Karzai's Brother World's Biggest Heroin Supplier

Picture
By Makhdoom Babar
Editor-in-Chief, The Daily Mail.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A team of journalists working for The Daily Mail newspaper investigating the drug trade in Afghanistan have made a startling disclosure that Mr. Izzatullah Wasifi, a brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was arrested by the U.S. authorities from Caesars Palace, California, along with his wife Fereshteh Behbahani on July 15, 1987, for the trafficking of high quality heroin. Wasifi was sentenced for three years and eight months while his wife was sentenced to three years probation. However after the formation of Karzai government in Kabul, Izzatullah Wasifi was made the Governor of Farah province of Afghanistan and later, last year, his brother, Hamid Karzai, appointed him as the all powerful Chief of Afghanistan's General Independent Administration of Anti-Corruption with responsibilities to prevent the Opium growth and Heroin production and its illicit export. Keeping in view Mr. Wasifi's past, it is nothing less than stunning to notice that the person who a few years ago was a drug trafficker is today Afghanistan's chief anti-drug trafficking officer.


Wasifi used to be an anchor between the Afghan drug barons and the Western drug buyers and used to run a drug trafficking operations. The Daily Mail's findings reveal that after being made Governor of Farah province in 2001, he established close links with at least four governors of Karzai government and formed a new, huge and comprehensive drug network. Getting investments from foreign allies, Wasifi established a massive chain of the heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. He later came up with the proposal of forming of an all powerful General Independent Administration for anti-corruption with responsibilities to check heroin production and trafficking and his brother, the Afghan President, wasted no time to appoint him the chief of the said department. According to underworld informants, Wasifi today is considered to be the world's biggest heroin producer and trafficker with an estimated annual income of around a trillion U.S. dollars. According to some reports, his ex-wife Fereshteh Bebahani, who was convicted with him for drug trafficking in 1987 and now lives in Los Angles, California, is also one of his associates and books orders for the supply of heroin to the U.S. and Latin America.

In a bid to capitalize on the political chaos and war-lord culture prevailing in Afghanistan, India for the first time opened four new consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad and Kandahar, in addition to reopening an oversized embassy in Kabul, closed after the departure of Soviet backed regime in Afghanistan. This makes Indian diplomatic representation the largest in Afghanistan, bigger even than that of the U.S. India does not have any big legitimate commercial interests tied to these Afghan cities, neither does it have any expatriate Indian community nor frequent travelers to or from India and Afghanistan seeking visas of passport assistance.

Taking into account the current socio-economic and security conditions in Afghanistan, there seems to be no commercial or consular justification for India to have opened a consulate, for example, in the small-remote Iranian town to Zahidan on the border of Balochistan province of Pakistan.

These Indian consulates are actually working to strengthen bonds with the Afghan warlords and drug barons who are one and the same owing to the entrenchment of drug culture in the Afghan political structure. The Pakistani government has gathered sufficient evidence linking recent incidents of sectarian terrorism in Pakistan with the Afghan warlords sympathetic to the Northern Alliance. While training to the sectarian terrorism is being provided by Indian intelligence agency RAW's personnel stationed in the Indian consulates in Afghanistan, financing for terrorism against Pakistan is invariably being done through drug money. Disclosure of the former Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat about the existence of six Indian terrorism training camps in Afghanistan is a clear pointer in this direction. The maiden horrific attacks by this narco-terrorist nexus was carried out in July 2003 on a Shiite Mosque in Quetta, Balochistan, killing 53 worshippers which was followed by a number of such attacks and it is believed that the last week's attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul was also the result of some ex-players of the Wasifi racket who were expelled from the racket on suggestions of some new players from India.

It is of great concern that the members of the Northern Alliance, who are known for their direct links to the production of opiates, constitute a considerable portion of the government at all levels. Ironically, Northern Alliance members in the Interior Ministry are now responsible for counter-narcotics operations. Furthermore, high-level officials in Kandahar, Helmand, and the Defense Ministry are also reportedly tied to the drug trade. This situation is further exacerbated by numerous recent allegations that soldiers from the interim government's security forces have been guarding drug markets.

"The U.S. must understand the strong relationship between drug production and terrorism and should, therefore, recognize the need for strict action against drug production in Afghanistan. The U.S. administration must redefine its priorities in Afghanistan and realize that the elimination of drug economy is an issue of peace and stability and a sine qua non for its success in the war-on-terror," expressed Adrew Moses, a renowned U.S. analyst, when contacted by The Daily Mail.


The Daily Mail's investigations further indicate that the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) and the NATO forces have declined to pursue the eradication of opium poppy crops under the pretext that the activity was beyond their mandate. Clearly, the U.S. is avoiding a potential conflict with the Afghan warlords, the major beneficiaries of drug, whose political support is essential for the sustenance of Karzai government. However, in doing so the U.S. is ignoring the strong nexus between the drug economy and the continuing instability in Afghanistan and the growing terrorist activities in the region. The Afghan warlords have been netting huge profits from the drug trade emanating from poppy production in areas under their control.

It is not difficult to see that the Afghan warlords have vested interest in ensuring that the State remains week in Afghanistan so that they can continue with their profit-yielding drug trade without the fear of a strong action by the authorities. Consequently, the warlords are channeling a portion of their drug earnings to fuel terrorist activities and attacks against the Karzai government and coalition forces. Thus by giving a free-hand to the warlords and drug barons in return for their political support to the Karzai government, the U.S. is in fact undermining its own objective of peace and security within Afghanistan.

In comparison with these dubious allies of Washington in Kabul, Pakistani officials spent the past six years giving the Americans realistic recommendations on how to restore stability to Afghanistan. One of those recommendations was to neutralize the influence of the drug barons in the Karzai government by welcoming back the alienated Pashtun majority of Afghans. Strangely, Washington continues to ignore the recommendations of its Pakistani ally for fear of alienating the corrupt elements in the Karzai government.

Even more surprising is how Islamabad continues to shy away from creating some international noise about the serious challenges of Indian-sponsored narco-terrorism from Afghanistan, Pak-Afghan warlords and their involvement in drug trade. Apart from being a victim of terrorist activities financed by Afghan drug money, Pakistan has also suffered the most from the menace of heroin addiction. As such Pakistan has a strong stake in lobbying for a more proactive international strategy to fight the narco terrorism nexus in Afghanistan.

