Afghanistan today: blood in, blood out

The international Elections Complaints Commission has found "clear and convincing evidence of fraud in a number of polling stations" in Afghanistan's presidential election.

The international Elections Complaints Commission has found “clear and convincing evidence of fraud in a number of polling stations” in Afghanistan’s presidential election. In several villages, the IEC has found, incumbent Hamid Karzai received 100 per cent of the votes, which added up to suspiciously round figures – exactly 400 or 500 ballots in some cases. In others, polling stations simply failed to open, but still managed to deliver vote tallies in Karzai’s favour.

Candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who is currently running second in the world’s phoniest horse race, describes the official count as a “tragic joke.” He goes on to say that “it will be very difficult to justify the support of the outcome of an election for which hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent and NATO soldiers have died, if fraud decides the outcome.” Even if every vote had been counted correctly, millions of women were unable to vote simply because there weren’t enough female staff at the polling stations.

Now with Karzai’s count running well over the 50 per cent needed to avoid a run-off election, Abdullah will be under pressure to join a coalition of some sort, in order to legitimize the outcome. So what will it look like, this clearly fraudulent government of Afghanistan for which so many young Canadians have died, and will die? Let’s take a look at some of the key players.

Karzai’s running mate in the election is one Qasim Fahim, a well-known Tajik warlord. He and his friend Muhammed Karim Kallili have held senior positions in the Karzai government since it was first installed by the US after the 2001 invasion. According to Human Rights Watch, both are guilty of terrible atrocities during the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, when they “regularly and intentionally targeted civilians and civilian areas for attack, and recklessly and indiscriminately fired weapons into civilian areas”.

Their forces acted as death squads, kidnapping and “disappearing” hundreds of civilians, torturing captives to the point of insanity and often to death. There are reports that they committed “widespread rape of women, girls, and boys.” Both Fahim and Kallili were granted unlimited pardons for past actions by the parliament in which they sat, and for the protection of which Canada has committed its armed forces until 2011. Sadly, they aren’t alone. HRW estimates that at least 60 per cent of Afghan’s sitting politicians are warlords, or beholden to warlords.

Karzai ally Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq was a leader of Hezb-e Wahdat, a Taliban-like armed faction which, according to HRW, was “implicated in systematic and widespread abuse … directed at Pashtun villagers. In scores of villages, homes were destroyed, possessions were taken, and men and boys were beaten and in some cases killed … there were several reports of rapes of girls and women.” It is reported that Mohaqiq’s militiamen like to snatch young girls on their way to school, rape them and then claim them as ‘brides,’ whereupon they attempt to ransom them back to their parents.

Perhaps most sinister of all is the man Karzai chose to bring out of exile to work for his re-election. General Abdul Rashid Dostum returned to Afghanistan from Turkey to deliver votes to the Karzai campaign. In 2001, during the US-led battle against the Taliban, Dostum’s forces stuffed thousands of prisoners into transport containers, and then shot up the containers from outside. Some were Taliban, others are said to have been Dostum’s rivals in the opium trade, while others were no doubt innocents caught in a very indiscriminate web. Those who didn’t die immediately were left in the locked containers to suffocate, or to die of their wounds.

Believe what you will about its true purpose, it is not possible to claim that the war in Afghanistan is about freedom or democracy or human rights or the welfare of the Afghan people. If it was, why would we be siding with some of the world’s most notorious war criminals? When the government of Canada trots its slaughtered youth down the “highway of heroes,” exploiting them once last time for their propaganda value, it’s well to bear in mind that those young lives were spent on maintaining a corrupt regime without democratic legitimacy, 60 per cent or more of whom are drug peddlers, murderers, torturers, and rapists.

How much more blood is this worth?

Al Pope won the 2002 Ma Murray Award for Best Columnist in BC/Yukon. His novel, Bad Latitudes, is available in bookstores.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read