“THEY HAVE DESTROYED THESE ELECTIONS.” Massive fraud in Afghan elections shows U.S. policy is a farce.
by Rethink Afghanistan on Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 6:20pm
U.S. military policy in Afghanistan rests on the premise of having a “legitimate local partner” to work with, but the massive fraud already present in this weekend's parliamentary elections shows that premise to be false.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that massive vote fraud already mars this weekend’s parliamentary elections, with vote-stuffing so pervasive that brawls are breaking out between teams of vote-riggers.
According to the Monitor’s Anand Gopal, “The elections in Wardak were marred by widescale fraud, violence, and an extremely low turnout, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the new class of lawmakers that will represent the province.”
The story includes a litany of complaints from locals that the election is being stolen right in front of them:
“There were almost no elections in Wardak,” said Ghulam Hassan, a local elder. “The votes were stolen right in front of our eyes.”
“These elections are a shame. They are an embarrassment,” says Roshanak Wardak, who is one of the few prominent candidates who has not been accused of impropriety. She was forced to stay in her home Saturday in Saydabad, after receiving threats that she believes came from other candidates.
“Those who have money can do whatever they want,” she says. “They have destroyed these elections.”
Gopal’s story includes a first-hand account of one vote-rigging team being accosted by a local militia answering to another alleged fraud, with threats of violence exchanged. He also reports that almost no Pashtuns voted in Wardak Province’s capital, despite the fact that Wardak is majority Pashtun. U.S. military officials have identified the Pashtuns as the crucial population within which the insurgency operates and have made winning them over a key plank of U.S. policy. The failure of Pashtuns in Wardak to vote in the elections clearly undermines General Petraeus’ recent assertions of “progress” in that province.
The war in Afghanistan isn’t making us safer, and it’s not worth the cost. These fraudulant elections show that U.S. military policy in Afghanistan--requiring a “legitimate host nation government” as a premise for success--is built on a house of sand.