According to some unconfirmed reports, Pakistani intelligence agencies, in interrogations with arrested al Qaeda operatives, gleaned information that shows that terrorist cells in Afghanistan heavily relied on Afghan drug money to run their operations. On the other side, Pakistan's anti narcotics authorities have been putting pressure on the Pakistan government and Islamabad's Foreign Office to take up the drug trafficking issue with Kabul. However the Pakistan government is yet to take up this issue with Karzai government in a strong manner since Islamabad is busy in appeasing Kabul in an effort to establish some kind of an extraordinarily cordial relationship between Kabul and Islamabad. Despite the fact that Pakistan and Afghanistan governments have signed a number of accords and agreements for a joint terror combat and eradication of the menace of drug trade with Interior Ministers from both the countries holding frequent meetings, it remains a matter of prime concern for Islamabad that Kabul has not moved even an inch to counter the drug business in Afghanistan.

Makhdoom Babar is the Editor in Chief of The Daily Mail in Islamabad. This article is extracted from the full version of the report, published at www.dailymailnews.com along with more information on sources used in this article. Mr. Babar can be reached at macbabur@hotmail.com

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Corruption Crusader Aims for Afghan Presidency

Picture
The Saturday Profile

Corruption Crusader Aims for Afghan Presidency

RAMAZAN BASHARDOST’S election campaign seems better suited for a student government race than a drive for the presidency of Afghanistan. Each day, dozens of volunteers visit his headquarters, a dust-blown tent on a dirt road, eager to hear his anticorruption platform.

The 47-year-old scribbles down their contact details — he has collected about 3,000 names— and asks them to purchase his election poster for 10 cents. They comply with remarkable obedience.

In most places, such grassroots antics from a lone-wolf idealist would be stuff of the fringe. But in a sign of just how disenchanted some Afghans have become with their government, Mr. Bashardost, a doctoral scholar who lived in France for two decades, is widely believed to be at least fourth in popularity among 42 candidates in the August elections.

A radical independent, Mr. Bashardost has a calming monk-like demeanor that contrasts sharply with his accusatory politics. He has lashed out against the Communists for allowing the Soviet invasion— the subject of his dissertation. He has called for war crime tribunals against jihadist leaders of the 1990s.

Lately, he has vociferously attacked corruption among the technocrats, including President
Hamid Karzai, who have ruled Afghanistan since 2001, and whom he dubs “orphans of Bush” and
“the Taliban with neckties.”

It is rhetoric that has prevented him from receiving any public endorsements, but, if nothing else, guarantees him the urban protest vote.

Some speculate that Mr. Bashardost, a former planning minister and current member of Parliament, would be worth millions of dollars if he had swapped his principles for the political mainstream.

“In my gut, I’d like to have a palace, girls and luxuries,” he said. “But when I see the poverty here, I don’t want it.”

After publicly rejecting perks that President Karzai granted to other ministers, like land plots and $60,000 cars, Mr. Bashardost is a modern-day Diogenes, the Greek philosopher who crusaded against corruption by living in a tub, and who roamed the streets in daylight with a lamp in search of an honest man.

The closest thing Mr. Bashardost has to a home is a dented 1991 Suzuki compact car that cost him $1,500. In the summer, he sleeps beside the tent in a barren room with plastic-covered windows. In the winter, he lives with his parents, despite tensions.

“My parents don’t like me,” he said. “They want a luxurious life because their son is a former minister. They don’t believe an honest man can change the lives of Afghans.”

Mr. Bashardost, who is quick to quote Gandhi, has never been married and claims to have no friends except for “25 million ordinary Afghans.”

“You can’t be Bashardost, and have a girlfriend,” he said in a whisper among some supporters. “I give my money to the people, but girls want to go to restaurants and bars, and they want you to come home early from work.”

Surrounded by admirers inside his tent, and without any security — he has refused government bodyguards — Mr. Bashardost defended his archaic campaign in French-accented English.

“If I didn’t believe I could win, I wouldn’t run,” he said. “For what? Just for this photo,” he said, pointing to an election poster.

In a nation fractured by ethnic tension, Mr. Bashardost brands himself a pluralist, a natural outgrowth of his childhood, he said, when he lived all over the country because of his father’s nomadic job as a government agricultural official.

Born in Ghazni Province in central Afghanistan, Mr. Bashardost fled the country in 1978 as the Soviets invaded, first to Iran, where he finished high school, and later to Pakistan. In 1983, he sought asylum in France, where he earned three master’s degrees and a doctorate in political science at the University of Toulouse in 1995.

WHEN the Taliban were ousted in 2001, Mr. Bashardost took a diplomatic post at the Afghan Embassy in Paris, and in 2003 returned home to head the European Affairs Department at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

As planning minister, Mr. Bashardost became a media darling when he donated his salary to pay for the lunches of his employees, who earned $60 a month.

A year later, in another anticorruption move with populist appeal, he tried to expel nearly 2,000 international aid organizations from Afghanistan, accusing them of cronyism.

The controversy annoyed the Western-backed Mr. Karzai, and Mr. Bashardost soon resigned.

In 2005, after winning the third-highest vote total among nearly 400 parliamentary candidates, he created the Tent of Nations as a protest against the inaccessibility of government.


The poorest constituents, those who cannot afford the obligatory bribes to attain government services, come to the tent as a last resort. One recent day Mr. Bashardost promised to bestir the Ministry of Higher Education on behalf of a student who was unable to secure a dorm room at a state university.

NYT_VideoPlayerStart( { playerType : "article", videoId : "1194840783117" } ); “Those clerks respect my signature, so they’ll cooperate,” he said.

By most accounts, Mr. Karzai is the favorite in the election, as Afghans tend to vote along ethnic lines and Mr. Karzai is from the majority Pashtun group. Mr. Bashardost is a Hazara, the nation’s third-largest minority with 15 percent of the population.

But in a nation without a census, and where security remains uncertain, election analysts here said that Mr. Bashardost’s best hope was to play a Ralph Nader -like spoiler role in a contest that would go to a runoff if no candidate won more than half the vote, an outcome Mr. Karzai dreads.

Once colleagues, Mr. Karzai and Mr. Bashardost now seem almost to be opposites. The president’s elegant robes, capped with a grey karakul hat, stand in sharp contrast to Mr. Bashardost’s schoolboy image: his campaign posters show him cradling stacks of notebooks.

“It’s the evidence that in seven years, after $31 billion, we still have nothing,” he said, referring to the amount of foreign investment poured into the country.

While Mr. Bashardost mobilizes his humble supporters, he is unlikely to draw on what is considered an essential ingredient in any victory here, the tribal networks. That would require money to pay for the votes, which he does not have, and compromising his principles, which he is unwilling to do.

On a recent afternoon, visitors ranged from a European Union diplomat to an Afghan schoolteacher who traveled 48 hours by bus to volunteer.

The teacher, Mohammad Haidar, walked away with a plastic bag full of business cards, posters and CDs — and a hasty tutorial on campaigning: get out the vote in large venues like mosques and wedding halls; listen patiently to critics; avoid yelling.

“His hands aren’t red with the people’s blood,” Mr. Haidar, 27, said. “We’ve suffered enough.”

