Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Re-election of Karzai as Afghan President To Create More Problems for US

The presidential election in Afghanistan has ended after incumbent President Hamid Karzai's political rival Abdullah pulled out from the race claiming that he did not believe the second round of the election will be a just race after all the frauds that happened during the first round of the election. The announcement by the Afghan Election Commission of the cancellation of the second round of presidential election recently made Hamid Karzai the unopposed re-elected president with a new term for five years.

Lame Duck President
However, since the votes Karzai obtained during the first round of presidential election held in August was less than half of the total votes he received from the people, Karzai has given Afghans the forever impression that he is a national leader that does not get the majority support from the people. Many Afghans even claim that he is not the legitimate Afghan president. In a nutshell, Hamid Karzai is but a 'lame duck' president.

President Obama is currently facing the dilemma of whether he should send more troops to Afghanistan. But since the election in Afghanistan has finally 'ended', President Obama can at least put this issue aside. But in allowing an unpopular Afghan president who does not get the full support from the voters to stay in power can create more problems for the United States in the future. The only thing President Obama can do is to put more pressure on Karzai, so that he can revamp his government and to work hard in order to regain the support of the people.

Unpleasant Exchanges of Words

Eight years ago, the United States supported and nurtured Hamid Karzai as the Afghan President. But along the way, Karzai has never been an 'obedient' president in the eyes of the United States. Not too long ago, President Karzai criticized the US military for putting too much emphasis on using air power such as using UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to air raid the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida network causing considerable civilians deaths. This encounter with Washington has resulted in unpleasant exchanges of words between both sides. But for now, President Obama will definitely put more pressure on Karzai so that he can form a new inclusive Afghan government that can allow other political parties and political leaders to participate.

During the first round presidential election held in August, President Karzai's political rival Abdullah received more than 30 percent of voter support. The potential power of Abdullah cannot be ignored. The United States of course hopes that Karzai can include Abdullah or the supporters of Abdullah to join the new Afghan Cabinet. But the problem is, will the re-elected Afghan president Karzai accept such a proposal (if there is a proposal at all)? Before Abdullah announced his decision not to take part in the second round of presidential election, Abdullah did negotiate with Karzai over the possibility of forming a coalition government with Karzai but such a talk eventually broke up. It is thus questionable if Karzai's new Cabinet that will be dominated by Afghanistan's largest ethnic majority Pashtun leaves some important cabinet posts to the minority group Tajiks, the ethnic group represented by Abdullah and his supporters.

Economy in Afghanistan
Even if President Hamid Karzai is willing to work with Abdullah over the formation of a new government, Karzai is in fact facing a much more critical problem which is not political but economical. The economy in Afghanistan is, in fact, at the verge of collapse. Some media reports said that in order for the Karzai to save the county economy, Afghanistan will have to depend on economic aid coming from the United States.

In addition, Afghanistan might also need to reply on illicit drug trade to survive. The flood of illicit drugs will damage the lives of Afghans; the spread of illicit drugs through Afghanistan will also poison the youths of the world. Afghanistan is now under world pressure not to engage in illicit drug trade and to export such harmful products to the world.

No comments: