Afghanistan elections could lead to withdrawal of foreign troops

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 18, 2018, 08.24 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Saturday's election will be the third time that the country will elect members to the lower house of the parliament post-Taliban.

With parliamentary elections scheduled for October 20 in Afghanistan, the elections are being viewed as crucial tests run for the presidential vote and are being held after a delay of three and a half years. 

The Afghan parliament’s term was extended post-June 2015 to promote transparency in the electoral system. But unfortunately, no major reforms have been carried out since then. Instead, the electoral process has just courted more controversies.

Saturday's election will be the third time that the country will elect members to the lower house of the parliament post-Taliban.

The elections are crucial for Afghanistan at multiple levels.

For starters, they will lay the foundation for next year's presidential elections.

Afghanistan's National Unity government is already facing the test as their elite position has dropped behind potential candidates, President Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah are mired in a power struggle. If these parliamentary elections do not go smoothly, the ruling coalition could be in trouble.

The Taliban is, of course, another key factor that threatens democracy in Afghanistan. 

Threats and attacks by the Taliban and the Islamic state-Khorasan province --- both opposing mainstream politics --- have hampered voter registration processes. This is likely to impact turnout on voting day as well.

Taliban has reportedly been threatening villagers that their homes will be targeted if they vote. Taliban terrorists have also targeted election rallies and claimed several lives in the last few weeks.

The United States is trying to negotiate peace with the Taliban and the results of these elections will have a direct impact on that as well.

But the biggest implication of this election could be the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. 

Transparent democracy is the most likely way to provide long-term stability to the country. A failed democratic process would mean the country plunges into further chaos and in the long run, demand even more international troops and funds.