THE campaign runs on $20,000, mostly donations from diaspora Afghans. All contributors are listed on Mr. Bashardost’s Web site.

Critics cast him as more of a moralist than a leader with ideas of his own. Commentators refer to him as genuine but slightly insane, as evidenced by his rants that end far removed from where they began. As a result, his policy prescriptions are murky.

When asked how he would defeat the Taliban, he said the militants are not fighting the Americans but a domestic war from the 1990s. The Americans, he said, should fret less about security and more over their billions of tax dollars that have landed in the pockets of Afghan politicians.

Mr. Bashardost, who spent his childhood buried in books, says he realized while he was in school in France that his ambitions would dictate that he lead a hermit’s existence.

“There are very nice girls in France,” he said. “They fell in love with me, but I told them I’m from a country with 10,000 problems and it will only interest you for one month.”


Picture
The Saturday Profile

Corruption Crusader Aims for Afghan Presidency

RAMAZAN BASHARDOST’S election campaign seems better suited for a student government race than a drive for the presidency of Afghanistan. Each day, dozens of volunteers visit his headquarters, a dust-blown tent on a dirt road, eager to hear his anticorruption platform.

The 47-year-old scribbles down their contact details — he has collected about 3,000 names— and asks them to purchase his election poster for 10 cents. They comply with remarkable obedience.

In most places, such grassroots antics from a lone-wolf idealist would be stuff of the fringe. But in a sign of just how disenchanted some Afghans have become with their government, Mr. Bashardost, a doctoral scholar who lived in France for two decades, is widely believed to be at least fourth in popularity among 42 candidates in the August elections.

A radical independent, Mr. Bashardost has a calming monk-like demeanor that contrasts sharply with his accusatory politics. He has lashed out against the Communists for allowing the Soviet invasion— the subject of his dissertation. He has called for war crime tribunals against jihadist leaders of the 1990s.

Lately, he has vociferously attacked corruption among the technocrats, including President
Hamid Karzai, who have ruled Afghanistan since 2001, and whom he dubs “orphans of Bush” and
“the Taliban with neckties.”

It is rhetoric that has prevented him from receiving any public endorsements, but, if nothing else, guarantees him the urban protest vote.

Some speculate that Mr. Bashardost, a former planning minister and current member of Parliament, would be worth millions of dollars if he had swapped his principles for the political mainstream.

“In my gut, I’d like to have a palace, girls and luxuries,” he said. “But when I see the poverty here, I don’t want it.”

After publicly rejecting perks that President Karzai granted to other ministers, like land plots and $60,000 cars, Mr. Bashardost is a modern-day Diogenes, the Greek philosopher who crusaded against corruption by living in a tub, and who roamed the streets in daylight with a lamp in search of an honest man.

The closest thing Mr. Bashardost has to a home is a dented 1991 Suzuki compact car that cost him $1,500. In the summer, he sleeps beside the tent in a barren room with plastic-covered windows. In the winter, he lives with his parents, despite tensions.

“My parents don’t like me,” he said. “They want a luxurious life because their son is a former minister. They don’t believe an honest man can change the lives of Afghans.”

Mr. Bashardost, who is quick to quote Gandhi, has never been married and claims to have no friends except for “25 million ordinary Afghans.”

“You can’t be Bashardost, and have a girlfriend,” he said in a whisper among some supporters. “I give my money to the people, but girls want to go to restaurants and bars, and they want you to come home early from work.”

Surrounded by admirers inside his tent, and without any security — he has refused government bodyguards — Mr. Bashardost defended his archaic campaign in French-accented English.

“If I didn’t believe I could win, I wouldn’t run,” he said. “For what? Just for this photo,” he said, pointing to an election poster.

In a nation fractured by ethnic tension, Mr. Bashardost brands himself a pluralist, a natural outgrowth of his childhood, he said, when he lived all over the country because of his father’s nomadic job as a government agricultural official.

Born in Ghazni Province in central Afghanistan, Mr. Bashardost fled the country in 1978 as the Soviets invaded, first to Iran, where he finished high school, and later to Pakistan. In 1983, he sought asylum in France, where he earned three master’s degrees and a doctorate in political science at the University of Toulouse in 1995.

WHEN the Taliban were ousted in 2001, Mr. Bashardost took a diplomatic post at the Afghan Embassy in Paris, and in 2003 returned home to head the European Affairs Department at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

As planning minister, Mr. Bashardost became a media darling when he donated his salary to pay for the lunches of his employees, who earned $60 a month.

A year later, in another anticorruption move with populist appeal, he tried to expel nearly 2,000 international aid organizations from Afghanistan, accusing them of cronyism.

The controversy annoyed the Western-backed Mr. Karzai, and Mr. Bashardost soon resigned.

In 2005, after winning the third-highest vote total among nearly 400 parliamentary candidates, he created the Tent of Nations as a protest against the inaccessibility of government.


The poorest constituents, those who cannot afford the obligatory bribes to attain government services, come to the tent as a last resort. One recent day Mr. Bashardost promised to bestir the Ministry of Higher Education on behalf of a student who was unable to secure a dorm room at a state university.

NYT_VideoPlayerStart( { playerType : "article", videoId : "1194840783117" } ); “Those clerks respect my signature, so they’ll cooperate,” he said.

By most accounts, Mr. Karzai is the favorite in the election, as Afghans tend to vote along ethnic lines and Mr. Karzai is from the majority Pashtun group. Mr. Bashardost is a Hazara, the nation’s third-largest minority with 15 percent of the population.

But in a nation without a census, and where security remains uncertain, election analysts here said that Mr. Bashardost’s best hope was to play a Ralph Nader -like spoiler role in a contest that would go to a runoff if no candidate won more than half the vote, an outcome Mr. Karzai dreads.

Once colleagues, Mr. Karzai and Mr. Bashardost now seem almost to be opposites. The president’s elegant robes, capped with a grey karakul hat, stand in sharp contrast to Mr. Bashardost’s schoolboy image: his campaign posters show him cradling stacks of notebooks.

“It’s the evidence that in seven years, after $31 billion, we still have nothing,” he said, referring to the amount of foreign investment poured into the country.

While Mr. Bashardost mobilizes his humble supporters, he is unlikely to draw on what is considered an essential ingredient in any victory here, the tribal networks. That would require money to pay for the votes, which he does not have, and compromising his principles, which he is unwilling to do.

On a recent afternoon, visitors ranged from a European Union diplomat to an Afghan schoolteacher who traveled 48 hours by bus to volunteer.

The teacher, Mohammad Haidar, walked away with a plastic bag full of business cards, posters and CDs — and a hasty tutorial on campaigning: get out the vote in large venues like mosques and wedding halls; listen patiently to critics; avoid yelling.

