October 22, 2009 |
Afghan authorities plan to close thousands of polling stations and hire new poll workers to discourage the fraud that tarnished the August presidential election and forced a runoff set for Nov. 7, U.N. officials said Wednesday. President Hamid Karzai's rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, announced Wednesday that he was preparing for the runoff election, a day after Karzai acknowledged under intense U.S. pressure that he fell short of the 50% threshold needed for victory in the Aug. 20 vote.
November 13, 2009 |
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing outside a major U.S. military base on the outskirts of the capital today that injured at least two dozen people, including nine Western troops. The attack came on a busy road that connects Kabul with the eastern city of Jalalabad; it is heavily used by military vehicles and civilian cars alike, and Afghans have long complained of the danger to motorists who are caught up in insurgent attacks against Western forces. A bombing on the same stretch of road three months ago targeting a military convoy, killed eight people.
January 3, 2010 |
In an unexpected show of defiance, Afghan lawmakers Saturday rejected 17 of President Hamid Karzai's 24 nominees for Cabinet posts, including a powerful warlord. Afghanistan's political scene has been in a state of shambles for months, as the Obama administration prepares for one of the biggest and fastest troop buildups of the conflict, which is in its ninth year. About 30,000 more U.S. troops are to be deployed in Afghanistan this year, and senior commanders have said the buildup will be crucial in 2010 to halt the growing momentum of the Taliban-led insurgency.
November 3, 2009
In the first round of balloting, Afghan President Hamid Karzai received 1 million "ghost votes" from people who simply didn't exist. When those were eliminated, he lacked the requisite plurality and was pressed by his Western backers into agreeing to a runoff -- only to see his challenger drop out in anticipation of further fraud. Faced with a one-man race, the Independent Election Commission on Monday canceled the second round and returned Karzai to power for a second five-year term.
October 26, 2009 |
Hundreds of angry protesters in Afghanistan's capital burned an effigy of President Obamaon Sunday, acting on rumors that American troops had desecrated the Koran. U.S. military officials emphatically denied that any copies of the Muslim holy book had been mishandled, and accused the Taliban of spreading falsehoods to incite hatred against Western forces. But the protest -- reminiscent of similar demonstrations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Muslim world in recent years -- showed how easily passions involving religious sensitivities can be stirred up even with a dearth of evidence.
October 13, 2009 |
The disarray surrounding Afghanistan's presidential election deepened today when an Afghan member of the vote-reviewing commission quit, citing "foreign interference." The resignation of Mustafa Barakzai from the Electoral Complaints Commission was not expected to affect the panel's work of sifting through allegations of massive vote-rigging in the Aug. 20 balloting, officials said. But it added an acrimonious new element to a vote that has already become an exercise in recrimination -- and has left Afghanistan in political limbo at a time when crucial decisions about the course of the conflict are being made in Washington.