Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Why Karzai decided to attack the West

- (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

(REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

It was a strange or at least unusual event. Reuters, other news wires and mostly Afghan journalists were summoned to the presidential palace early in the morning. A frequent and very familiar routine of standing around, waiting and multiple security checks then started .

On this occasion, we were packed onto mini buses with blacked-out windows and told only that we would be leaving the palace and going “some place outside”. The guessing game ended when the buses, flanked by armored Land Cruisers and charging down a busy city highway, honking other vehicles out of the way,  turned into another building very familiar to reporters in Kabul: the Independent Election Commission (IEC).

It is not unusual for President Hamid Karzai to give press conferences elsewhere in Afghanistan (in other cities for instance) but I cannot recall a time when he addressed reporters in Kabul anywhere but the press room of his palace. Not knowing what was in store, I reminded myself it was also April Fool’s day.

We all agreed that we might get a response out of Karzai about the rejection of a presidential decree by the lower house of parliament and possibly something about the reforms that the U.N. has wanted of the IEC.

from Tales from the Trail:

Victory for Karzai, minefield for Obama?

Former President George W. Bush used to talk about the "soft bigotry of low expectations." He was talking about education in the United States.

But these days, that phrase could easily refer to the U.S. government's attitudes towards Afghanistan. Just look at the following phrases from American officials this year.

from Tales from the Trail:

Time to get tough on Afghan fraud, start with the message

What message does it send when the U.N. representative to Afghanistan says it will be impossible to eliminate fraud in the run-off election? AFGHANISTAN-ELECTION/

That's what Kai Eide admitted last week, adding, "what we will try to do, is to reduce the level of fraud."

Whither Afghanistan’s election?


a1The U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), made up mainly of Westerners, has published its findings into Afghanistan’s disputed, fraud-beset presidential poll.

Now Afghans must determine their political future using the bureaucratic legacy of lists and numbers the ECC has left behind.