Taliban

While people in Afghanistan hope for a better future with the upcoming elections, the Taliban threatens to disrupt the process.

KABUL — Many things have improved in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Several women have been elected into the national parliament and women’s rights have been recognised. Millions of girls are now attending schools. There has been a growth of Afghan media. Many foreign troops and organisations have left the country.

However, violence has lately increased. There have been several attacks aimed at both locals and Westerners. In an interview with the radio station Swedish Radio on Monday, Shukria Barakzai, member of Parliament in Afghanistan, said she is worried that women’s rights will yet again be neglected after the coming presidential elections. She has high hopes, though, that the country will continue to move forward.

“Afghanistan 2014 is not ready to bring back the Taliban regime,” she said to Swedish Radio.

On Monday, the Taliban threatened to attack the coming elections. It was said that “electoral offices, rallies, voting booths and campaigns” are in the danger zone and that one might not survive if near these facilities. The aim of the Taliban’s threats is to prevent people from participating in the elections.

International journalists have been in Kabul and the rest of the country despite the unsafe situation. The determination to tell the surrounding world about what is going on is the main reason for being present.

Things have taken a new turn since the murder of the British-Swedish radio journalist Nils Horner on Tuesday morning. He was shot from behind, in the middle of the street in the relatively safe Wazir Akbar Khan area in Kabul.

“Horner’s death is a tragic reminder of the fact that journalists risk their lives every day in Afghanistan to provide us with news and information. We hope the authorities will quickly carry out a thorough investigation in order to maximise the changes of the perpetrators and instigators being brought to justice,” said Réza Moïni, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Iran-Afghanistan desk.

Several newsrooms have, during the last couple of days, debated whether to send correspondents to Kabul to cover the elections.

Reporters Without Borders have expressed the importance of presence of international press in conflict areas to ensure democratic progress.

“Although the Afghan media have developed in the past few years, mounting violence and above all, the complete impunity enjoyed by those responsible for attacks on journalists could jeopardise election coverage and, with it, the entire democratic process,” said Réza Moïni.

— Louice Tapper Jansson, Correspondent (Politics)

Image Courtesy: By bluuurgh (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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