Good news from Afghanistan?

Might there be a glimmer of hope finally in Afghanistan?

The Afghans have conducted an election to choose their next president. The top two candidates, according to National Public Radio, are pro-Western in their leanings and are not allies of the outgoing — and unpredictable — Afghan President Hamid Karzai; indeed, Karzai’s hand-picked successor is running far behind the top two candidates.

A runoff appears to be in the offing between opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah and former World Bank executive Ashraf Ghani.

What’s more, the election produced a stunning 60 percent turnout in the face of attacks from Taliban terrorists who, of course, oppose elections of any stripe.

Can this be a tipping point in the evolution of Afghanistan from a lawless, tribal society into one that is governed under the rule of laws that the rest of the civilized world understands?

Hope should spring eternal.

The United States already has ended its major combat role in Afghanistan after fighting an all-out war there against the Taliban since shortly after the 9/11 attacks. More than a dozen years have passed. Too much American blood has been spilled in what had been thought to be a lost cause.

It’s too early certainly to declare victory in a land with no known history of representative democracy. But with the impending election of either Ghani or Abdullah, the country appears to be headed toward a leadership that will tilt in our direction rather than toward the forces of evil.

It’s now time for the world to begin holding its breath.

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