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Afghan women make election strides

An Afghan woman puts her finger into an ink bottle to mark herself as a voter who attended an election at a polling station in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of Balkh province, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Mustafa Najafizada)

While the results of Afghanistan’s presidential election likely won’t be known for days, one takeaway is this — women were a force at the ballot box. Habiba Sarobi, currently governor of Bamyan province, became the first woman to appear on the ballot for vice president on a leading national ticket. Women made up 1.3 million of the 3.8 million newly registered voters, according to the Afghanistan Election Commission. And a record 300 women appeared on the ballot for provincial council seats.

The milestones come as Taliban militants carried out several attacks, including one on Afghanistan’s election commission headquarters, in the run-up to the election and as the presidential candidates suggest making peace with the Taliban.  All eight of the presidential candidates talked about their support for women’s issues. In 2009, the last presidential election, women made up 40 percent of the vote. According to the election commission, 7 million people voted this time, and a third were women.  Turnout was especially low in Taliban strongholds, where few voters were seen at the polling stations.

Here is a round up of photos and tweets that captured the historic day:


An Afghan woman casts her vote at a polling station in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on April 5, 2014. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghan women wait to cast their ballot at a polling station in Mazar-i-sharif, Afghanistan, April 5, 2014. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)


Afghan workers of the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) count ballots at a polling station for the presidential elections in Kandahar, Afghanistan, April 5, 2014. (EPA/Muhammad Sadiq)
Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

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