Afghan poll put off?

Scheduled for September, to be timed to a presidential election, an Afghan parliamentary poll is likely to be put off, Radio Pakistan announced on July 2 with reference to Farouk Vardak, Afghanistan's Election Commission president.

Twenty out of a total twenty-two officially registered Afghan political parties have not come to an accord on election days, while provisional President Hamid Karzai has resolute objections to a postponement.

Consultations on the issue go on between the Afghan government, the United Nations and political party leaders, Manuel de Almeida y Silva, press secretary of the UN office in Afghanistan, said to the media in Kabul on July 1.

Voters are registering very slowly, point out political analysts. Meanwhile, militant champions of the fundamentalist Taliban regime, which the international anti-terror coalition overthrew toward the end of 2001, are stepping up violence. They ostentatiously threaten to thwart the presidential and parliamentary elections alike. Attacks on Election Commission officers and voters who dare to register have become ever more frequent and cruel.

Initially appointed for June, the polls were put off for safety's reason.

The Afghan situation is tremendously involved. Hamid Karzai, a Pashtoon, has given key portfolios on his cabinet to ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks, former leaders of the Northern Alliance, which was generously helping U.S. soldiers to oust the Taliban. Regrettably, it was an ousting not rout-the Taliban top and a bulk of their forces are safe in their highland hideouts along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier. The new regime has failed to this day to call to order the unruly warlords and tribal chieftains. It holds only a part of the country in control. In fact, the whole country remains sliced into satrapies. The National Army is only budding. As for ISEF, international security forces, they have had their authority spectacularly extended to involveseveral of the principal provincial centers, and will quite soon be reinforced to 10,000 from the present-day 6,500. Even so, ISEF cannot do much to improve the situation. Naturally, security is getting into the foreground of Afghan life, say many political experts.

Hurshid Mehmud Kasuri, Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs, is soon expected in Moscow on a routine visit. His negotiation agenda will probably include Afghan developments. Afghanistan is a bad Pakistani headache. A strip of the Pakistani territory populated by independent Pashtoon tribes is sheltering international terrorists sent into flight from neighboring Afghanistan. The Pakistani army has been vainly trying to oust them for months on end.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team