Dissecting the Afghanistan Parliamentary Election

by Joshua Foust on 9/20/2010 · 3 comments

I have a pair of articles up today about this weekend’s elections in Afghanistan. The first, for Foreign Policy‘s The AfPak Channel:

Afghanistan voted for its representatives in Parliament on Saturday. And what’s remarkable is, it’s not nearly as bad as everyone assumed. True, upwards of twenty people were abducted beforehand, and a few election workers got killed, and 63 polling stations were attacked with rockets, causing voters to run away from polling stations, and there was at least one suicide bomber. And there was, of course, widespread fraud. But it could have been a lot worse.

In fact, violence this year was down nearly 37 percent over last year’s Presidential election.

I developed this a bit further in my column this week for PBS Need to Know:

That doesn’t mean that we can declare victory just yet. Al Jazeera reported that just before the election began, 19 people involved in it were abducted. One of the kidnapped people is Safiullah Mujaddedi, a candidate for Parliament who was abducted on the outskirts of Herat on Friday. The Taliban are holding him ransom for one million Afghanis. Additionally, much of the pre-election violence wasn’t caused by the Taliban, but by other candidates for Parliament. While ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) commander General David Petraeus speaks of the bravery of the Afghan people (he’s right), we can’t declare a democratic victory under these conditions.

Etc., etc.

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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 Registan.net. 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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CostOfWarBlog September 21, 2010 at 3:11 am

The difference in the media coverage of this election in the US and europe is fascinating. The NYtimes painted a grim picture before even a vote was cast. Europe was much more open. I try to understand:

Abdullah September 21, 2010 at 6:06 am

Report: Recession ended in June 2009‎

I am also selling my lake front registan property

Caleb Kavon September 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Lets make a stab at several possibilities for Pakistan and see where things might lead…

A. After a year of increased violence from the insurgents, and political clashes, and rising anger of the flood victims, (or sooner) Pakistan’s military retakes control of the country as it has done for over half of the post independence history.

B. As under Zia, and Musharraf, rights are suspended, political activity curtailed and as under the most recent military dictators support from the United States continues as part of the War on Terror as the Islamic Forces continue to battle with Government forces. Kyber Pahktunhwa and other areas become constant battlegrounds and Peshawar becomes the new Kandahar.

C. Pakistan under the Military Government accedes to a Taliban Afghan peace agreement and the Taliban enter the Government in Kabul via several ministries and Governorships.

D. Protest continue to plague the Military Government but this time Islamic Revolution becomes the clarion call for the protest as opposed to the previous PPP and Jamat parties of the past. While at the same time, Indian Kashmir continues a relentless push towards independence with India. A counter coup by Islamic oriented officers is launched to take control of the Government and imperil further American Aid.

E. Further Mumbai type terror attacks rock Indian cities. Pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war, while the Pakistan military faces daily combat and terror in its own cities.

F. Faced with an unmanageable economic crisis, requiring further IMF loans and real instability Pakistan veers toward becoming a failed state.

Is this a possible scenario or not? If not, why? and do not the current indicators of possible conflicts point this way. What forces act to moderate these threats that we can see today or do the current trends lean toward what the above describes as an increasingly unmanageable situation?

The direction is clear, is the outcome also possible to deduct without Sherlock Holmes getting involved and his sidekicks Ambassador Holbrooke and General Mattis? Just some questions to ask, before any of this comes true.

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