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Peacekeepers Bring Ballots to Dangerous Areas of Afghanistan

Finnish peacekeeping soldiers are working to secure elections in Afghanistan. The country is holding elections for the president and provincial councils on Thursday.

Suomalainen rauhanturvaaja tarkastuskierroksellaan Afganistanissa.
Image: YLE

Finnish troops transported ballots to areas considered too dangerous for election officials to go alone. Local officials have not managed to bring ballots to some of the areas in the north of the country, where Finnish and Swedish soldiers have been maintaining order.

These are the same areas where Finnish forces have come under fire from Taleban insurgents.

This summer Finland upgraded its crisis management presence in Afghanistan to about 200 in order to help secure the elections.

Thursday's election has so far passed off more peacefully than expected. However polling stations reported considerably lower voter turnout than in 2004. The Afghan election commission extended voting by 1 hour until 5 pm local time. The main contenders are incumbent president Hamid Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. The latter is expected to do well in the North.

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