Feature

Meddling in Afghan elections

Foreigners are &ldquo;making a mockery&rdquo; of our presidential election, said Afghanistan&rsquo;s <em>Weesa</em> in an editorial.

Foreigners are “making a mockery” of our presidential election, said Afghanistan’s Weesa in an editorial. More than 90 percent of the ballots from last month’s vote have now been counted, and the winner was undeniably the incumbent, President Hamid Karzai, with well over 50 percent of the vote. But that fact has yet to be acknowledged, because the Electoral Complaints Commission refuses to certify the results, claiming it has to investigate allegations of fraud. The commission has just five members, three of whom are foreigners—an American, a Canadian, and a Dutchman. How can we say we have a democracy “when millions of people voted to determine their destiny but the legitimacy of their votes depends on three foreigners?” There’s a word for this kind of abuse: colonialism.

It certainly looks like “a conspiracy” to deny Pashtuns their vote, said Hewad. The Electoral Complaints Commission has challenged votes mainly in Pashtun-dominated provinces in the southeast. If there was fraud, it’s the Americans’ fault. They promised to send extra troops to ensure security at the polls, but then failed to do so. Instead, “they deliberately created a tense atmosphere” so people would be afraid to vote. “Their objective was to deprive Pashtuns of taking part in elections and then accuse them of not being committed to democracy.” This is hardly surprising, given that the Americans have been gunning for the Pashtuns since the beginning of the occupation. Pashtun areas have been bombed and “Pashtun children have been massacred” many times over the past years, all in the name of the U.S. “war on terror.”

That’s why it’s time for the Americans to leave, said Rah-e Nejat. After eight years of “fruitless combat,” the U.S. has not managed to defeat the Taliban or al Qaida. In fact, both movements have grown stronger, thanks to “the mistakes and wrong policies of the U.S. and its allies.” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells us that more time is needed and that the Obama administration hasn’t been in power long enough to effect a turnaround. But Afghans are out of patience. “Incautious, cold-blooded, and failed activities by the foreign forces have resulted in massive and merciless killings of civilians.” And now the election debacle has proved that the Americans can’t help us build a civil society either. We’ve had enough. The Americans should “make an exit schedule for their troops and let Afghans deal with our own problems.”

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