“His hands aren’t red with the people’s blood,” Mr. Haidar, 27, said. “We’ve suffered enough.”

THE campaign runs on $20,000, mostly donations from diaspora Afghans. All contributors are listed on Mr. Bashardost’s Web site.

Critics cast him as more of a moralist than a leader with ideas of his own. Commentators refer to him as genuine but slightly insane, as evidenced by his rants that end far removed from where they began. As a result, his policy prescriptions are murky.

When asked how he would defeat the Taliban, he said the militants are not fighting the Americans but a domestic war from the 1990s. The Americans, he said, should fret less about security and more over their billions of tax dollars that have landed in the pockets of Afghan politicians.

Mr. Bashardost, who spent his childhood buried in books, says he realized while he was in school in France that his ambitions would dictate that he lead a hermit’s existence.

“There are very nice girls in France,” he said. “They fell in love with me, but I told them I’m from a country with 10,000 problems and it will only interest you for one month.”

 For more news visit  following links                

Al Jazeera     
Pajhwok      Afghan News      Hindustan Times      Pakistan Today 

    BBC News
     Sydney Morning Herald     Newsweek      Wall Street Journal  

The New York Times
      CNN      The Washington Post

 The Associated Press          The Toronto Star

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

      Summary of incomplete goals of Dr. Ramazan Bashar Dost,

                        independent presidential candidate of
the

                               Islamic Republic of Afghanistan


 

                             Supporter of the religion, state and nation

                                     ان الله لایغیرما بقوم حتی یغیروا ما بانفسهم

 
   Translation: Verily, never will Allah change the condition of people

                          unless they change it themselves


 

Dear fellow countrywomen and countrymen;

Consultation is one of the basic principles in Islam. Therefore, according to my deep believe on this principle and understanding and awareness of our brave but hurt nation, through TV announcement, website and interviews I have requested from the people of Afghanistan to cooperate in the following regards:

1.      To introduce the vices-president

2.      To set out the presidential policy

3.      To provide the budget for conducting the presidential campaign.

Based on the suggestions made by the Afghan people, living in and out of the country, hereby, the incomplete draft of our goals is provided for you through website, poster, visit card and CD. I appreciate cooperation of my fellow countrywomen and countrymen in regard to preparation of these goals and hope you will continue such effective and worthwhile cooperation. I wish that by broad participation of people, my presidential goals and policy can completely, clearly, practically and timely be prepared and availed for the people.

Security, economic, political, social and cultural goals have correlations with one another as cycles of a chain and achieving to one of them without taking other parts into account is not possible; for example making a secure and stable Afghanistan is possible at a time when political, economic, social and…justice be implemented.

Symbols and emblems namely Kalemaye Tayyeba, dove, hand and a plate full of palue with gravy are not electoral emblems, but they are only campaign insignias and signs that are launched from religion and ended to the world, namely, both the religion and world of the people should be taken into account: we should be supporter of values, ideals and religious and worldly aspirations of the people: to defend from their religious values (Kalemaye Tayyeba), to bring the peace and security (dove), to equalize and unify all people of Afghanistan to insure the national interest (two hands together, plaue and gravy for all (a plate full of palau with gravey/Qorma).

Today, a minority is fed up with having palau with gravy/Qorma and is about to burst; while the majority is strange with palau and gravy/Qorma and is starving.

Afghanistan is standing on his head, but I want to make him stand on his foot.

To achieve this goal:

1-      Bringing the security at all costs and eradication of war roots
     and causes.


2-      Prosecuting the oppressors and criminals and kicking them out
     of government.


3-      Creation and training of a special commando for elimination
     of domestic and foreigner foes.


4-      Clearing the army and police from traitor and
     non-vocational individuals.


5-      Clearing the state institutions from non-vocational and
     corrupt elements.


6-      Recruiting all public service officials based on the virtue,
     commitment, experience and expertise.


7-      Giving the right of priority to agriculture, industry and safe
     environment.


8-      Construction of big dams for reserving water and bringing all lands
     and deserts under cultivation.


9-      Proper and professional use of mines and absolute prevention
     from extracting the mines for personal, tribal and
     group-related interests.


10-   Provision of energy, land and water for all people, in particular,
      for agricultural and industrialproducers.


11-   Removal of concur test by establishment of universities,
      vocational training institutions and dormitories in all provinces
      and districts.


12-   The minimum salary of 7,000 Afghani per month for Mawlawies,
      Mullah Imams, school eachers and public service officials and
      putting an end to extravagant dollar and Afghani salaries.


13-   The minimum salary of 5,000 Afghani for the servants of the
      holy mosques, disabled and  handicapped persons, martyrs’
      survivors, jobless mujahids who have been brought under DDR
      program, pensioners, widows and the hired workers.


14-   Distribution of land to returnees, disabled and handicapped
      persons, martyr’s survivors, Mawlawies, Mullah Imams, school
      teachers, journalists, university teachers, public service
      officials, hired workers, mujahids, the military brought under DDR
      program and helping for building house.


15-   Ensuring and safeguarding the national interest of Afghanistan
      should be the only criteria for  making (friendly or hostile)
      relations with the neighboring countries and other countries of
      the world.


16-  Elimination of illiteracy through particular cooperation of
     Mawlawies, Mullah Imams of the holy mosques, teachers and by
     using modern equipments.


17-   To dissolve the thief NGOs, and support the civil society.

18-   The balanced economic, social, cultural and political
      development.


19-   Thorough exemption of tax; and security and financial safety
      for investment, in particular,manufacturing investment.


20-   Ensuring and developing the political, cultural, social and
      economic freedoms and strong challenge against unlawfulness.


21-   Building and extension the primary, secondary and high schools

      and religious educationalcenters in the provinces and districts.


22-   Equipping the educational religious centers, faculties, high
      schools and dormitories with the laboratories, internet and
      library.


23-  Creation of thorough cooperation and coordination between
     governmental and private educational institutions.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Summary of incomplete goals of Dr. Ramazan Bashar Dost, independent
            presidential candidate of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan


              Supporter of the religion, state and nation

                  ان الله لایغیرما بقوم حتی یغیروا ما بانفسهم


                                                                   Translation:

         Verily, never will Allah change the condition of people unless they change it themselves



Dear fellow countrywomen and countrymen;

Consultation is one of the basic principles in Islam. Therefore, according to my deep believe on this principle and understanding and awareness of our brave but hurt nation, through TV announcement, website and interviews I have requested from the people of Afghanistan to cooperate in the following regards:

1.        To introduce the vices-president

2.        To set out the presidential policy

3.        To provide the budget for conducting the presidential campaign.

Based on the suggestions made by the Afghan people, living in and out of the country, hereby, the incomplete draft of our goals is provided for you through website, poster, visit card and CD. I appreciate cooperation of my fellow countrywomen and countrymen in regard to preparation of these goals and hope you will continue such effective and worthwhile cooperation. I wish that by broad participation of people, my presidential goals and policy can completely, clearly, practically and timely be prepared and availed for the people.

