Meet the voters who want an end to war
On Saturday, millions of Afghans will head to the polls, attempting the first democratic transfer of power the nation has ever seen. Voters will choose the successor to President Hamid Karzai, who has run the country since 2001 but is constitutionally banned from seeking a third term.
The main contenders are former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai; former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai’s main challenger in his 2009 election; and Zalmai Rassoul, who is believed to be Karzai’s preferred successor.
The Taliban has vowed to violently disrupt the vote and a series of strikes have already preceded it, including a high-profile attack on the Independent Election Commission two weeks ago.
Security forces—including some 65,000 international forces—are working to protect candidates and have promised to protect voters and the some 7,000 polling stations, but there’s still widespread concern of violence and fraud.
In this slideshow, photographer Victor Blue profiled Afghans and asked them what they hope the election and new president will bring to their war-torn nation.