Today the Independent Electoral Commission announced the final figures for the presidential election. This is after they have taken into account all of the complaints made by the different candidates. As predicted, the front-runner, Abdullah Abdullah, has not reached 50 per cent plus one. So there will be a run off between him and his nearest rival, Ashraf Ghani, on June 14th.

If you want to know more about both candidates read this interview with Abdullah Abdullah by former BBC journalist Kate Clark, who now runs the Afghanistan Analysts Network – . Or look at this profile of Ashraf Ghani from the BBC .

But talking to my friends here, may of whom know the candidates from their childhood or university days, gives a different perspective. One friend told me he had little time for any of the candidates, but went out to vote as a protest against Taliban intimidation and to show his support for democracy. Another former colleague said corruption was still an issue – but war lord candidates were no longer stuffing ballot boxes with false votes in their favour, but now bribing whole villages to support them – a much harder thing to prove.

So now it starts all over again, with the two candidates fighting face to face.

« »