Security, economic, political, social and cultural goals have correlations with one another as cycles of a chain and achieving to one of them without taking other parts into account is not possible; for example making a secure and stable Afghanistan is possible at a time when political, economic, social and…justice be implemented.

Symbols and emblems namely Kalemaye Tayyeba, dove, hand and a plate full of palue with gravy are not electoral emblems, but they are only campaign insignias and signs that are launched from religion and ended to the world, namely, both the religion and world of the people should be taken into account: we should be supporter of values, ideals and religious and worldly aspirations of the people: to defend from their religious values (Kalemaye Tayyeba), to bring the peace and security (dove), to equalize and unify all people of Afghanistan to insure the national interest (two hands together, plaue and gravy for all (a plate full of plaue with gravey).

Today, a minority is fed up with having plaue with gravy and is about to burst; while the majority is strange with plaue and gravy and is starving.

Afghanistan is standing on his head, but I want to make him stand on his foot.

                                                      To achieve this goal:

1-     Bringing the security at all costs and eradication of war roots and causes.

2-     Prosecuting the oppressors and criminals and kicking them out of government.

3-     Creation and training of a special commando for elimination of domestic and
       foreigner foes.


4-     Clearing the army and police from traitor and non-vocational individuals.

5-     Clearing the state institutions from non-vocational and corrupt elements.

6-     Recruiting all public service officials based on the virtue, commitment, experience
       and expertise.


7-     Giving the right of priority to agriculture, industry and safe environment.

8-     Construction of big dams for reserving water and bringing all lands and deserts
       under cultivation.


9-     Proper and professional use of mines and absolute prevention from extracting the
       mines for personal, tribal and group-related interests.


10-  Provision of energy, land and water for all people, in particular, for agricultural and
       industrial producers.


11-  Removal of concur test by establishment of universities, vocational training
      institutions and dormitories in all provinces and districts.


12- The minimum salary of 7,000 Afghani per month for Mawlawies, Mullah Imams,
      school teachers and public service officials and putting an end to extravagant
      dollar and Afghani salaries.


13-  The minimum salary of 5,000 Afghani for the servants of the holy mosques,
      disabled and handicapped persons, martyrs’ survivors, jobless mujahids who have
      been brought under DDR program, pensioners, widows and the hired workers.


14-  Distribution of land to returnees, disabled and handicapped persons, martyr’s
       survivors, Mawlawies, Mullah Imams, school teachers, journalists, university
       teachers, public service officials, hired workers, mujahids, the militaries brought
       under DDR program and helping for building house.


15-  Ensuring and safeguarding the national interest of Afghanistan should be the only
       criteria for making (friendly or hostile) relations with the neighboring countries and
       other countries of the world.


16-  Elimination of illiteracy through particular cooperation of Mawlawies, Mullah Imams of
       the holy mosques, teachers and by using modern equipments.


17-  To dissolve the thief NGOs, and support the civil society.

18-  The balanced economic, social, cultural and political development.

19-  Thorough exemption of tax; and security and financial safety for investment, in
       particular, manufacturing investment.


20-  Ensuring and developing the political, cultural, social and economic freedoms and
       strong challenge against unlawfulness.


21-  Building and extension the primary, secondary and high schools and religious
       educational centers in the provinces and districts.


22-  Equipping the educational religious centers, faculties, high schools and dormitories
       with the laboratories, internet and library.


23-  Creation of thorough cooperation and coordination between governmental and
       private educational institutions.


24-  To stop reduction of public service officials.

25-  To ban extravagant salaries, luxury automobiles and expensive furniture in the
       governmental offices.


26-  To build clinics and hospitals in the districts and provinces.
 
27-  To provide the improved seeds, fertilizer, tractor and other modern agricultural
       equipments for farmers.


28-  To construct big warehouses to reserve the cereals and fruits.

29-  To create markets and provide a ground for selling the fruits.

30-  To eliminate any kind of discrimination, oppression and violence, especially,
       against children and women.


31-  Full respect of human and national rights and integrity of all citizens of
      Afghanistan regardless of tribal, language-related, ethnical, gender-based,
      regional, group-related, ideological, religious and … discrimination.


32-  To eliminate heavy and non-economical taxes.

33-  To remove tax on the Afghanistan exports.

34-  To increase the tax on the import of luxurious materials and goods.

35-  To build roads, airports and railways across the country.
 
36-  To use domestic products and definitely banning the damping, hoarding and
       monopolization.


37-  To develop and grow the sporting activities, in particular, in the high schools,
       universities and sport clubs.


38-  To construct big stadiums for national and international competitions and
      distribution of land for the national sporting heroes.


39-  To solve visa-related problems and visa extension for students, traders and
       migrants.


40-  Scholarship and health insurance for teachers, university and school students,
       disabled and the deprived orphans.


41-  To activate and develop health insurance and natural and unnatural disasters’
       insurance.


42-  To pay strong attention to quality of food and the dormitory rooms.

43-  Prevention from abuse of assistances of international community.

44-  To ensure and encourage individual and collective initiatives in the economic,
       cultural, political and social parts.


45-  To change the consumer Afghanistan to manufacturer Afghanistan.

46-  To amend or cancel the international conventions and covenants that are
      contrary to national interest of Afghanistan, especially in regard to migrants,
      water and mines through relying on the procedures and possibilities of
      international rights.


47-  To defend the rights of citizens of Afghanistan who are residents out of the
       country, migrants, students, traders and tourists.


48-  To establish a special and mobile court for urgent settlement of legal problems
       related to land and house usurpation.


49-  Fundamental amendment of the Constitution.

50-  Fundamental changes in the structure of the state.

________________________________________________________________________





 "I'll talk to Taliban":

Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi: 
Afghan presidential hopeful


By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters)


Afghan President Hamid Karzai lacks a coherent policy on holding peace talks with the Taliban, a former minister said on Monday, vowing to make the issue a top priority if he is elected to replace Karzai.

Security in Afghanistan has worsened more than seven years after U.S.-led forces overthrew the  Taliban and the solution for ending the conflict was to hold talks with the insurgents, said former finance minister Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi.

"I think that the government, in this regard, has not been open enough and has not articulated its strategy well. The president, at times, makes contradictory statements," Ahadi said.

"If I win the election, I will be more than happy to talk to them (insurgents). As long as their demands are reasonable, we can hope to reach a political settlement," he told Reuters in an interview in his refurbished two-storey house in Kabul.

