Just four days after President Obama’s surprise visit to Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave a major speech complaining that heavy-handed international actions tarnished last year’s presidential election, diminished his legitimate status as clear winner and risked making the foreign military presence resemble the imperialist invaders of yesteryear.
Karzai went too far. His comments were unfair and risked encouraging critics of the Afghanistan mission who want to portray foreign forces as unwelcome. But his remarks were also a predictable result of American browbeating. Historically, negative treatment of the Afghan leader has produced these sorts of reactions. Kabul and Washington are partners in the effort to create a stable, democratic state; they should understand that public displays of rancor are best avoided.… Seguir leyendo »
With Afghanistan’s second-ever presidential election coming on Thursday, the Op-Ed editors asked four Afghans to report on the moods of voters in their communities.
1.- Hopeful in Panjshir. By Ahmad Wali Arian, a human-resources manager.
2.- Waking Up to Terror. By Mirwais Ahmadzai, a program manager with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
3.- Phantoms at the Polls. By Atif B., a former aid worker.
4.- Apathy Among the Educated. By Hassina Sherjan, the president of Boumi, a manufacturer of decorative products for the home, and the director of Aid Afghanistan for Education, a nonprofit group.
A “fair and transparent election,” even if one were possible, would not be enough to set Afghanistan on a path toward stability. Only when democracy is combined with a legitimate process of truth and justice will we achieve peace.
Most educated Afghans, a small but important minority of the population, will not vote because they believe there is no candidate worth voting for. The other day the marketing manager for my company’s factory in Kabul told me that he and 10 friends had discussed it and decided not to vote.
“All the development has been done by private companies and nongovernmental groups,” he explained.… Seguir leyendo »
For several years, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has been trying to negotiate and reconcile with supposedly moderate elements of the Taliban to end the insurgency. This approach has failed every time. Thus it is puzzling to many Afghans that President Obama has also been talking about negotiating with “moderates.” Let’s hope that when the two men met in Washington this week, along with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, the idea of reaching out to the Islamic extremists was shelved once and for all.
After all, President Karzai’s efforts have simply revealed the weakness of the Afghan government and its international allies.… Seguir leyendo »