Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Afghan Election Report

Afghan election report:

A former warlord tipped to unseat Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan's coming elections has backed President Barack Obama's plans to negotiate with the Taliban. Gul Agha Sherzai was the first Afghan leader Obama met when he visited the country last year and, speaking exclusively to The Independent, he confirmed his plans to run for the presidency on a promise to empower the country's tribes and negotiate with the insurgents. "I will approach all the tribal elders to negotiate with the Taliban who have been brainwashed by other people," the governor of Nangahar province said. "I won't rely on fighting and destruction and air strikes. There are a lot of other ways to approach this other than fighting."...
Sherzai knows the insurgent enemy well. A former mujahedin, he ousted the Taliban from Kandahar with US Special Forces in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks....questions over his human rights record remain, he has been linked to the drugs trade and, as one western official said: "We're not sure if his private life would stand up to much scrutiny."

If peace in Afghanistan depends on a "former warlord," that country's travails are likely far from over. It was the behavior of the warlords that sparked the rise of the then reformist Taliban in the first place.

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