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The occupiers' goals in the upcoming Afghanistan elections

10 August 2009. A World to Win News Service. Another round of presidential and local council elections in Afghanistan will be held 20 August. There have been dozens of candidates for president, but very few could conceivably even make a good showing. These elections have been hyped by the mainstream media around the world. The occupiers are doing their best to make as many people vote as possible. One of their main goals is to show that they have successfully exported their democracy to Afghanistan and in this way buy legitimacy for the regime they appointed.

They desperately need this legitimacy. Eight years of occupation have brought no real improvement to people's lives, and in fact the regime and the imperialists behind it are so hated that a growing number of people are joining the Taliban, despite the fact these reactionary religious fundamentalists implemented such harsh Islamic measures when they were in power. Many people who welcomed the end of the Taliban government are willing to put that aside now because they want to fight the occupiers and their appointed regime. It could be said that the occupation has revived the Taliban.

The main candidates considered to have a chance to be "elected" are Hamid Karzai, the current president who is running for yet another term, and Abdullah Abdullah, Foreign Minister in the provisional government and an official during Karzai’s first term. In the past he was associated with the jihadis, the fundamentalist gangs the U.S. had armed to fight the Soviet occupiers in the 1980s. They were also deeply hated by the people, which the Taliban took advantage of for their own rise to power. He was close to the fundamentalist Jamiat-e Islami party and its leader Burhanedin Rabani. Among the other candidates there are other familiar names such as Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Mir Weis Yasini and Ramezan Bashardoost, a former Planning Minister under Karzai fired after a few months in office. A quick look at the candidates' electoral programmes reveals that they all call for negotiating with the Taliban and strengthening the Islamic fundamentalist aspect of the current regime.

Karzai has long been trying to negotiate with the Taliban. Reportedly this has been going on at local levels for a while, but he is getting more serious about it now. Recent rumours about negotiations between Karzai's representative and the Taliban were confirmed by Molavi Arsalan Rahmani, who is now working with the Karzai government and was close to the Taliban when they were in power.
In another move Karzai appointed Ghasim Fahim, ex-Defence Minister and one of the most influential jihadis, as his first vice president. This indicates that he is shifting even more towards alliances with the warlords and fundamentalist jihadis.

Abdullah himself is close to the jihadis of the Northern Alliance, the main group that supported the U.S. invasion. The Jamiat-e Islami has announced that if he wee elected, that would mean a stronger presence in the government of the "Mujahidin", the warlord jihadis. He has also announced that he would negotiate with the Taliban.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, another U.S. favourite along Karzai and Abdullah, lived abroad during the Taliban regime but supported them for some time.

The candidate Bashdardoost has already sent the Taliban a signal. He announced that in his view, the Taliban are not fighting the occupiers but only corrupt governors and commanders. In an interview with BBC, when asked about his programme for security, he said, "Many people think that the Taliban are fighting the US or UK, but this is not so, the Taliban have no problem with the U.S. Because when they first took up arms, there was no foreign army in Afghanistan, neither Russia nor UK nor the U.S. When I ask the Taliban why they were killing American soldiers if they aren't fighting the U.S., they replied, 'Mr Bashardoost, it is because the American and British soldiers are backing certain ministers, governors and commanders. Our main war is not with them'". (BBC Persian Service website, 7 July 09)

So all the main candidates have included in their programme their intention to negotiate with the Taliban and integrate them in the state, and also further strengthen the influence of the jihadis not allied with the Taliban. This political environment has brought about a retreat from the regime's initial hypocritical claims about freeing women. Lately it has formally brought back some of the anti-woman legal measures and other forms of oppression initiated during the Islamic rule first of the jihadis and then the Taliban. 

This policy of strategic reconciliation has the consent of the U.S. and UK occupiers. First, the British government put it forward publicly more than a year ago and the U.S. has been saying the same for some time. Secondly, Karzai is in constant consultation with the U.S. and other occupiers, as are other candidates who enjoy close relations with them. There were reports that early on in the election campaign the U.S. ambassador met with some candidates, including Ahamadzai, Abdullah and Yasini, which angered Karzai. Also Richard Holbrooke, U.S. President Barack Obama's special "AF-Pak" envoy, met with Karzai and other candidates during his trip to Afghanistan. 

All this is only natural since, after all, it is the Western imperialists and especially the U.S. who are sponsoring this election. Washington has sent 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan to make sure it goes smoothly. The Afghanistan Defence Ministry announced that 300,000 Afghan and foreign troops will be assigned to ensure security during the election. The U.S. has also provided a major portion of the expenses for this election.

For their part, the Taliban and the Islamic Party of Golbedin Hekmatyar have called for an electoral boycott. The Taliban have threatened to block people from going to the polls and warned they will close the roads a day before the election.

However both the Taliban and Islamic Party are sending contradictory signals. There is speculation that Karzai's immediate ail in negotiating with the Taliban is to convince them not to obstruct the election. However, according to the BBC Persian Service, "It seems that the Taliban have changed their tactics. They did not seriously impede the government's distribution of election registration cards even though they could have done so in some regions." The head of the so-called independent election commission told the media, "In the regions under their control the Taliban accepted registration cards and encouraged others to do so as well." (BBC Persian Service, 25 July 09)

The Islamic Party also has a contradictory approach. In a statement Hekmatyar asked his supporters not to take part in the elections, but the Islamic Party office in Kabul has supported Karzai. While the exact relation between Islamic Party and its Kabul branch is not clear, there has been no word of their separation or expulsion from the party. It would seem that the Kabul branch could not have taken this position without Hekmatyar's approval.

The contradictory approaches adopted by the Taliban and Islamic Party reflect the real unity and contradictions between all these reactionary forces, those in power and those fighting for power or to share power. These contradictory approaches could also reflect an effort by the Taliban and Islamic Party to strengthen their negotiating positions.

Revolutionaries have no interest in sharing power with any of these monsters. Opposing the imperialist occupation of the country and rejecting the legitimacy of their appointed regime is more than enough reason to boycott this election show. The accompanying statement by Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan calls for the masses of Afghanistan to boycott the election and explains their reasons for this call.
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