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Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a
number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your
own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the
reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.
Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
Predictions and stirrings re upcoming elections (Reuters, Paktribune, IWPR)
My note: AREU analysis (as reported by Reuters) seems unusually prescient if the Paktribune reports are true. Also, while Herat's economy may be "on the road to progress" thanks to Ismail Khan cf. Paktribune (of course this is also because Khan refuses to pay customs duties to the central government), the situation of women there is worse than it's ever been . . .
Elections could destabilize Afghanistan KABUL, Afghanistan, 11/23/2003 (Reuters) :: Afghanistan's Western-backed government could undermine itself if it goes ahead with elections planned in June despite ethnic tensions and growing security problems, an Afghan think-tank said on Saturday. The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) said in a report entitled "Afghan Elections: the Great Gamble" that holding elections while there remains a disaffected Pushtun ethnic majority and a resurgent Taliban in the south of the country could backfire on President Hamid Karzai. "The situation in Afghanistan is far from ideal and is unlikely to be so by the summer or fall of 2004," the report said. Critics of the US-backed Karzai say a draft constitution released earlier this month was drawn up in a hurry and ignored the will of the Afghan population. The document outlines a strong presidential system with little room for opposition, playing into the hands of the Western-backed interim leader expected to run for re-election. "The biggest risk is that holding elections prematurely could do more to promote instability and conflict rather than lasting peace," the AREU said. The report also said that Western donors may be tempted to leave the country after a vote took place. "Once elections are over, donors could feel 'off the hook' and use the elections as their premature exit strategy from Afghanistan," it said. Much of the country, especially in the south and east, remains off limits to aid agencies amid a comeback staged by Taliban guerrillas, who have engineered a kidnapping and a series of killings, including that of a French aid worker that have shocked the aid community. Western diplomats say that if an election is held in an atmosphere of uncertain security it runs the risk of being characterized as a farce. "Just as elections have the potential to be a catalyst for positive change, there is also a significant risk that elections held before key conditions are in place will actually do more harm than good," the report said. It warned of the danger of alienating the Pushtuns, who make up over one-third of the Afghan population but complain they are not adequately represented in the interim government. Karzai is a Pushtun, but minority Tajiks control many of the key security positions in government. "Elections with inadequate participation and representation of Pushtuns will undoubtedly have a politically destabilizing impact and will sow the seeds of more years of conflict," the report said.
Masood not to support Karzai in Presidential elections Monday December 01, 2003 (1525 PST) PakTribune.com KABUL, December 02 (Online): The Afghan Ambassador to Russia Ahmed Zia Masood has said that he would not support President Hamid Karzai, in the forthcoming Presidential elections rather Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani would be their candidate. Ahmed Zia told a Moscow based newspaper that they would not support Hamid Karzai in 2004 presidential elections. According to him, their candidate would be the former President, Rabbani. He made it clear that that they have made the decision in a meeting held in Kabul and attended by the Northern Alliance leaders, Professor Rabbani, Ismail Khan, Atta Muhammad, General Dostum, and Muhammad Younis Qanooni. The Afghan Envoy to Moscow said that political parties of the country still lacks masses support and only the leaders of movements enjoying support of the groups can field themselves as candidates in the elections. The Afghan diplomat said that Hamid Karzai enjoys support in the southern areas of Afghanistan but General Ismail Khan who is an influential political figure of the country can prove as a good Prime Minister for the economy of the war torn Afghanistan. He added that Ismail Khan could put the Afghan economy on road to progress like Herat.
Parties Risk Election Exclusion; A new law governing party
registration is being roundly ignored by Afghanistan's most powerful
By Samander Rahimullah and Danish Karokhel in Kabul
(ARR No. 85, 15-Dec-03)
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Only a handful of political parties have applied for official
registration since the introduction of a new law excluding those
associated with military factions.
Officials now warn that many powerful parties may lose the chance to
field candidates at next year's presidential elections and the 2005
parliamentary ballot if they continue to ignore the new law.
However, many of the leading political forces remain defiant. Waqef
Hakimi, a spokesperson for the Jamiat-e-Islami movement, told
IWPR, "A political party which has taken an active part in the fate
of the country during the last decade should not be required to
As well as ruling out parties with links to armed forces - which
would appear to exclude many jihadi parties - the law also excludes
those accused of "provoking ethnic tension", acting against Islam or
receiving money from foreign sources.
Justice ministry official Khan Mohammad told IWPR that since the
legislation came into effect nearly two months ago, only a few small,
newly-formed parties have shown an interest in registration.
All parties are required to submit their emblem, campaign slogans and
constitution, along with registration forms for a minimum 700
members, to the justice ministry's registration department.
As well as defiance, there is also widespread confusion over the
process and a fear of becoming involved in a bureaucracy still
largely dominated by conservative forces.
Just recently a well-known women's organisation had its offices
ransacked and membership lists stolen by armed men, making people
even more wary of filling in forms giving personal details.
The head of registration of political parties and social
organisations, Sayed Mohammad Quraishi, warned that even those who do
meet the criteria but fail to officially sign up risk missing out.
"They should get their parties registered by April or otherwise they
will not be authorised to nominate candidates [for election]," he
Sibghatullah Sanjar of the recently created Republican Party is one
of those who will be seeking to register. However, he told IWPR that
the registration process was being delayed as the justice ministry
was yet to set up a commission to approve applications.
Sayed Mohammad Quraishi denied this, saying that a five-member
commission led by Mohammad Qasem Hashimzai, an under-secretary at the
justice ministry, had been established and had met twice in the last
On the issue of parties simply refusing to register, Quraishi told
IWPR that the officials had to move with caution at this
stage. "Tough action is not the solution, but if this situation
persists in six months time their offices should be closed," he
Neverthless, the streets of Kabul are full of campaigning
unregistered parties such as the powerful jihadi groups - many of
which still have ties with armed groups - holding membership drives
and handing out promotion information.
Jamiat counts high officials - including the foreign, education and
defence ministers - among its members, and is known for its ties with
commanders including Atta Mohammad in Mazar-e Sharif and Ismail Khan
The party's spokesman Hakimi, who is dismissive of the new
legislation, insists that his party does not possess any sort of
military force or armed men.
Enayatullah Baligh, head of secretariat for Ittehad-e-Islami, another
powerful political grouping led by Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, also says
that he doesn't see any point in the process.
"We don't need to register. The Bonn Accord came about as the result
of efforts by these parties [the seven principal jihadi parties]…
Ittehad-e-Islami existed before the birth of [the current] interim
He agreed that political parties should not be armed – and insisted
that his was not, "Ittehad-e Islami has handed over all their
military formations to the government across Afghanistan…We had arms
as long as it was needed, [but] now we should serve the people and
render cultural services."
One party that is seeking to register is the Mutahed Milli Hezb -
National United Party - whose leader and founder Noorul Haq Uloomi is
well-known for his past involvement with communist parties.
The justice ministry has recently banned communist groups from being
allowed to register, but Uloomi denies that his new party is one.
Far from criticising the new law, Uloomi argues that the criteria
should have been stricter. "Our objection is that the number [of
members should have been raised from] 700 to 7,000. Afghanistan
requires fewer parties, not [many small ones]," he said.
Samander Rahimullah and Danish Karokhel are IWPR editors in Kabul.
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.