Everyone wanted things to go well on August 20, and few people have worked harder to make the polling stations safe and secure than the U.S. Marines. Lt. Col. Dale Alford was there on the day that Hamid Karzai was elected, overseeing a unit of men who were providing security at the polling sites. Up until that moment, they had been concerned about what would happen.
“Back then,” he recalled, “everybody thought Al Qaeda would do massive disruption, but they didn’t.” This time around, he knew about the obstacles facing the people in Afghanistan and how difficult it would be Afghans to keep the peace on Election Day. “There are thousands of polling places that have to be guarded,” he told me.
American troops had worked hard to help train Afghans who were protecting the polling stations, and the election was held, and people felt relieved when it was over. Unfortunately, however, as The New York Times says, reports of fraud continue to multiply, putting the legitimacy of the election into doubt. Carlotta Gall writes:
Afghan election officials said Sunday that the serious fraud reports that they were considering had suddenly doubled — to 550 from 270, in a development likely to stoke public outrage and perhaps even delay the official results past September.
The high incidence of fraud makes the American efforts at nation-building seem futile, and it threatens the overall security of the region. What is the likely outcome of the Afghan experience for the United States? "We'll fight for two years and then a successful transition,” as David Kilcullen, author of The Accidental Guerrilla told The Associated Press. “Or we'll fight for two years and we'll lose and go home." As a blogger on Ink Spots points out, Kilcullen's comment is “notable for its absence is any mention of ‘winning.’"