Some Jumbled Thoughts on Afghan Politics.
Although at the moment there is plenty of back slapping going on in Kabul, and even the Australian PM sending their regards to Karzai, I think that might turn out to be a big political mistake in the long term.
Karzai is damage goods, and whilst we can’t be sure of his own level of corruption there are many stories of his various relatives doing well, out of the Presidency, directly or indirectly.
But the problem then becomes, if not Karzai then whom? And that’s not clear by any means.
I don’t think anyone should count out Abdullah Abdullah, he’s made a rather shrewd decision not to contest the second round of a failed election process. In choosing not to fight the next round he remains undefeated, untainted by corruption and always a potential shoe in should something bad happen to Karzai.
Politics in Afghanistan is further complicated by the very varied ethnic mix of the country.
Holding together a country such as Afghanistan would be difficult under any circumstances, but still more so with a weak centralised regime, who’s remit does not run throughout the country, has questions of corruption hanging over it and the murderous campaign of the Taliban further complicating matters.
It might just be possible for the second term Karzai administration to pull things back, however that would require a broader political consensus and that seems unlikely given the recent fraud in the Presidential elections.
If the Karzai administration can dramatically improve the infrastructure, build roads, schools, along with providing jobs for Afghans then that might undercut the Taliban campaign, but it’s a bit of a long shot.
All of this has largely come about by the West’s negligence in the past eight years and it is rather questionable whether or not the irons can be pulled out of the fire at this late stage.
I do hope so for the sake of the Afghans, a return to Taliban rule would be an unmitigated catastrophe.