Afghan student explains home country’s elections


By Tariq Maroofi

My name is Tariq Khan Maroofi. I was born in Afghanistan, but my family migrated to Pakistan when I was little because of the wars. I spent most of my childhood in Pakistan. However, we went back to Afghanistan for the summers, even during the Taliban regime.

In 2008, the situation in Afghanistan had improved enough that we moved back. After spending about a year in Afghanistan, I came to Falmouth, Mass., for my sophomore year of high school.  From there, I made my way to Union, which I love.

Last week, millions of Afghans rushed to polling stations to fulfill their duties as citizens of Afghanistan, in spite of the knowledge that the Taliban might attack them. By doing so, we know that the Taliban has lost or is on the verge of losing its influence in Afghanistan. People have had enough of the Taliban.

There were thousands of women waiting in line to vote. They stayed there until closing time and insisted on keeping the polls open until everybody had voted.

The head of Afghan security tried to explain that the voting deadline had passed, but the women insisted that a few more minutes would not make much of a difference.

If people missed this chance, they would have to wait years for their next chance to vote, which many people objected to.It is the first time that we have seen so much excitement to vote in Afhganistan. Some women were so eager to vote in these elections because they cannot use guns to defeat the forces that have made their lives hell. These women are also tired of being treated as substandard human beings.

The Taliban has reduced Afghanistan, a great country, to the margins of social and economic development. Afghanistan is taking a new step toward becoming a developed, prosperous and democratic nation. The three main candidates in the elections are Zalmai Rassoul, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. Each of these three candidates is very well-educated and suited for the job of the presidency.

Personally, I would prefer Ashraf Ghani to win. Ghani holds a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University and is a former World Bank academic who also served as economic adviser in Hamid Karzai’s interim government.

Ghani was the man who played a crucial role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan with foreign aid. I believe that, in the last decade, nobody has used foreign aid as well as Ghani. Other officials have put foreign money into their own pockets, rather than using it to build schools, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Ghani became the Chancellor of Kabul University in 2004, so he knows what we need to do to make our education system better. One of the main reasons that I think he is the perfect candidate for the presidency is his campaign toward poverty alleviation and the rural poor. He is the only candidate to have taken steps to address the issue of rural Afghanistan.

Ghani understands the economic situation of Afghans and the economies of Afghanistan and the rest of the world. We need a president who understands global issues, does not blame others for his or her problems, is not corrupt and can administrate.

We also need a president who can serve us and give us a good name in the eyes of the international community. Thus, we need a president who can fulfill our hopes of becoming a great nation once again.



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