On April 5, 2013 I went to the United States Peace Institute to attend a panel discussion on the upcoming afghan elections next year. There were four senior experts on the subject who each gave their views and suggestions on the elections as we go into preparing for the elections next year. The presidential elections are to be held next on April 5th, and each one of the panelists stressed that they feel that Afghanistan is not ready for another election. All four stressed that there is a significant amount of work to be done in order to be prepared for the elections next year. What was most interesting was the two panelists who were from the United States but spent time in Kabul for the previous elections were both discussing the need for a strong US presence in the elections -even if the U.S will be in preparations of leaving later on the year. They both discussed the embarrassing amount of fraud that took place in the previous elections that re-elected Karzai as president and mentioned that as a new developing country these types of events are normal. That with the proper help and guidance that the elections next year could actually be fair and free and actually successful.
It was great being able to attend the event because even though my parents are from Afghanistan and I am familiar with Afghan politics, it was nice to get a closer look into the domestic politics of the country and just how much it affects the United States and its policy makings. I met a lot of very important people at the event, top experts from the US Peace Institute and USAID, and was able to catch a glimpse of networking in D.C as well.