The war-worn and weary Afghan people go to the polls tomorrow for a national election amidst Taliban scare tactics and a weak central government unable to comprehend the inevitable.
In October 2004,Â Moqadasa Sidiqi (left), was the first Afghan to cast a ballot in the first national election post-Taliban, but she did so in Pakistan, where she and her family had fled in 1992.
This week’s election, however, is into complete fraud: Somebody even registered U.S. pop star Britney Spears to vote in Thursday’s presidential election — copies of her card were widely emailed and, for a while, pinned up in a Kabul hotel bar.
(Illustration found here).
In order to create some semblance of an election, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) will reportedly have aÂ staggering 250,000 people around the country observing the ballot process, and will man the 6,000 polling stations to help the average Afghan vote without dying or being shot to bits.
Human Rights Watch reported security is “considerably worse than during the last elections,” with at least 13 political killings and at least 10 abductions of electoral commission officials, candidates and campaign workers.
Attempting to play down the violence, the Afghan government took a page from other nations’ playbooks and ordered a ban on reporting incidents this week — the news blackout didn’t seem to register, however, as this morning “insurgents” struck a bank in Kabul: With shots and explosions from the bank assault heard across the city centre it was impossible to suppress the news of the incident. But there has been no coverage of other events, including a rocket which landed in Kabul’s district eight.
And on top of all the violent shit, Afghanistan’s current president, Hamid Karzai — who is corrupt and useless as they come — brougt back an old buddy, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, the leader of an Uzbek militia, from out of exile in Turkey to campaign for him.
Dostum, if you recall, is one nasty-faced killer and is under investigation for the massacre of more than 2,000 Taliban prisoners in November 2001 and had to flee the country.
No politics involved, Dostum proclaimed, justÂ a helping hand for his people.
“I have no personal agreement with Karzai,” Dostum told Reuters at his ostentatious pink and blue palace in Shiberghan.
He said he was a member of a political party that had already decided to back Karzai, and that his decision to return was intended to increase turnout in the election.
“The people … they became somewhat sick while I was away … I heard them say, ‘If General Dostum doesn’t come here, we won’t vote’,” Dostum told Reuters.
“I thought, God forbid people don’t vote, so I came here to make sure that people vote,” he said.
Oh, that’s so sweet and thoughtful.
President Obama has tied the feet of US peoples with a huge brick and thrown them into the bottomless pit that is Afghanistan, and in the long run, the situation will become worse than Iraq, if that’s possible.
Even now, Obama’s handpicked commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, doesn’t have a clue on what to do next — the big, new operation last month in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan has turned out to be a terrible bust.
From Lara Logan of CBS:
We were crouched down in a field, the earth steaming with the heat of the sun and the air thick with humidity. Two Marines were kneeling down beside me.
“All we’ve done since we got here is get blown up,” one of them said. And then they started to talk.
On a patrol exactly like this one a few days ago in southern Helmand province, they had been walking along the canal. One of their Marines stepped on a relatively small explosive device hidden in the ground, most likely a landmine.
The problem was, that mine was linked to a bigger explosive device in a deadly daisy chain that did not miss its mark. The Marine who was walking behind was hit by the bigger, secondary explosion.
We ran as soon as we heard it go off but when we got to the canal the only thing that was there was his body armor. He was nowhere,” they told me, “just gone.”
So they started to search. Some distance away, they found their friend’s arm, his watch still attached.
“I just cannot get that picture out of my head, I keep seeing it, his arm just lying there with his watch. I can’t stop seeing it.”
It was hours later when they found the rest of him. It would take much longer for the shock to wear off, and the fear to subside.
The terrain in Helmand is as relentless as the enemy. The heat burns into your body, tearing you down bit by bit. There is no shade, no shelter from the sun. The earth soaks up the warmth like an oven and spits it back at you when you come to the end of the day. A clinging, soaking humidity that wraps itself in a sickly blanket around your body.
These are the skinniest Marines I have ever seen, and I’ve been in some rough places with Marines, like Ramadi in Iraq, where more Americans died than any other part of the country.
But here, I stare in amazement — and some horror — at the uniforms hanging off their lean bodies. There isn’t an inch of excess anywhere. Every uniform is worn thin and faded, hanging off wily frames that still manage to haul over a hundred pounds of gear and weapons and patrol for miles.
This is a farce, a dangerous, ugly farce.
Even says voter registrantÂ Britney Spears…
It’s getting late
To give you up
I took a sip
From my devil cup
It’s taking over me…
Never mind the ancient Greeks, the British and the Soviets — Oops…I did it again.
As early as last May, the country’s independent election monitoring organisation, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), had documented a suite of voter registration practices that laid the groundwork for massive voter fraud.
FEFA observers, who observed voter registration in 194 of 400 voting registration centres in four provinces during one stage of the process, found that nearly 20 percent of the voters registered, on average, were under age â€“ in many cases as young as 12 years old.
It is now estimated that 17 million voter registration cards have been issued, which means that nearly 3.5 million cards may have been issued to children.
FEFA observers also found rampant distribution of multiple voting cards. During the third phase of registration, they observed at least four incidents of such abuses in 85 percent of the centres. The voter registration staff was seen handing out cards even before applicants had been registered.
In one case, the FEFA observers saw about 500 voting cards being given to a single individual.
The Afghan election is whacked.