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Friday, 17 September 2010

Afghanistan: UK general speaks on Afghan elections

British Army Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, cropped fr...Image via Wikipedia
In the presidential elections last year the UN–backed electoral commission threw out a third of the votes amid allegations of fraud and there are widespread concerns that the situation has not improved.
Gen Carter, who is based at Regional Command South in Kandahar, said they had already seen a "pattern of intimidation much as in the presidential elections" and he expected that the insurgents would inevitably "go after" election officials and voters.
Kandahar, he said, resembled Moscow in the 1990s, with "mobs, mafia and protection rackets" running madrassas, boarding houses, and private security companies.
He said many of the candidates were "honourable" and did not want to be seen as fraudulent or corrupt but added: "We would be kidding ourselves if we didn't think they have their own agendas."
Meanwhile, Hetmayar has already told to French press that "he totally regrets looming elections":
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord and former prime minister, told France's RFI radio and Liberation newspaper that his Hizb-i-Islami group 'isn't participating in these elections overseen by foreigners.'
Hekmatyar's group fights mainly in eastern Afghanistan and is one of the only major insurgent groups that has openly talked peace with President Hamid Karzai's government.
Hekmatyar has a reputation of being a ruthless Islamic extremist, whose power has waned over the years. He commands far fewer fighters than the Taliban.
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