Provisional results show that President Hamid Karzai has emerged victorious from the controversial and violence ridden elections in Afghanistan. The elections were marred by widespread allegations of fraud, violence and irregularities.
The elections were never going to bring relief to the Afghanistan people. It was always going to be the case that a puppet government similar to the previous one would be elected with even less room to make meagre concessions to ordinary people.
Karzai’s web of alliances with warlords, religious leaders and tribal chiefs in the North, North Western and Central provinces allowed him to outdo Abdullah Abdullah his nearest rival and one of the US’s favoured candidates.
Seven years of so called democratic rule have failed miserably to weaken the warlords. Hard-line religious groups and tribal chiefs still rule the show. Karzai has the support of the most feared and notorious warlords in the country. These include the notorious Uzbeck warlord Rashid Dostum, accused of massive human rights abuses.
Karzai’s relationship with his western allies has become increasing bitter over last year. The US has given him the cold shoulder and wants to replace him with someone more reliable. The flash point could come if Karzai is declared the outright winner in the elections despite the allegations of fraud made by Abdullah.
The voter turn out was quite low at only 35%. The main reasons for the low turn out were widespread disillusionment about the candidates and Taliban threats to attack polling stations. Many Afghans view official politics with indifference. In Southern Afghanistan the epicentre of the Taliban movement, voter turn out was only 10%. The Taliban not only harassed voters but also carried out bombings and rocket launcher attacks. They cut off the fingers and noses of some who dared to vote in an “un-Islamic election”.
There was no real choice for the masses in the recent elections. All four of the major candidates stood on the same platform and slogans. All the main candidates supported the occupation being led by the US and all advocate the free market as a way forward. They all are puppets of imperialist forces and represent those interests rather than the rights of their own people.
Afghanistan is still as fractured and divided as it was before the US invasion in October 2001. Foreign occupation troops are only fuelling the Taliban insurgency and religious extremism. Afghanistan is a clear example of how capitalism and feudalism can destroy the lives of millions of people in the interests of the rich few. Only opposition to imperialist occupation and socialist solutions can provide a way forward for the Afghan people.
The Socialist Party calls for:
-an immediate end to the occupation – withdraw all foreign troops
-an end to Taliban terror and religious extremism
-the Afghan people to be able to decide their own future without imperialist interference
-democratic multi ethnic defence forces to protect local communities, not foreign troops
-a workers’ and peasants’ government with a socialist program to use the counties resources to provide for all not just a rich few.