Many People in Afghanistan saw the recently held elections an opportunity where they can choose for a government that could bring peace and stability to the war-torn country. The people in Afghanistan have shown their belief in the power of the ballot as they turned out in large numbers to polling stations for political expression despite many administrative, political and security challenges. Though the elections were marred by violence, however, it was not Taliban doing alone. Even the candidates resorted to violent means; thus the hopes for a credible and fair election diminished if there were any.

However, the unsung heroes in the middle of all chaos and insecurity were the ordinary people. The Afghan people defied all sorts of threats and turned out in significant numbers to exercise their democratic right of voting for the candidates they deemed fit for the office. The courage and bravery of the Afghan people were exemplary as the high numbers of casualties – more than 300 civilians and security personnel – on Saturday failed to restrict them to their homes.

Though there were many challenges that the Afghan officials faced in conducting a free and fair election in a country that is war-torn, yet the process in itself carries a lot of importance. The fourth electoral process means that Afghan people like any other nation are believers in the transition of government through the ballot. They have had enough of factional fighting and civil war. The Afghan people who defied the threats and participated in voting have sent a clear-cut message to all those who still think that force alone can be the deciding factor in gaining a share in government.

Where people overthrew their fears and voted, there the government and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) failed in meeting the expectations of the ordinary folks. The failure of IEC in the successful conduct of voting has already given space to suspicions if it can competently organise the presidential election that is scheduled for April next year. IEC needs to take up corrective measures to fix all the loopholes that have marred the present elections. Failing to do so will shake people’s resolve in the efficacy of the voting process.

It is not all lost, though. IEC can cement the loss of reputation in the elections that will be held on 27 October in the province of Kandahar which were delayed after the assassination of Police Chief, Abdul Razik. Despite all shortcomings in the process, the people of Afghanistan deserve all praise and appreciation for braving the hostilities that were surrounding them all these days.