Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
from Russell Boyce:
This week has seen a dramatic increase in violence and tension throughout much of the Asia region, and the pictures on the wire reflect this mood. It seems that actions by not only nations, armed groups but individuals have all had a dramatic impact on the mood of the region. The weight of the news feels almost claustrophobic as I try to keep on top of what is happening.
U.S. Army soldiers from Delta Company, a part of Task Force 1-66 carry a wounded 7-year-old Afghan boy, a victim of a road side explosion, at their base near the village of Gul Kalacheh, Arghandab River valley, Kandahar province, September 18, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
On the surface of it the parliament elections can only be good news for the people of Afghanistan, but 16 hours spent live blogging pictures with our team of 18 journalists, watching the minute by minute developments made me wonder about the timing of this election as different groups tried to impose their influence on the outcome through violence and fraud. Attacks by the Taliban killed 14 who were directly involved in the polling process. A radio commentator I was listening to assured his listeners that this death toll was part of normal daily life in Afghanistan and should not be seen to reflect election violence, I was not cheered by this. Oleg's picture above seems to bear this out; does it really matter what the motivation was behind the blast as the boy writhes in agony, his blood stained hands trembling and clawing at his bandaged head. If the election had not gone ahead would he still have been injured? Even Masood's picture below of the election worker and the donkey struggling through the mountains seem to reflect the uphill battle the whole country has to face. Ink being washed off fingers so voters could vote and vote again; fraudulent voting cards printed and who knows what amount of ballot box stuffing will take place before the final count is revealed late October; all of which seem to undermine the democratic process. Who wants to be ruled by leaders who have gained power through corruption - notably the only political point the Taliban make.
An Afghan man and a donkey transport ballot boxes to villages unreachable by vehicles in Panjshir province, north of Kabul September 17, 2010. Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections on September 18. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood