With only three days before presidential and provincial council elections in Afghanistan, the Independent Election Commission is sending out desperate appeals. In nearly a quarter of the country's provinces, despite repeated pleas, the Afghan institution charged with managing the elections has been unable to recruit enough women to staff polling stations. Female staff members are necessary for searching women coming to vote, an essential part of the security matrix in polling stations across the country. Unless they are recruited -- rapidly -- in many areas women may be unable to cast their vote.
The possible disenfranchisement of a substantive section of the country's population is more than a mere logistical concern. Increasing insecurity, including violence specifically targeted at women, as well as conservative attitudes, may combine to prevent many women from entering polling booths on August 20.
To read the full story
Aunohita Mojumdar is an Indian freelance journalist based in Kabul. She has reported on the South Asian region for the past 19 years.