Afghans Prepare for Presidential Elections
Millions of Afghans are expected to vote in presidential elections on Saturday.
The Taliban is telling Afghans to stay away from voting stations.
Violence continues to rise since a deal between the Taliban and the United States collapsed early this month. The deal would have ended U.S. involvement in the Afghan conflict, America's longest war.
Campaigning for the Afghan elections had just started. The deal was expected to delay the vote and oust Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Now, the country is facing a number of challenges to holding the elections.
Ghani is the leading candidate. He faces accusations of corruption and abuse of power. His leading opponent is Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. The two men have shared power for the past five years in what has been described as a unity government.
On Saturday, Afghan voters will be given a ballot with the names of 18 candidates. Most of the candidates have not campaigned or fully organized their election-day operations.
There are several other concerns about the planned vote.
Security concerns high
Taliban attacks have killed many people in recent weeks. The group now controls or strongly influences about half the country. It has condemned the elections and warned Afghans against voting. Militants allied with the Islamic State group also threatened voters. It operates mainly in eastern Afghanistan.
The country's Independent Election Commission sought security for 5,373 voting stations. However, security agencies said they were unable to guard 410 stations. So those will not open on Saturday.
A full one-third of the country's estimated 300,000-strong Afghan National Security and Defense Forces will be deployed on election day.
Corruption remains a problem
The U.S. government has warned all the candidates to keep the election honest. In a surprise announcement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo withdrew more than $160 million in aid money, saying Ghani's government was too corrupt.
The last presidential elections in 2014 were so problematic that U.S. officials intervened. International observers say they do not expect the U.S. government to act this time. As a result, losing candidates and their supporters may be more willing to dispute the voting results.
About 100,000 election observers will deploy for the vote. Most of them are local and support one of the candidates. The top candidates, Ghani and Abdullah, each have more than 26,000 observers registered. Only nine of the 18 candidates have registered their voting-day observers with the Independent Election Commission.
A lot of money is being spent on the presidential elections. It is estimated the voting process will cost $150 million. The Afghan government will pay $90 million. International donors will pay the remaining $59 million.
Afghanistan's former President Hamid Karzai has warned that elections could hurt efforts to find a peaceful end to 18 years of war.
Karzai called for U.S. officials and Taliban representatives to restart negotiations. However, President Trump declared the talks "dead" after a Taliban attack killed two coalition soldiers, including an American.
"We should first come to peace in Afghanistan and then conduct elections," Karzai told the AP on Tuesday.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.Peace talks 和平谈判
Peace talks between the two sides ended in deadlock last month.
2.presidential elections 总统选举
Presidential elections are due to be held in ten days' time.
3.a number of 一些；若干
The research begs a number of questions.
4.unity government 联合政府
The charges were brought as the unity government held its first cabinet meeting.
5.Taliban attacks have killed many people in recent weeks.
in recent weeks 近几周
Relief efforts have been stymied in recent weeks by armed gunmen.
Demands for his dismissal have gathered momentum in recent weeks
6.As a result, losing candidates and their supporters may be more willing to dispute the voting results.
As a result 结果...
As a result, daily output has doubled.
As a result, industry was overmanned and pen-pushers were everywhere.
本月初，在塔利班和美国的协议破裂后，暴乱事件持续上升 。该协议旨在结束美国对阿富汗战争的干预，这是美国参加的最旷日持久的战争 。
阿富汗选举的竞选活动刚刚开始 。预计这项协议将推迟大选，并推翻阿富汗总统加尼的统治 。
加尼是最有力的总统候选人 。他面临腐败和滥用职权的指控 。他的主要对手是政府首席执行官阿卜杜拉·阿卜杜拉 。过去5年，两人在所谓的联合政府中共同执政 。
周六，阿富汗选民将投票选出18名候选人 。大多数候选人没有参加竞选活动或充分组织他们的选举日活动 。
最近几周，塔利班的袭击造成许多人死亡 。该组织现在控制或严重影响着全国约半数地区 。该组织谴责了这次选举，并警告阿富汗民众不要投票 。与“伊斯兰国”组织结盟的武装分子也威胁选民 。该组织主要在阿富汗东部活动 。
阿富汗独立选举委员会为5373处投票站寻求安全保障 。然而，安全机构表示，他们无法保障410个投票点的安全 。因此这些投票站周六当天将关闭 。
美国政府警告所有候选人要保持选举的真实性 。美国国务卿蓬佩奥意外地宣布，撤回1.6亿美元的援助资金 。蓬佩奥称，加尼政府过于腐败 。
2014年举行的上次总统选举问题重重，以至于美国官员进行了干预 。国际观察人士称，他们预计美国政府这次不会采取行动 。因此，落选的候选人及其支持者可能更愿意对投票结果提出异议 。
大约10万名选举观察员将被派往投票站 。他们中的大多数人都是当地人，并且支持其中某位候选人 。支持率最高的候选人加尼和阿卜杜拉分别拥有2.6万多名观察员 。在18名候选人中，只有9名向独立选举委员会登记了他们的选举日观察员 。
总统选举一事成本高昂 。据估计，投票过程将耗资1.5亿美元 。阿富汗政府将支付9000万美元 。国际捐助者将支付剩余的5900万美元 。
卡尔扎伊呼吁美国官员和塔利班代表重启谈判 。然而，在塔利班袭击造成包括一名美国人在内的两名联军士兵死亡后，特朗普总统宣布谈判“破裂” 。