Ahadi, who like most of the Taliban is an ethnic Pashtun, said he would press the radical Islamists to accept direct elections as a means to choose a government and set up a tolerant Islamic administration allowing women the right to work and vote.

Ahadi, a clean-shaven professor of economics and political science, is a close relative of one of the country's two main spiritual leaders who hold great influence, especially in the south and east where the insurgency is most entrenched.

Ahadi, who lived and worked in the West for many years, leads Afghanistan's oldest and largest nationalist Pashtun party.

"As a normal citizen, I don't really have the means to reach them (insurgents). As they are armed opponents, it is not easy for me to just call them up and say 'listen, let us have a discussion'," Ahadi said.

"I am sure they must have some terms of their own. There is a basis for negotiation. I would be willing to accept some of their terms, but I need to know what terms they want," he said.

The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until their ouster in 2001, have rejected Karzai's repeated calls for peace talks as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan.

KARZAI'S LEGITIMACY

Ahadi said Karzai, who is planning to run for re-election, must resign and a caretaker government be formed by May 21, the date set by the constitution for the presidential vote.

Ahadi, 58, quit his post as finance minister this month after four years in order to run in the election, which has been set for August 20 by the election commission appointed by Karzai.

The commission argued that the poll could not be held in May because it would have to be organized during the harsh Afghan winter, when remote areas are cut off by snow and many people would be disenfranchised.

Karzai, Afghanistan's leader since the Taliban's ouster and who won elections in 2004, said this month he was unsure whether his term in office legally ended in August and was working on ensuring his government's legitimacy.
Ahadi has joined the growing chorus of opposition parties saying an interim government is the only answer because institutions in Afghanistan, like the election commission, were not truly independent.

"That is why they are asking for his departure before the election and I think there is truth in it. There is a great deal of abuse of power and using state institutions for personal ends," Ahadi said.

"I think that it would be really good if we had a caretaker administration that is truly neutral so that the contenders could really contest in these elections in a transparent manner."

Ahadi also said foreign troops, under NATO and the U.S. military's command in Afghanistan, must exercise great caution to cut civilian casualties while hunting militants. Such casualties have sapped support for foreign forces and the government.

He said he hoped foreign troops would leave Afghanistan once the process of training and equipping the Western-reliant Afghan forces finishes in 2012.

(Editing by Paul Tait)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Two views on Obama’s handling of Karzai

Picture

Reuters Blogs

(Reuters photos: Karzai with President Obama and Vice President Biden. Photos by Yuri Gripas and Jonathan Ernst)


Posted by:
Myra MacDonald

With President Hamid Karzai now looking all but unassailable in Afghanistan’s August election, two articles out this week - one from Washington and the other from India - offer mirror-image analyses of President Barack Obama’s handling of the Afghan leader. They should really be read as companion pieces since both offer insights into the workings of the Obama administration and the complexities of Afghan politics.  Reading both together also highlights how different the world looks depending on your perspective, whether writing from America or Asia.

According to this article in the Washington Post by Rajiv Chandrasekaran (highlighted by Joshua Foust at Registan.net) the Obama administration had decided to keep Karzai at arm’s length. It says Obama’s advisers faulted former President George W. Bush for forging too personal a relationship with Karzai through bi-weekly video conferences and as a result creating such cosiness that it became hard for his administration to put pressure on the Afghan government.

“It was a conversation. It was a dialogue. It was a lot of ‘How are you doing? How is your son?’” it quotes a senior U.S. government official who attended some of the sessions as saying. “Karzai sometimes placed his infant son on his lap during the conversations.”

“Obama’s advisers have crafted a two-pronged strategy that amounts to a fundamental break from the avuncular way President George W. Bush dealt with the Afghan leader,” the report said.  ”Obama intends to maintain an arm’s-length relationship with Karzai in the hope that it will lead him to address issues of concern to the United States, according to senior U.S. government officials. The administration will also seek to bypass Karzai by working more closely with other members of his cabinet and by funnelling more money to local governors.”

Retired Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, has a rather different reading on the wisdom of the Obama administration’s approach. In this article in the Asia Times Online, headlined What Obama could learn from Karzai, (highlighted by Marie-France Calle on her French-language blog), he says the Americans allowed themselves to be outmanoeuvred by the Afghan President by keeping him at arms-length.

“In retrospect, United States President Barack Obama did a great favour to Afghan President Hamid Karzai by excluding him from his charmed circle of movers and shakers who would wield clout with the new administration in Washington,” he writes. “Obama was uncharacteristically rude to Karzai by not even conversing with him by telephone for weeks after he was sworn in, even though Afghanistan was the number one policy priority of his presidency.”

But Karzai, he says, had the last laugh, as the opprobrium heaped upon him by the west raised his standing in Afghan eyes. Karzai had been able to manoeuvre himself into a strong position through weeks of Afghan-style backroom negotiations, capped by a decision by a popular candidate to pull out of the election race.

“The Afghan experience with democracy offers a good lesson for Obama: it is best to keep a discreet distance and leave the Afghans to broker power-sharing on their own terms, according to their own ethos and tradition,” he writes. “However, Obama has a long way to go in imbibing the lessons of democracy in the Hindu Kush …”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Will Bashardost be an Obama for Afghanistan?!!

Picture
Monday, November 24, 2008

                           

Ramazan Bashardost currently a Hazara MP in the lower house and the former minister of planning who has officially announced his candidature in the presidential election 2009, seem to run more hopeful than the other presumptive candidates for the presidential seat because of his popularity among the Afghan people of different ethnics.

Dr. Ramazan Bashardost’s popularity is not only limited to the Hazaras the ethnic he belongs to, but different people of Afghanistan like him and support him since he has appeared on the political ground of Afghanistan with a nation wide slogan of;
               “No ethnic is better than the other; every one should be considered for justice”.
First he belongs to an ethnic that has suffered discriminations and prejudice for years in Afghanistan while there are other specific characteristics regarding him that make the people hopeful for him;
He has a PHD in the Law and political science from France*
He has served as minister of planning in the transitional administration of Afghanistan in 2004- 2005

He has been serving as an elected member of the parliament in the lower house since the establishment of the recent Parliament of Afghanistan

He has been the main critic of the policies and the functioning of the current administration for supporting the warlords, promoting the admin corruption and lack of attention to the poor and lower class category people of the society.

He has been the main critic of Karzai on his wrong economic planning and strategies

In 2004-05 when he was the minister of planning, he suspended licenses of more than one thousand national and international NGOs in Afghanistan who were accused of embezzlement and annulled some of them And like Obama he has been emphasizing on the transparency in the governmental offices, policies and strategies.

Considering Ramazan Bashardost’s transparent struggle against the admin corruption in Afghanistan and the need and expectation of the Afghans for a real change in the current situation of Afghanistan, millions of the Afghans think that Ramazan Bashardost could be the real man in the coming electoral campaign to win and bring changes in the country.

