Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Afghan Elections Mess

The Afghan elections of 2014 have turned into a fiasco. ISAF and the international community projected a lot of optimism in early 2014 about how the Afghans have taken charge of their destiny. The Afghans ran their own election with minimal observers and little ISAF involvement (was this the fatal flaw?). The initial election held on April 5, 2014 ran well with a lot of candidates running for office. Everyone patted each other on the back with how well security was maintained by the ANSF and the large voter turnout.

The runoff election held in June 2014 proved to be another matter with accusations of election fraud by the camps of both candidates (Ghani and Abdullah). The tabulation of the votes from the runoff election has been fraught with delays, accusations of fraud, resignation of the head of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), and other problems. The vote count of the runoff election was finally concluded on September 5th; however Abdullah says he will not recognize the validity of the results.

The inauguration of the new president of Afghanistan has been scheduled and postponed a number of times. The uncertainty of the election results have dampened the Afghan economy and increased the insecurity within Afghanistan. President Karzai, taking the high road (although he is the "election fraudster in charge"), is urging both candidates to come to an agreement on some type of power-sharing arrangement. Secretary of State John Kerry has been investing (to no good effect) time and effort in resolving the electoral impasse with hopes of establishing a unity government.

In the meantime the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) awaits signature (along with the corresponding SOFA agreements), ISAF awaits word on whether to transition to Resolute Support or simply leave, billions of foreign aid proposals stand by for use, and operational planners are contemplating troops levels of 9,800 (U.S.) or the zero option come December 2014. The Afghans have taken a golden opportunity and squandered it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.