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Editorial: The Afghan election

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

It appears that Afghanistan has its first democratically elected president: Hamid Karzai, who has served as president of the country's provisional government since the U.S. invasion following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The most remarkable thing about the Afghan election is that it was held at all. That country's history of Soviet occupation and the Taliban stranglehold did not indicate free elections would one day determine who the government leaders would be.

Karzai's victory against 17 other presidential candidates was solid with more than 50 percent of all the votes cast, preliminary results released Sunday showed. The election was held Oct. 9. A target date of Oct. 30 has been set for announcing the final results.

In a region noted for rule by warlords and militant rebels, Afghanistan's free election is a beacon to other nations and marks a positive outcome of the U.S. efforts to both stabilize the area and to root out groups harboring terrorists.

Counting the votes in Afghanistan has been slow mailing due to the brand-new experience of dealing with 8 million ballots cast across the country and delivered by pack-laden donkeys and couriers on foot for counting.

The Afghans who participated in the election as candidates, campaigners and voters deserve to be commended for their historic achievement.

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