                                                  زبان دراز   voice of criticism:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                       

                Afghan Politicians Voice

            Support For August Election


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


 March 06, 2009


KABUL -- The opposition National Front and some potential candidates in Afghanistan's next presidential election say they support the Independent Election Commission's announcement to hold the election on August 20, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.
Previously, President Hamid Karzai had issued a decree saying that the election should be held in April, the same month that his term is set to end. The head of the opposition party, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Finance Ministers Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi and Ashraf Ghani, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, and some parliamentarians held a press conference on March 4 in Kabul and gave their support for the August election date. Abdullah called on Karzai to step down during the interim period between the end of his term and the election. Presidential palace spokesman Humayun Hamidzada told RFE/RL that Karzai supports the commission's decision on the date of the election but notes there is no mention in the Afghan Constitution of a transitional or caretaker government before such a vote.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Picture

Even With Afghan Presidential Vote Delay, Race Already Taking Shape.










               
Potential challengers to President Hamid Karzai now have three more months to prepare.

January 29, 2009 By Abubakar Siddique

His formal title may be president, but to many Afghans the ruler living in Kabul's Arg Palace is still "bacha" or "padshah" -- "king" in Pashto and Dari, respectively. But even after the announcement that the presidential election will be delayed by several months, dozens of potential candidates have already unofficially announced their intention to dethrone Hamid Karzai.

The presidential polls, following a decision by the Independent Election CHis formal title may be president, but to many Afghans the ruler living in Kabul's Arg Palace is still "bacha" or "padshah" -- "king" in Pashto and Dari, respectively. But even after the announcement that the presidential election will be delayed by several months, dozens of potential candidates have already unofficially announced their intention to dethrone Hamid Karzai.

The presidential polls, following a decision by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, will now be ommission of Afghanistan, will now be held on August 20. Under the Afghan Constitution, they were to take place a month before Karzai's term expires on May 22, but a loophole allowing for postponement in the event of inadequate security will give the incumbent at least three more months in office.

Farid Afghanzai, who heads the external-relations department of the Election Commission, says 4 million new voters have been added to the 12 million on the rolls for the last presidential election in 2004. And voter registration in the four insurgency-plagued southern provinces of Kandahar, Oruzgan, Helmand, and Nimroz began just last week.

Despite some opposition calls for the elections to be held in spring as originally planned, preparations that were already in full swing -- such as voter registration -- will simply be extended, and potential newcomers to the presidential office will have more time to get their names out.

Wide Range Of Candidates

A number of presidential hopefuls have already unofficially begun their campaigns both at home and abroad. Sources tell RFE/RL that 14 of them have spent time in the United States lobbying U.S. officials in Washington and courting members of the Afghan diaspora in Virginia and California.

Election Commission representative Afghanzai says that anyone who wants to officially join the race "should be Afghan and should only possess Afghan citizenship. They should be Muslim and must have Afghan parents."

Potential candidates also need to provide copies of 10,000 voter-registration cards to show popular support.

A majority of the known contenders are former and current senior members of the Karzai cabinet who can meet those conditions. However, a doctor in the Czech Republic, a magazine publisher in Germany, and an Afghan satellite television anchor in California might find them challenging.

In what he calls "a remarkable learning experience," a former World Bank executive and finance minister, Ashraf Ghani, has spent the last two years laying the groundwork for a presidential run by meeting with voters across the country.

Ghani has been quoted as saying he is "seriously considering" entering the contest, because he feels the Karzai government has lost its legitimacy. "We need a government that reflects our aspirations and in turn is based on our capabilities and desires and is accountable," he told RFE/RL recently.

Another former Karzai cabinet colleague is holding his cards close to his chest. Former Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali has said that "I am weighing my options" and he would make a decision soon.

Jalali, who is currently a distinguished professor at the Near East South Asia Center of Washington's National Defense University, sheds some light on those options. "I am trying to see if I can make a difference, if I can enlist the support of people and relevant groups in Afghanistan," he says. "Because in Afghanistan, you have to have a very good team and also support of people who can make -- bring changes in order to make a difference."

U.S.-Backed Candidate

Potential candidates may seek to cash in on the growing perception that there is a widening gulf between President Karzai and the new U.S. administration.

South Asia expert Marvin Weinbaum acknowledges that the mood in Washington appears to be swinging against Karzai, but he also notes that "the U.S. recognizes that any overt support of a candidate probably would be counterproductive to that candidate's chances in Afghanistan."

"People here in Washington are taking careful note of the fact that Karzai both is saying things which are undermining our mission in Afghanistan, and at the same time that there is growing opposition to him within Afghanistan," Weinbaum says. "[The] question is: Will the various candidates be able to get United States support in opposing Karzai?"

Weinbaum suggests that Washington now wants to back an open political process and let the Afghans decide who they want as their next leader. "Still, many people in Afghanistan believe that the United States, in spite of everything, stands with Karzai," he says. "We have to -- in a subtle way -- be able to suggest that we are not committed to one person. But that we want to see an open political process, in which, a consensus candidate can emerge."

That is exactly what many Karzai opponents are looking for back in Kabul. Lawmaker Ramzan Bashardost, once a minister in Karzai's cabinet, is now a leading Karzai critic who long ago announced his intention to run against him. He says that the international community appears to be backing open elections in Afghanistan. And that, he thinks, bodes well for his country.

"The only way for the salvation of Afghanistan are free and fair elections. The people of Afghanistan are aware and they are conscious [of their rights] and they possess [political] wisdom," Bashardost says. "They know what is in their interests and their interests are not in conflict with those of the international community, America in particular."

Although Karzai himself has yet to officially announce his presidential bid, his supporters are confident that, based on his past achievements, he will make a strong case before the Afghan electorate when it heads to the ballot box.

Karzai spokesman Hamayun Hamidzada recently reiterated the president's support for a democratic process. "It's up to the people of Afghanistan to decide, who should represent them and who should be their leaders," he told RFE/RL.

Afghan are hoping to see intense campaigning in the spring and summer, but as the snows melt, they are also concerned about a sharp spike in violence.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents Helena Malikyar, Asmatullah Sarwan, and Hamid Mohmand contributed to this report.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Karzai rivals demand he step down

 

Press TV / March 6, 2009

Afghan rival presidential candidates have indicated that President Hamid Karzai should stand down when his term ends in May, 2009. Abdullah Abdullah, who served as Karzai's foreign minister, said the country's political forces would be able to agree on
an interim president, Reuters reported Thursday. "But the first thing is that he has to agree that that is necessary and then to find a solution," Abdullah said, adding that "That will be a credit for him, that will be credit for Afghans as well." Many of Karzai's rivals worry the president is preparing to use the power of government to manipulate the poll in his favor. Abdullah said he was being urged to stand as the candidate of
the United National Front, a coalition of political parties in northern Afghanistan. However, Karzai has rejected the opposition's demand for an interim government.
"The president wants the stability and legitimacy of the system to be preserved, and will not take an action contrary to the constitution," a president spokesman said. Afghanistan has been plunged into a constitutional crisis over the election date.

