Gringo Lost

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Pattern of fraud emerging in upcoming Afghan elections

with 4 comments

The AP is reporting that “more than 17 million” Afghans have registered to vote.  Meaning the actual number of registrants is more than the amount of eligible voters.  Otherwise put, 17 million voters in a country of about 33.6 million people (about half of which are under 18) equals a voter turnout of more than 100%.

Some other mind-boggling numbers include the amount of women that are registered to vote in the country’s most conservative areas.  As the AP reports,

The number of women who were registered over the last year in Paktia, Khost and Logar provinces is also raising eyebrows, said Spinghar [an election’s monitor]. Afghan males there registered multiple women from their families — as many as 10 or 15 in some cases — and claimed that because of cultural sensitivities the women could not register in person, he said. It’s not clear those women exist.

The dominant ethnic group in all three conservative provinces is the Pashtun tribe. Karzai, the leading candidate in a crowded field of three dozen contenders hoping to win a five-year term, is a Pashtun.

Figures from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission show that 72,958 women registered in Khost compared with 38,500 men; 87,600 women registered in Paktia compared with 50,250 men; and 36,849 women registered in Logar but 14,342 men.

Later in the article, Sarah Chayes – an adviser to Gen. McChrystal – stated she bought 10 voter registration cards on the black market.

There is a basic consensus amongst analysts that if the Afghan elections are perceived relatively free and fair they will be considered a positive development by Afghans.  However, if corruption and vote-rigging are seen to significantly alter the outcome then many believe it will contribute to the country’s instability.

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Written by gringolost

August 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

4 Responses

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  1. “There is a basic consensus amongst analysts that if the Afghan elections are perceived relatively free and fair they will be considered a positive development by Afghans. However, if corruption and vote-rigging are seen to significantly alter the outcome then many believe it will contribute to the country’s instability.”

    Let me get this straight GL, I take it a basic consensus amongst analysts, means our analysts. So the Afghans are going to be united because the elections were free and fair. I believe this defies Afghan history and tribal logic. No matter what the outcome, nobody is going to be fooled, least of all the Afghans that a western style election is going to unify the country. After the 9 year Soviet war that killed an estimated one million Afghans. Instead of a victory dance and a parley, the Afghan warlords slugged it out for years, until the Taliban restored order through the use of terror and a return to a 9th century ethos. As far as fair and democratic election contributing to a stable Afghan mindset it may fool members of the US congress, but it won’t change the fractured Afghan mindset a whit. I wish the best and brightest were correct but the plain fact is they been screwing the pooch with numbers and bean counting for 50 years and they have yet to score one for the home team..

    Blackhawk187

    August 18, 2009 at 10:27 am

    • IMO, you have a good insight here. I think you’re right that if the elections are seemed to be “free and fair (enough)” then it is going to be by the folks in US congress and voters here in the States. No matter what, the central government in Kabul is going to be alienated from rural and tribal regions. As the history of Afghan governance shows, politicians seeking failure do so by trying to centralize control of tribal areas under Kabul.

      gringolost

      August 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm

  2. I forget what 19th century Russian General said it about the ‘Caucasian problem’. In particular he was referring to great defender of Caucasian freedom the Imam Shamil of Chechnya, was to kill them all and let God sort it out. It guess it failed in the 20th century Russian war in Afghanistan because one million dead wasn’t enough. Well, after the second 20th century Chechen war, they did succeed it in killing almost all Chechen’s. But it remains to be seen if the point of the sword will do the same ‘work’ in the 21st Century.

    Blackhawk187

    August 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    • To get back to your earlier point, I think you are right that these elections matter most to the US.

      Of course, I’m not on the ground in Afghanistan. But I have a feeling that no matter who wins, if the US still remains the ruling government is going to be seen as a corrupt puppet.

      gringolost

      August 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm


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