The Afghan elections that will place 249 members in the Wolesi Jorga (House of the People), which is the lower house of the Afghan Parliament, is finally set for tomorrow, September 18, after being postponed from May of this year.

On the eve of the event, we could identify an infinite number of factors that play a role in the upcoming political event. Below, we briefly look at three major issues to watch as the election takes place this weekend, results emerge and a political path forward emerges for Afghanistan.

Violence

Opening research was conducted by simply using a query in Recorded Future for “Political Event” in Afghanistan during the time period of September. In the resulting data, you can see quite a bit of commentary related to or predicting what’s to impact the election.

Certainly the most concerning and disruptive are ongoing threats that the Taliban continues to direct toward threaten election workers, candidates and voting locations in an effort to send the election into disarray. We’ve heard their rationale for such threats before in a post on Paki Taliban, and are allegedly driven by claims that the political process is serving foreign interests more so than the Afghani people.

Taliban Threatens Afghan Election Violence

Taliban Threatens Afghan Election Violence

Though the militant violence is one concern, reports on recent NATO attacks on insurgents in the country can also seen in the same screenshot above of Recorded Future results. Foreign intervention activity, whether its military or civilian, ahead of the elections has served to fuel inflammatory Taliban rhetoric.

International Influence

The above point on NATO bombings leads into the a second area to watch, which is the scope of international aid, influence and security needed to successfully pull off an election and provide stability in the aftermath.

Below, we can see statements related to international aid or intervention in Afghanistan during 2010.  The timeline view is here limited to the more recent past in an attempt to gather sentiment and discussion regarding political impact of an ongoing foreign presence in Afghanistan.

Commentary on International Aid in Afghanistan

Conflicting Viewpoints on International Aid in Afghanistan

Looking at quotations related to the rest of the year, we can clearly see an uncertainty about the benefits of continued military presence in Afghanistan, as government entities weigh the addition or removal of forces in the country.

Statements on Military Presence in Afghanistan the Rest of the Year

Quotations on Military Presence in Afghanistan for the Rest of the Year

President Hamid Karzai

Aghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, has been in the spotlight, as he continues to defend the country’s ability to support itself while at the same time being embroiled in controversy for corruption ties and alleged meetings with the Haqqani Network, which has been closely tied with al-Qaeda.

Hamid Karzai Quotations

How Will Hamid Karzai Position Himself During and After the Elections?

While his voice has been strong on security issues, we can also see (using a search for Hamid Karzai over the “Last 60 days”) that controversy outside of the election process continues to plague Karzai in recent weeks.

Kabul Bank Freeze

Hamid Karzai's Brother in Kabul Bank Freeze

We’ll know soon how the election (and all the uncertainty around safety and fraudulent results) plays out as well as how key figures like President Karzai emerge in the aftermath, but always interesting to provide some context around what’s to come in the near future.

Using Recorded Future, you can quickly map out events around foreign elections ranging from research on particular individuals and associations to the statements related to security issues. You can also set up a research scope to watch the landscape for Afghanistan over the next months or years.

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