April 4 - As Afghans prepare for presidential vote, residents of the rugged Panjshir Valley volunteer their donkeys to deliver ballot boxes to one of the country's most inaccessible areas. Mana Rabiee reports.
In Afghanistan's rugged Panjshir Valley, this is how elections are done. Donkeys...to deliver ballots and voting boxes to the country's most inaccessible areas. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) GULBODEN KHAN, RESIDENT OF SHUTUL DISTRICT, SAYING: "It's four to five hours by foot and there's no transportation because of the snow, so we eagerly came here to distribute all these materials to our district." One the eve of election day - they're choosing a new president on Saturday - some 3,000 donkeys are being deployed across the country. These men volunteered their own donkeys for the job. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) GULAB UDDIN, WORKER FROM INDEPENDENT ELECTION COMMISSION (IEC), SAYING: "The residents have a huge concern for their vote and an interest in election day. They presented themselves here to deliver the ballot boxes to the remote areas of their district." Saturday's election is the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's violent history. The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the vote with a campaign of bombing and assassinations. The men have a long journey ahead of them. Like their country, on its long road towards democracy.