1 Sep 2014

Will the ‘Afghan spring’ disintegrate into a cold winter?

It turns out that all those long queues of Afghans lining up back in April to vote, were every bit as deceptive as we thought.

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speaks next to Afghan presidential candidates Ahmadzai and Abdullah during a news conference in Kabul

I argued at the time that the media were being fooled by the superficial euphoria and large problems would loom over the corrupt nature of the of the election.

So it has proved.

The talk of an “Afghan spring” has disintegrated into a coming cold winter.

The leading candidates have disputed the results since the first round of voting. It took the direct visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to bring the two leading candidates to some kind of precarious truce. The deal was for some indeterminate kind of Government of National Unity (GNU).

For some weeks all was well, if tetchy and tense. Then Abdullah Abdullah cried foul again and last week pulled out of the agreed laborious recounting of millions of disputed votes by UN officials.

The UN then asked the other contender Ashraf Ghani to pull his guys out lest the process seem biased with just one of the presidential contenders’ teams taking part. So it has run dangerously into the Afghan dust.

Read more: Does civil war loom after Afghanistan elections?

Just as the Taliban gain ground.

Just as the clock ticks remorselessly down to Nato’s retreat from the country at the end of the year.

It should disturb the Western Afghanistan bankrollers far more that it has that the second round  of polling between the two front runners reverted to sectarian sloganeering.

This is ominous and there is much talk now of thousands of ethnic Pashtuns – Afghanistan’s largest ethnic grouping -and non-Pashtuns armed already and preparing for who knows what in Kabul and beyond?

All this mark – quite apart from the Taliban gaining ground.

The potential for political implosion is very real now in Afghanistan. And all this just at the time when the US capacity or desire to be involved appears to wither by the hour – to say nothing of a Nato now preoccupied with matters Ukrainian.

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