Thursday, August 27, 2009

FCO Blogger: Lisa Bandari - Waiting for the election results

Lisa Bandari
First Secretary Political, Kabul

We, like everyone in Afghanistan, are in suspense, waiting for the election results. I attended the first of the long-awaited IEC press conferences on Tuesday 25 August, to announce the first 10% of results for the presidential elections. Everyone was there, from journalists to researchers, to election observers and diplomats. The atmosphere was buzzing, with journalists deep in conversations with contacts at the corners of the room before the conference started, and everyone comparing notes so far.

We all eagerly scribbled down the figures when they finally arrived, in Dari and English, checking with each other on decimal points and provinces. Journalists were the first to start calculating what they might mean for the overall turnout and result, ready for release on the wires - although it remains guesswork at this stage.

Earlier this week I visited the National Tally Centre, where all the results from the provinces are being collated. Beneath an imposing looking hangar in the IEC compound is an impressive data entry centre, with lots of young people sitting at computer screens tapping away at keyboards. I chatted to a couple of the candidate agents observing in the gallery section, and asked them where the results had come in from, and whether any had been quarantined. After one candidate agent moved the conversation on to Iranian pop music, I beat a hasty retreat.

I’ve just been looking at the new website, with an attractive interactive map, but again, just not quite enough information to draw conclusions on the overall results. I and my colleagues will continue to follow the results through the IEC website and their press conferences - the crawl up the hill to the Intercontinental for those is made up for by its striking views over Kabul.


  1. The feature in the Independent today monday 31st August on mutilated Afghan voter shows just how far Miss Bandari is from reality

  2. Your enthusiasm does you credit.

    From the Times:

    "During a video conference between Foreign Office officials in Afghanistan and London, Whitehall mandarins moan about the capture of Garmsir district and the inconvenient challenges that it poses."

    ‘The Taleban enemy has been smashed: it’s a catastrophic success’

  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/31/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  4. Comment from the Times which should be a post on this blog

    "If Afghanistan falls under Taliban control again, then Pakistan will fall next. With Pakistan, the Taliban will gain 50+ nuclear weapons with delivery systems. If the government can't explain the risks to the world of a nuclear armed Islamic Salifist movement, then you need a new government, and a new public educational system. Bad enough Britain has homemade bombs going off in subways, and car bombs rigged to explode in Soho and Scotland. Nuclear weapons are an entirely new calculus.... and if the indescribable comes to Birmingham, or York, or Cambridge, or London........reason will depart the world"

  5. "Hi:

    Two things

    1) I’d like your permission to (re)print your article on Frontline for our website

    2) I was hoping we could use your ‘scribing’ talent for our website.

    The Best Shows Youre Not Watching (dot) com [all one word]

    Frontline is one of our featured shows. We’re hoping to round up a few people who can occasionally contribute perspective (via an article/blog) on the shows – maybe a recent episode, future direction, plot shortcomings etc.

    What’s in it for you?
    Primarily a larger audience back channeled to your blog. We don’t pay but the site has a lot of promise and we're pretty excited about getting it off the ground. Let me know what you think.


  6. TbsYnw - the editors details are - please drop me a line on -