Elections Cannot Erase Injustice of the US Occupation of Afghanistan

If Karzai's re-election was a fraud, Obama's surge of troops brought just more violence. For Afghans he's the 'second Bush'

One year ago Hamid Karzai was declared re-elected
as president of Afghanistan, ending an election that had no legitimacy
in the eyes of ordinary Afghans. The presidential election last year was
a fraud, with ballot stuffing, vote buying and massive corruption
reported by the world's media. Even if the independent election
commission had not cancelled the planned run-off between Karzai and his
main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah,
it would have represented only a choice of the "same donkey with a new
saddle". People had no incentive to participate as they knew that both
main candidates would bring nothing positive for Afghan people.

had lost his popularity way before the 2009 election. This was due to
the ever increasing corruption of the government, the never-ending
crimes of the many fundamentalists and warlords in his regime, and the
financial scandals and corruption of his brothers. In Kandahar people even started calling Ahmed Wali Karzai the "little Bush", after the hated US president.

vast majority of Afghans have lost all hope in Karzai. For us his words
and actions have no value, and that includes his latest "peace
negotiations" and other measures. Including killers like Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the government is not about negotiating for peace, but completing the decades-old circle of warlordism and fundamentalism.

important to say that these so-called elections haven't damaged
Afghanistan as much as the US and its Nato allies have, with their
bombing and occupation. Wikileaks
has exposed some of the truth about the civilian toll of this war
against the Afghan and Iraqi peoples. Afghans hold the US and Nato, and
their puppet Karzai, responsible for these war crimes. They claim to
fight terrorism, but in fact they are the biggest terrorists in the eyes
of our people because of their crimes and brutalities.

the Afghan people are not yet strong enough to drive out the US,
overthrow the mafia government of Karzai and bring an end to the crimes
of the Taliban and other fundamentalists. Our history proves that this
resistance to occupation will continue until we have won our freedom.
Until both the US and the fundamentalists - of both the Northern
Alliance and Taliban brands - are driven out of power in Afghanistan, we
cannot see a bright future. It is now more than five years since I was
elected to the Afghan parliament. My experience of this "democratic
process" was to see my microphone cut off, and to be threatened with
death by other MPs - many of whom teamed up to remove me illegally from
my seat. My case alone is enough to prove that women's rights in
Afghanistan have not truly been safeguarded - our situation was just
invoked to justify the war.

In fact, it's important to remember
another document that Wikileaks exposed earlier this year: a CIA paper
assessing western public opinion on the war that recommended using "testimonials by Afghan women" expressing fear about a Taliban takeover in the event of Nato pulling out. A Time cover story featuring the disfigured Bibi Aisha
was a clear example of using the plight of women as war propaganda. The
headline - "What happens if we leave Afghanistan" - could have, or
should have, been "What happens while we are in Afghanistan", because
crimes of mutilation, rape and murder against women are commonplace

Many warlords and commanders aligned with Nato and Karzai
carry out their sexist, misogynist crimes with impunity. Time could, for
example, have done a cover story condemning the law signed by Karzai in 2009 that legalised crimes against Shia women, or about the shocking levels of women committing suicide by self-immolation.

had another so-called parliamentary election in September, but I chose
not to run. Any hope I had for using the ballot box to achieve change in
Afghanistan is gone. Like last year's presidential vote, September's election was full of the buying and selling of votes - one province, Paktika, reported a turnout of 626%. This sort of thing is the reason elections in Afghanistan long ago became a bad joke.

Today there is an election in the US, and it is now two years since Barack
Obama was elected president. His surge of troops has brought only a
surge of violence, and his expansion of the war into Pakistan has
claimed many innocent lives. Obama promised "hope" and "change", but
Afghans have seen only change for the worse. Here he is now seen as a
"second Bush".

The only change that can make us hopeful about the
future is the strengthening and expansion of a national
anti-fundamentalist and democracy-loving movement. Such a movement can
be built only by Afghans. And while we want the world's support and
solidarity, we neither need nor want Nato's occupying forces.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

© 2023 The Guardian