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And, yes, I DO take it personally: A sign of hope for dumping Karzai in the upcoming Afghan election...?
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Friday, July 24, 2009

A sign of hope for dumping Karzai in the upcoming Afghan election...?


wouldn't it be loverly...?

from the nyt...

When Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the main election challenger to President Hamid Karzai, arrived here to campaign last weekend, thousands of supporters choked the six-mile drive from the airport. Cars were plastered with his posters. Motorbikes flew blue banners. Young men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his face leapt aboard his car to embrace him to ecstatic cheers.


Mr. Karzai is still widely considered the front-runner in the campaign for the Aug. 20 presidential election. But Dr. Abdullah, who has the backing of the largest opposition group, the National Front, is the one candidate among the field of 41 who has a chance of forcing Mr. Karzai into a runoff, a contest between the top two vote-getters if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes in the first balloting.

but here's the part that gets my attention...
Dr. Abdullah, with a diplomat and a surgeon as his running mates, is seen as part of a younger generation of Afghans keen to move away from the nation’s reliance on warlords and older mujahedeen leaders and to clean up and recast the practice of governing.

To do that, he advocates the devolution of power from the strong presidency built up under Mr. Karzai to a parliamentary system that he says will be more representative. He is also calling for a system of electing officials for Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and nearly 400 districts as a way to build support for the government.

Those provincial governors are now appointed from Kabul, and many have been criticized for cronyism and corruption. Influential Shiite clerics here in Herat, who supported Mr. Karzai in the last election in 2004, are now so fed up with corrupt appointees that they have said they will back Dr. Abdullah this time.

Re-engaging the people is essential to reverse the lawlessness and insecurity that have reached a critical point in much of the country, Dr. Abdullah said. “They have managed to lose the people,” he said of the current government. “In fighting an insurgency, you lose the people and you lose the war.”

as the plane was on final approach to the kabul airport for my second visit to afghanistan last november, i looked out on the grim scene of mud houses, pollution and dreadful poverty and had an astonishing revelation... i had developed a real soft spot in my heart for afghanistan... "what's wrong with this picture?" i remember thinking but then had to admit that i had developed a great deal of affection for the afghans i had met and become friends with on my first visit... the people and their country had come to mean a great deal to me and that emotional attachment has only been strengthened over two more visits and will no doubt become even stronger on the fifth one coming up...

the afghans are just like people everywhere else around the world... they only want what we all want - a little peace and quiet, food for their families, a roof over their heads, clothes for themselves and their kids, a chance to earn a living - none of it that wouldn't be recognized and heartily supported by any one of us... maybe they've got a shot at heading there if the upcoming election lets them turn the corner... and, oh yeah, btw, isn't that what we all said about obama...? sigh...

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