Afghanistan: Political Limbo Two Months After The Elections

91580315_991450ac2c_oThe announcement of a final result of Afghanistan’s elections has been dragging on for the past two months. The official result was supposed to come on Saturday, but has been postponed again for several days as the international pressure is mounting.

The Election Complaints Commission, which includes foreign observers, has been investigating widespread election fraud, and is apparently clashing with the Independent Election Commission in a byzantine turn of events. Hamid Karzai has spoken on the telephone with Secretary Clinton, British Prime minister Brown, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and Pakistani President Zardari in order to solve the matter. This intense diplomatic activity seems to have one goal: Avoid a political vacuum in Afghanistan.

Secretary Clinton stated last week that Hamid Karzai is likely to be the winner, even in the case of a runoff. However, the supporters of Karzai’s opponent Abdullah Abdullah think that the elections were stolen by Karzai and are now threatening demonstrations in the North of Afghanistan if there is no second round.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was in Kabul Saturday, adding his voice to the mix and trying to assess the electoral conundrum.

“It is up to everyone to respect the election results, and to work for the smooth running either of the elected candidate’s swearing in if an absolute majority is achieved, or for the preparation of a runoff if there is no such a majority,” said a representative of the French Foreign Minister.

Regardless of all this international diplomatic wrangling, time is running out if a runoff is to take place. The onset of the brutal Afghan winter would likely force the postponement of a second round until the spring of next year. This would leave Afghanistan in a precarious political limbo for several months.

The Afghanistan/Pakistan imbroglio is getting more complicated  for the Obama administration and NATO by the minute as President Obama is still pondering the additional number of US troops he will commit to the conflict. The fact that the elections’ result will be view by a large number of Afghans as illegitimate constitutes an enormous problem. If  President Obama decides to follow the recommendations of General McChrystal and adds 40,000 troops for the purpose of nation building, it would  be propping up a corrupt  government view by a large number of Afghans as the puppet of the US & NATO, and this is not a way to win anyone’s “hearts & minds”. Meanwhile the Afghan people are likely to seek the pseudo and brutal order that the less corrupt Taliban shadow government is already providing them.

President Obama is about to make the most important decision of his presidency. Hopefully he will be receptive to the opinion of Vice President Biden and put a break on the war mongering instincts of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and of course General McChrystal. Sending an additional 40,000 troops will not solve anything except getting more Americans to come back in body bags. The only solution for Afghanistan is a political one. It is time for the Western alliance to bring elements of the Taliban to the negotiating table, and this is precisely what US special envoy Richard Holbrooke should be working on instead of instigating Pakistan into another massive attack on the Taliban.


One Response to Afghanistan: Political Limbo Two Months After The Elections

  1. Canada Guy October 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    The War in Afghanistan is over, it’s all about saving face now.

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