Threats of violence kept large numbers of voters away from the polls in various parts of Afghanistan, and by closing time it was hard to say whether some officials’ declarations about the day’s success were warranted. But, thankfully, earlier warnings from the Taliban didn’t seem to materialize in the form of any major tragedies on Thursday. –KA

The New York Times:

Mr. Karzai’s main opponent, the former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, called the low turnout in Kabul, “unsatisfactory.” He added that his supporters were lodging complaints of fraud, in particular from the southern province of Kandahar.

But even though it was too early to tell, Mr. Abdullah said preliminary results were hopeful, and he called the day a victory for the people of Afghanistan.

“Despite all the difficulties, despite all the security problems and other problems, people went to the polls, and they participated in this day,” he said at a news conference in the garden of his home. “And in fact they stood up to those who wanted to take away the people’s right to choose their destiny.”

Insurgents in the south threw up makeshift roadblocks in one area to warn off voters, and in Kandahar, witnesses said, insurgents hanged two people because their fingers were marked with indelible ink used to denote that they had voted.

“I know the Taliban threaten people not to vote, but I am coming and using my vote,” said Bakht Muhammad, 24, after he voted in Kandahar. “I want change. I want security. I want to live my life in our country.”

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