By all accounts, the election in Afghanistan went better than many expected. Although there were some security issues and attacks, for the most part Taliban threats proved hollow and voters were able to vote without intimidation. The BBC report on the election is here. The results of the election will not be known for some time.
I think any true election — as opposed to the vintage Soviet-type shams where one candidate earns 99.8% of the vote — accomplishes something just by being held without significant incident. Individuals who live in countries that have not experienced democracy need to learn to trust the system and their ability to exercise the franchise without retribution. The act of voting also promotes a more active, involved citizenry and pride in country. All of these things are positive developments.
Of course, holding a successful election does not mean Afghanistan won’t continue to face enormous challenges. It is, however, a good first step toward a free society for people who have long been oppressed.