistan, the president’s other main overseas adventure.

This ‘wisdom’ almost certainly overstates the impact of ‘abroad’ on American voters. Even so, Washington has been keen to fulfil the commitment it made at Bonn in December 2001, shortly after Afghanistan’s Taliban government was driven out of Kabul, to restore constitutional government to the country after 23 long years of war.

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