Karzai has called for polls to be held by April 21, four months earlier than the date set by the country's electoral commission. The president issued a decree for elections "according to the constitution", which says the vote, should be held 30 to 60 days before his term ends on May 21. The Afghan Independent Elections Commission (IEC) had announced in early January that elections would be held by August 20. IEC chief, Azizullah Ludin, said that August 20 was chosen for the presidential polls after consultations with the US-led forces. "They told us there will be new security forces here... and they will guarantee security." In recent months, Karzai has been criticized by US President Barack Obama's administration for failing to crack down on alleged corruption in his government. Karzai has also repeatedly lashed out at the US-led forces in Afghanistan over the issue of civilian deaths and their unbearable attitude toward public and local culture. Afghanistan continues to experience attacks and suicide bombings by al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who were ousted from power in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan 2001.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

           Karzai 'stands by poll decision'

By Martin Vennard

BBC News / Friday, 6 March 2009

The President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has stood by his decision that the presidential election should go ahead next month.

This is despite the Election Commission's insistence the poll should be delayed till August.

But a spokesman said Mr Karzai might be prepared to compromise if an agreement could be reached on what should happen when his term of office ends in May.

The commission wants the delay for security and logistical reasons.

Interim

Mr Karzai's spokesman told the BBC that the president still wanted the poll in April.

But he said the president, parliament and the Supreme Court could agree to postpone the poll to August.

"If the issue goes to parliament and if the position of parliament changes and if the Supreme Court finds legal solutions, I think the president won't continue to insist that the elections take place in April."

One of the possible solutions could be the calling of a loya jirga - a meeting of tribal elders and leaders.

They would decide who would run the country after Mr Karzai's term of office ends in May.

Mr Karzai could also ask parliament to declare a state of emergency, allowing him to stay on as interim president.

Another possibility is the chairman of the upper house of parliament taking over the presidency temporarily.

The crisis was brought about after the Election Commission in January said the vote should be put back to August because the security situation and weather prevented a spring election.

Opponents of Mr Karzai said he should step down in May, but Mr Karzai said the elections should go ahead in April, in line with the constitution.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Key meeting on next steps for elections in Afghanistan

Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

Date: 19 Jan 2009


The United Nations, international embassies, donors and Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission met in Kabul today to ascertain support needs for the country's 2009 presidential and provincial council elections.

The meeting was jointly chaired by the United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide and the Chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Dr. Azizullah Ludin.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting the UN's SRSG Kai Eide said: "Today we start a new phase of turning the ambitions that we have into reality." He added: "The constitution of Afghanistan in 2004 placed the realisation of democracy at the heart of this country's purpose."

In the past three months 3.4 million Afghans have registered to vote. The fourth phase of voter registration begins in the south of the country on Tuesday.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) is leading the registration process with support from UNDP's ELECT project. The UNDP project aims to ensure support for the delivery of the presidential election in 2009 and the parliamentary elections in 2010, a sustainable and self-reliant IEC and an engaged electorate able to make informed choices at the elections.

"The IEC has already demonstrated its commitment and its competence in meeting the challenges of this election process. Our experience demonstrates that very often the second time elections take place are often more difficult than the first, but they are also more important for consolidating the democratic process and institutions," said the UN's Kai Eide.

Eide also noted that the transition from elections run by the international community to a wholly Afghan body "is happening faster here than we have seen in many conflict and post-conflict situations that we have seen in other parts of the world. That is very good and gives us optimism." He added: "No one under estimates the challenges of holding elections amid continuing insecurity but nor should we fail to recognise the importance of elections themselves for stability."

The IEC's Dr. Azizullah Ludin said: "Elections are no longer a luxury for Afghanistan. They are a prerequisite for the rule of law, for the strengthening of our democratic institutions, for stabilization and development." He added: "Now is a great opportunity for the people of Afghanistan to cast their votes for the rule of law in the country and their own prosperity and welfare."

At today's meeting the UN special Representative stressed that of vital importance to the elections were an electoral complaints commission, media commission, a candidate vetting process and independent monitoring by Afghan and international organizations and civil society.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Karzai's Opponents Slam Supreme Court Ruling As 'Unconstitutional

Picture
Karzai's Opponents Slam Supreme Court Ruling As 'Unconstitutional'

Karzai has not officially stated whether he will seek another term in office



March 30, 2009

By Farangis Najibullah

Afghanistan's Supreme Court has ruled that President Hamid Karzai, whose term officially ends in late May, should remain in office until a new leader is elected in August presidential polls.

The decision has provoked an outcry from Karzai's opponents. Afghanistan's main opposition grouping, the National Front, on March 30 called the decision unacceptable and unconstitutional.

Other critics have suggested that Karzai could abuse his position in office, giving him an unfair advantage in the August 20 presidential election.

National Front spokesman Sayeed Fazel Sancharaki told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the court decision was made "under pressure."

"Prolongation of the government is...yet another breach of the constitution," he said. "As far as we are concerned, as of May 21 the president, presidential deputies, and cabinet minister will not have legitimacy in their positions."

Responding to the opposition criticism, presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada called on Afghans to respect the high court ruling.

"In a democratic system, in a system which is governed by the rule of law, we have to respect views of our highest legal institutions," Hamidzada said. "And we invite all our friends, brothers, and sisters to accept the Supreme Court decision. This decision has been made for the sake of stability in the country, for the sake of preparation for proper elections."

Karzai's five-year term officially ends on May 21, and according to Afghanistan's constitution, presidential elections should be held 30 to 60 days before a presidential term expires.

However, citing logistical and security concerns and difficult weather conditions, Afghanistan's election authorities postponed the next presidential elections until August 20.

That decision has been backed by Afghanistan's international donors, but left open the question of who would lead the country until the election date. Opposition politicians have insisted that they will not recognize Karzai's presidency after May 21, and have suggested a caretaker could be appointed to fill the role of president from May 21 to August 20.

Karzai's popularity has been damaged in recent months amid an ongoing insurgency and widespread corruption allegations against the government.

Karzai, who was elected in 2004, has yet to officially announce his intention to run for another presidential term.

Among his potential challengers are former cabinet ministers Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and Ali Ahmad Jalali.

The presidential election will be the second held in Afghanistan since the hard-line Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan contributed to this report.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to top

برگشت به صفحه نخست MY blog