CaptionWomen line up to cast their votes at a small Shiite mosque in western Kabul. After decades of war, and a US-led ousting of the Taliban in 2001, Afghans voted in the country's first ever direct presidential election on October 9. The woman in the center lifts her veil so that election officials can check her identification card. Afghan society has traditionally held very conservative views on women, even before the Taliban rule, and many argue that little has changed. Most candidates running for election avoided taking a stand on women's rights. The election was won by Hamid Karzai, who had been leader of Afghanistan's interim government, with 55 per cent of the vote.