Editorials: Afghan elections: The morning after | Al Jazeera

“I am voting today to secure my grandchildren’s future,” said an octogenarian woman waiting in line at a polling station in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i Sharif. Throughout the day, Afghan media continuously showed live footage of voters standing in long lines: Old men leaning on their canes, women of all ages, first-time young voters, people from all walks of life and hailing from all of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups. The 2014 presidential and provincial council elections opened at 7am on a cold and drizzling morning in Kabul, amid heavy security measures prompted by three deadly attacks the previous week and a Taliban threat to voters. Thousands of people had queued at polling stations at dawn, right after morning prayer. The air was filled with enthusiasm, hope and a kind of energy that I had only felt on Nowruz 2002, the first Afghan New Year’s Day after the fall of the Taliban. Twelve years later, however, there was an added aura of determination and defiance. My parents’ generation experienced this kind of euphoria in October 1964, when at the behest of the last Afghan king, Zahir Shah, a new Afghan Constitution had changed absolute monarchy to a constitutional one and had started what is known in contemporary Afghan history as the “decade of democracy”.

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