Afghans Watching U.S. Presidential Race Closely

The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is now in its twelfth year, yet it is hardly discussed in the presidential campaign. In Kabul, however, many Afghans are following the U.S. election closely. NPR's Sean Carberry talked with students at Kabul University about the upcoming U.S. presidential vote, and what it might mean for Afghanistan.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. With - while the presidential candidates talk tonight about foreign policy, we're going to take some time to hear people in other countries talk about the candidates. We have three stories, more correspondents in Indonesia, Germany and first, Afghanistan. The U.S.-led war there is in its 12th year, but it's rarely discussed in the presidential campaign. NPR's Sean Carberry gathered some opinions from young Afghans outside Kabul University.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Safia Arafi is a fourth year political science student, and she's following the U.S. presidential campaign through TV news, the Internet and her professors.

SAFIA ARAFI: (Through Translator) It matters to all the world, but especially Afghanistan. Our politicians are very interested in the U.S. election, and the people are watching it because Afghanistan mostly depends on U.S. political strategies.

CARBERRY: Her prediction?

ARAFI: (Through Translator) I think Obama will win.

CARBERRY: While she and her friends are watching and discussing the election, she thinks that they are in the minority in Afghanistan.

ARAFI: (Through Translator) In most of the villages and provinces, people are too busy with their daily lives. and they don't have access to TV or other media.

CARBERRY: Mohammed Yusuf is a fourth year student in language at Kabul University. He agrees the U.S. election is very important, but he's not sure the result will change U.S. policy towards Afghanistan.

MOHAMMED YUSUF: Because as we know in the last election, when George W. Bush take his position to Barack Obama, every people say that it will be some big changing in Afghanistan, but we didn't see.

CARBERRY: Even though he says there wasn't a big change, he wants President Obama to have a second term. Yusuf says that Mr. Obama has more foreign policy experience, and that's important. But he adds that some of his friends believe that after four years, President Obama's policies haven't delivered for Afghanistan and Mitt Romney deserves a shot.

YUSUF: But I don't know what Romney's plan for Afghanistan. He didn't mention too much.

CARBERRY: Omay Stangley, a law and politics graduate, does think the Romney plan is clear and better for Afghanistan.

OMAY STANEGLEI: From my point of view, it's better to advocate Republicans because their strategies will affect Afghanistan economical situation better than Democrat people.

CARBERRY: He doesn't feel President Obama and the Democrats are looking out for Afghanistan's long-term interests. Sean Carberry, NPR News, Kabul.

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