News: ISAF and Logar province officials meet to work out election details
Story by Spc. Jaimé Deleon
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Leaders from the Afghan national security forces met with Logar Provincial Governor Attiqullah Lodin, as well as key leaders from Task Force Spartan, and other International Security Assistance Forces at Forward Operating Base Shank, Aug. 9, to prepare for Afghanistan's upcoming elections.
The elections, which will take place, Aug. 20, will be the second presidential elections since the fall of the Taliban. The current president, President Hamid Karzai was elected in 2004. Afghans will also be electing representatives to the provincial councils.
"I'm not going to lie to you and say the elections are going to be easy," said Col. David Haight, commander, TF Spartan. "It's going to be a lot of hard work, it already has been, but we have a very strong team here and we'll work through any problems together."
The daunting task ahead of them was obvious to all involved as they began discussing the specifics of coordinating the elections and providing security.
"We're going to need good cooperation and coordination for the elections to go smoothly," said Lodin.
As the group sat in the shade of camouflage netting, American Soldiers moved blocks of wood around an improvised diagram to represent the various units moving about the battlefield.
Every possible emergency was analyzed and plans were made to handle possible situations. The elections will involve thousands of people and would be a major undertaking for any government, let alone one that's in the infancy stage.
Such a major national event doesn't only involve the government. Once everything is set in place, it is important for the people to feel safe enough to actually come out and cast their votes.
"We have to keep the people involved," said Lodin. "We have to get them to vote and support the election. The number of Soldiers is not as important as the support of the people."
With many Afghans living in remote villages, Lodin is eager to make sure there are polling centers at convenient locations for everyone.
"We need to make sure to include even the most outlying villages in the elections," said Lodin.
With plans set in place, all that is left is to wait for the big day to arrive and all the pieces to be set into motion.