Afghanistan: June 11, 2002

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After a day's delay, the Loya Jirga finally met to determine Afghanistan's future. Many members suspect that the fix is in and that the United States and United Nations is working behind the scenes to insure the Karzai and company (the current interim rulers) get elected. This is typical Afghan paranoia and conspiracy mongering, made worse by having to deal with the unfamiliar use of nationwide democracy to choose a new government. Some warlords and tribal chiefs used pressure to insure their loyalists were selected as Loya Jirga delegates.

The warlords and tribal chiefs expect to get something out of any new national government. This attitude is what has always made ruling Afghanistan difficult. With all the foreign aid promised to Afghanistan, the warlords and chiefs want their share, or else. There is no magic formula to determine who gets what, and the central government usually employed a combination of generosity and force to keep everyone reasonably content and quiet. While most Afghans are tired after two decades of fighting, many are not. And the foreign aid donors insistence on no corruption in aid distribution only adds to the problems the new rulers (most likely Karzai and company) face.

 

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