The Afghan Ambassador to the US Said Tayeb Jawad told the World Today programme that the recent elections were a success … and that the real winners were the Afghan people. You can listen to the clip here:
This person — an Afghan election observer — is sharing some of that optimism – at least to a certain degree. They say, “it is clear that Afghanistan is having significant issues with the way this election was conducted. But in one city, looking through one straw, it looked as if it went pretty well.”
But not everyone is feeling quite so sure. The Electoral Complaints Commission is probing more than 2,000 fraud claims after finding “clear-and-convincing evidence of fraud in a number of polling stations.” And this Afghan blogger had no faith in the election process — even before the first ballots were cast.
What do you think? Given the huge hurdles — the mind-bloggling logistics of reaching voters in remote mountain areas, and the intimidation and attacks from the Taliban — were the elections about as good as Afghanistan could hope for? Was a flawed election better than none at all? Are Afghan people the real winners?
And while we’re on the subject of Afghanistan, here are some other things to consider about the state of play ….
* A reporter for the New York Times has been freed in a military commando raid, after being held captive by militants in northern Afghanistan. His Afghan interpreter was killed during the rescue effort.
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said a major summit on Afghanistan should be held this year.The British and German leaders said the meeting should focus on helping Afghanistan take on more responsibility.
* A former Army major- now an MP and defence aide – recently resigned in protest at the British policy in Afghanistan.
Eric Joyce in his resignation letter said :
“I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets”
and – in a swipe at some of Britain’s European neighbours : “For many, Britain fights, Germany pays, France calculates, Italy avoids
* Only last week, a top U.S general – Stanley McChrystal called for a new U.S strategy in the country..
“The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort”
* BUT poppy cultivation and opium production has been reduced, says the UN..