Five Things You Need to Know About the Afghan Election

by Joshua Foust on 9/16/2010 · 7 comments

Unfortunately, it’s not very good news. My latest at PBS Need to Know:

  • Thousands of candidates are running;
  • There will be blood
  • The most important voters will be disenfranchised
  • Women will be systematically excluded
  • Everyone cheats

So yeah. If you can find some hope in there, I’m all ears.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Dan September 18, 2010 at 11:00 am

Hello Joshua,

Indeed there has been blood and polling centre closures and fraud. Just a few quick thoughts though: although the elections may further alienate some/many communities and delegitimate the whole system I just do not see any alternative – after the 2004 and 2005 elections – even after the 2009 drama- no elections would even more hurt the legitimacy of the political process than bad elections, right?

Also, reports of fraud reached us much quicker than 2009 – i am not sure if it is because there was more of it or because reporting mechanisms worked better. And i found my local IEC more solid (less compromising) than last year. Now aside from violence, if we could “fix” the electoral law, the vetting process and if the ECC could investigate cases without waiting for a complain during the campaign(who will complain against the most powerful candidates whatever they do?)…

I think there is still some hope, although the next couple of weeks will be tough…Call me a keener, but I tend to think that you need to practice elections in order to eventually/hopefully get them “right”…

Boris Sizemore September 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

These elections represent the end of an era. Basically the international community funded the first set of elections fully. Thus they got to control the EEC selection and monitor closely the IEC. In the future, Afghan elections will likely not be funded at this level, and thus we will have even less polling centers and likely more fraud.

Political parties are going to be formed in the future. The SNTV system which is beyond rare, should be changed.

The lack emphasis on Political Parties is crippling the political dialogue and was a major error made by Karzai in the last ten years. The void created by lack of parties has been occupied by the patronage politics which is destroying the populations very faith in the system. This was the most grievous error that could be made. The blame is clearly on the shoulders of President Karzai.

Afghanistan in fact has a history of parties, pre Soviet invasion and post. Karzai made this choice and it is a part of what till now is not greatest legacy for a defacto “Founding Father,”

Whether the new WJ is capable of implementing these changes is uncertain. Political action, focus, and change are the weak links that almost surpass the absolute lack of governance throughout most of the country.

Funding and international participation is the key, and this is also not for certain as interest subsides with the 2015 “war end” timetable now in action.

The last several elections are not a credit to the Nation and when combined with ISAF’s 5 year failure on the security score, it is an overall step back, so clear and without apparent reason that most Afghans believe it has been done on purpose.

This year’s Afghan Policy Review is proving to be a non factor, as the Administration has essentially washed its hands and given up.

Kzblog September 19, 2010 at 12:50 am

I suppose that’s the positive news in there. This time it’s the Afgans problem to run the elections and develop their electoral system. And the blame can’t be shuffled off on the West. Maybe someday they’ll figure it out. Even the US managed to clean up the boss system of the early 20th century in most big cities eventually.

Abdullah September 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

HELMAND, Sep. 18 – Polling stations inside Gerimsir district center (Hazar Joft) were closed due to constant missile attacks by Mujahideen. Local people from the area say that all roads leading in and out of the district center were closed by Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate.

Abdullah September 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Zabul, Sep. 18 – Nowbahar district’s polling stations were completely closed from 02:00 pm to 04:00 pm because of 18 missiles fired by Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate.

KANDAHAR, Sep. 18 – 2 explosions hit US invaders foot patrol in Tabeen area of Arghandab district at 02:00 pm local time. 2 helicopters were seen at the scene of the blast airlifting the dead and wounded but the exact number is not known.

Abdullah September 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

HELMAND, Sep. 18 – 6 polling stations in Nad Ali, which were being guarded by hundreds of security personnel, were forced to close after coming under intense Mujahideen attacks.

And at least 7 puppet police were killed last night in this districts Chanjir Hadeera area after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

sadettin September 20, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I think it is a comfort at the end of every difficulty, there is beauty. I believe that this will result in the election.

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