Some polling stations were closed, others came under attack, during the Afghanistan elections that were held today. At least 11 civilians have been killed.
In the city of Kandahar, the Taliban put up posters warning citizens not to vote in the “Americanized Elections.” More than 31 explosions were heard in the city throughout the morning. According to officials, some were rockets fired by insurgents. The governor of Kandahar toured polling stations to encourage voter turn out, but his convoy was hit by an IED, sending his armored car into a ditch. No one was injured in that attack.
Gunfire was reported at polling stations around the country, and a rocket-propelled grenade landed in a U.S. Marine Corps compound in Marja.
In the capital city of Kabul, violence was low. Lines had formed outside of some polling stations by the afternoon. Outside the city though, stations were reporting very light turnout.
The Interior Ministry reported that 11 civilians, and 3 police officers, have been killed in election related violence.
There have been widespread reports of election fraud, including vote buying, use of fake registration cards, and voters voting repeatedly after washing off the supposedly indelible ink from their fingers that marks them as someone who has already voted.
Despite the troubled elections, government corruption, and mounting NATO casualties, the Obama administration is not considering any major changes in its Afghanistan strategy, according to senior administration officials. They say that corruption is endemic in Afghanistan, and they are not going to be able to change that. The goal is a stable government and society that will repel the attempts of al-Qaeda to rebuild it presence there.