Afghan Election Mule Train
REPORTING FROM KABUL
It was announced today that the Afghan Independent Election Commission has enlisted 4,000 mules in transporting election material to the hard to reach areas in the north of the country. These mules have been designated to deliver ballots to districts in the north which are nearly inaccessible due to the imposing Hindu Kush mountains. Prior to this idea of using mules, 3,500 trucks were enlisted in taking the ballots north with many of them unable to negotiate the roads-if one could call them roads. This latest plan demonstrates the challenges facing the Afghan government and ultimately the Afghan people in carrying off an election that is not only challenged by the geography of one of the most remote areas on the globe, but in a security environment which is tenuous at best. Kai Eide, Special Representative to UN Secretary General, said this plan “was one of the most demanding exercises I have ever seen.” This is putting it mildly. The fact that the future of this country is riding on the back of these mules is an extraordinary concept. As the weeks are melting away to days before this vote it appears that a once one-man race is beginning to open up with Ashraf Ghazi and Abdullah Abdullah making this a true contest as they slowly begin to garner support from the once unshakable base of Hamid Karzai. Now the future, at least for some voters in the mountainous north, of the country will be riding on the backs of mules with blank ballots heading now their way and following August 20th their choice for President. Despite our obsession with Diebolt voting machines and touch screen technology there just might be a lesson in this....are you listening Florida?