Sunday, September 18, 2005

The failure of fear

Once an opressed people has a taste of true liberty, they are willing brave any amount of vioence and bloodshed to hang on to it. After decades under Taliban rule, the people of Afghanistan demonstrated today that no threat is large enough to keep them from exercising their newly found rights:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans chose a legislature for the first time in decades Sunday, embracing their newly recovered democratic rights and braving threats of Taliban (search) attacks to cast votes in schools, tents and mosques.

Violence in the hours before voting began and during the day killed 15 people, including a French commando in the U.S.-led coalition that is helping Afghans (search) build a democracy after a quarter-century of conflict. But there were no signs of a spectacular attack threatened by Taliban militants to disrupt the vote.

Sunday's vote was considered the last formal step toward democracy on a path set out after a U.S.-led force drove the Taliban from power in 2001, when they refused to hand over Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden (search) following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Afghan Polls Close Amid Attacks