From Herat to Kandahar people are preparing to vote in their very first presidential election. But it won’t be all smooth sailing for the U.S.-backed Interim President Hamid Karzai as he faces a resurgent Taliban, warlords, fresh kidnappings and more car bombings. Despite the violence, Afghans seem determined to give democracy a try. Some election watchers say that nearly 90 percent of eligible voters have registered and nearly half of them are women. And while some in the administration are lauding the upcoming elections as the first big step toward democratizing the Middle East, critics say it just goes to show the weaknesses of nation-building on the cheap.
Sarah Chayes, Afghan’s for a Civil Society
Paula Newberg, author, columnist and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution
Rina Amiri, Political Affairs Officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
Assem Akram, Afghan historian and author;