Socialist Worker

Still no real democracy in Afghanistan

Issue No. 1971

Almost four years after the “liberation” of Afghanistan, the country’s interior minister has resigned. The reason he cited was the continued control exercised by “local leaders” — warlords who fought in Afghanistan’s long civil war — across much of the country.

Most are funded by proceeds of the opium trade which has flourished in the country since the fall of the Taliban.

The world’s press referred to elections held earlier in September as a major step forward for the country. But the elections, to a body with extremely limited power, made a mockery of democracy.

None of the 5,800 candidates on the ballot papers, which in the capital Kabul ran to seven pages, were allowed to run as members of a party.

Voters made choices that were at best arbitrary and at worst the product of coercion and bribery by the 150-plus warlords on the ballot papers.

Last week a mass grave containing over 300 corpses of fighters killed in the civil war were unearthed. Two of those standing in the election were implicated in the massacre.


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International
Sat 8 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1971
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