Unemployment a leading issue in Afghanistan’s tense election

World Today

In this Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 photo, An Afghan National Army soldier stand guard at a checkpoint ahead of presidential elections scheduled for Sept. 28, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Millions of Afghans are expected to go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president, despite an upsurge of violence in the weeks since the collapse of a U.S.-Taliban deal to end America’s longest war, and the Taliban warning voters to say away from the polls. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Afghanistan’s long-delayed presidential election is expected to get underway on Saturday despite threats from the Taliban to disrupt it by attacking polling stations.

CGTN’s Jack Barton takes a look at the key issues Afghans care about as they head to the polls.

Ahead of Saturday’s presidential election, Kabul shoe repairman Mohammed Aref said security is the chief issue on his mind.

“The security situation is unsettled brother. When we see them killing the Afghan people from this side, the government is bombarding our surroundings and there is the killing of innocent people in the name of Taliban and so on. They only kill the Afghan people and the people of Kabul only innocent people get killed and the government does the same,” Mohammed Aref, Shoe repairer in Kabul said.

The election, which was already delayed by a month, comes after the suspension of peace talks between the US and the Taliban which has raised the prospect of violence.

Four decades of conflict has impacted every aspect of daily life voters want politicians to unite behind a peace process that can bring stability.

“As the fighting needs sacrifice peace also needs hard-working,” Hamza Momen Hakimi, president of the Afghan Society of Muslim Youth.

A war-torn economy is also on most people’s minds – youth unemployment is higher than 50%.

Unemployed gentleman says, “We don’t have enough money to spend in our daily life and it is so hard to live in this country”.

Despite the threat of Taliban attacks on polling station Mohammed Aref, does intend to vote.

“We are really worried about the situation especially with the upcoming election. Hopefully this election is finished soon and people know their future and war ends and peace comes,” Says Aref.

A common sentiment in a nation where the civilian death toll and the amount of territory the Taliban now control are at their highest peaks since the US-led invasion.