Elections not panacea for Afghan ills
Afghanistan has just completed its elections. That is the big news in a way for the region.
Afghanistan has just completed its elections. That is the big news in a way for the region. But what is even more awaited would be the acceptance of the outcome which is a few days away.
First, let us look at how Afghanistan has voted. The country has voted to choose its fourth President since the Taliban rule that ended in 2001. Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani is facing his rival Abdullah Abdullah in these elections.
The elections had been delayed, rather postponed twice due to security concerns. Violence kept mounting in the country, even before the collapse of Afghan-Taliban-US talks when Donald Trump pulled out.
In addition, the US had also slashed the aid being given to the country just ahead of the elections giving Abdullah Abdullah scope to criticise Ghani and question his legitimacy. This election is important because, much depends on the outcome and its acceptance by all parties.
The Taliban, aided and abetted by Pakistan, does not recognise the present government. So, it may not accept the outcome if Ghani is re-elected. Abdullah also may not accept his return to power. Both of these claim that Ashraf Ghani has illegally occupied the chair in rigged elections.
Hence apprehensions over the outcome. The Taliban has set pre-conditions that it would hold negotiations with the government not directly but through a third party, the US. The US President, Trump was disappointed that withdrawal of troops did not happen as planned and so his 14,000 troops are stay put in the harsh terrain for no reason.
It is a clear mess that the US stepped into the quick sands of Afghanistan after Soviet Union's exit. One could say the current elections are fairly peaceful because the election related violence had seen very few deaths with only four persons dying. But violence has consumed and will be consuming thousands of lives continuously elections or no elections.
It is Pakistan which masterminded the attack on the Americans by the Taliban that led to the cancellation of Camp David talks by the US scheduled for September 7. The US of course, refuses to see the Pak hand behind the killing of an American soldier in Kabul. It is also not interested in the lives of Afghanistan.
If Afghans blame the US for the continued violence and any future violence, it would not be wrong. Trump sought to reduce coalition troops to 8,600 and withdraw completely by 2020.
The initial understanding was between the Taliban and the US also spelled out that Afghanistan would be renamed as Islamic Republic of Afghanistan after the success of the talks when Taliban takes over.
The US was thus expected to deliver an Islamic Republic to the Taliban. Only condition was that Afghanistan should not be used as a base for terror operations against the US. Well, they could operate against anyone, including India.
Young Afghanistanis do not want their country to slip back to the middle ages under the Taliban rule. Elections, hence, may not be the panacea for the Afghan ills.