April 5 - Afghanistan's landmark election marred by shortage of ballot papers as organizers appear unprepared for a high turnout. Mana Rabiee reports.
The voting in Afghanistan's landmark presidential election was largely peaceful. Only isolated incidents of violence at polling stations were reported. Taliban insurgents had vowed to derail the election. But Saturday's voting was marred by something else. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) RESIDENT OF KABUL MOHAMMAD HASSAN SAYING: "I was waiting from 2pm, but the election workers told us that there are no more ballot papers, three other centers here have also run out." Election officials were unprepared for the high turnout, nearly 60 percent of eligible voters. Polling stations simply ran out of paper ballots. More ballots were dispatched where they were needed. And some polling stations stayed open much longer than planned. Still, many voters stood for hours to cast their vote. Leaving some frustrated over the wait. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) KABUL RESIDENT BIBI ROQIA, SAYING: "I spent two hours waiting to vote but now they are telling us the ballots are finished. How come the government is not providing enough paper ballots, what kind of law is this? This itself is a fraud." It's unclear how widespread the shortage may have been. Fifteen million ballots were printed for a country of 12 million eligible voters. Afghan President Hamid Karzai praised the high turnout. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN PRESIDENT, HAMID KARZAI, SAYING: "Despite the cold and rainy weather and possible terrorist attacks, our sisters and brothers nationwide embraced this election and their participation is a step forward and it is a success for Afghanistan." Afghanistan's rugged terrain makes it difficult to gather all of the ballot boxes and count the votes. It'll be six weeks before final results are announced.