Left to right: A government voter registration worker snaps photos of women, a man shows voter registration rolls, and a newly registered voter. Photos: Tom Bullock, NPR
In September, Afghans will vote in the first democratic election in their country's history. But with just a few months to go, the central government and the international community are still trying to register millions of eligible voters and bring security to the country -- both key to conducting a successful election.
Learn more about the stories in this series of reports:
Commanding private armies and controlling vast sections of the country, there is little chance that democracy can come to Afghanistan if its warlords aren't disarmed by this September's election. NPR's Renee Montagne reports on efforts to disarm these powerful figures and how they are re-inventing themselves as political leaders.
A major obstacle to democracy in Afghanistan could be the nation's powerful warlords. Montagne profiles the warlord ruler of Herat, on the border with Iran, whose cooperation -- and willingness to give up some power -- may hold the fate of a nation.
Afghanistan's interim government is working to convince religious leaders, or mullahs, to support a push to register voters for the war-torn nation's first-ever democratic elections. But elements of the deposed Taliban regime still lurk in the shadows, promising violent retribution.
Efforts are under way in Afghanistan to register at least seven million eligible voters. International volunteers say they face many cultural obstacles convincing women to take a more active civic role.
Hamid Karzai has led Afghanistan through the transition from Taliban rule and two years of reconstruction. Now he's preparing Afghanistan for its first democratic election. He voices his desires for the future of his nation.
Renee Montagne: Back to Afghanistan
NPR's Renee Montagne spent a month in Afghanistan talking to a big cross-section of Afghans -- farmers, shopkeepers, housewives clad in burkas and the women signing them up to vote, mullahs and intellectuals -- about the challenge of creating a democratic government.