News Release

Elections in Afghanistan This Weekend

Nationwide legislative elections will be held in Afghanistan this Sunday.

SAHAR SABA
Saba is a member of the foreign affairs committee of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. She has just returned from Afghanistan to Pakistan. She said today: “Many people are hopeful about the elections but also are deeply worried about the impact of warlords in this election. Everywhere I went, that was the main concern people expressed: powerful warlords who can buy and coerce votes. It will not be good if the warlords have the upper hand in the parliament, which is supposed to have the future of Afghanistan in its hands. And warlords remain armed and powerful — they have not been held accountable for their crimes. Still, people are excited at finally having elections and want to participate.”
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AHMAD NADER NADERY
Nadery is a spokesperson with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and a founding member of the Afghan Civil Society Forum. AIHRC recently released a comprehensive survey of Afghans across the country which found “strong public support for removing war criminals from positions of power” and that many Afghans wanted the rule of warlords to end. Nadery recently stated: “These people [warlords] are a threat to the future National Assembly. They may impose their own interpretation of the laws and will promote impunity. … We are very concerned.”
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SONALI KOLHATKAR
Kolhatkar, based in Los Angeles, is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission and has visited Afghanistan this year. She is co-author of a forthcoming book titled Bleeding Afghanistan. She said today: “Warlords like Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf, whose criminal past has been documented by groups like Human Rights Watch, are openly running for seats in the parliament. … In July, over 1,000 demonstrators outside the main U.S. base at Bagram called for an end to arbitrary house break-ins and arrests and for treating Afghans with more dignity. This was the largest protest since a wave of anti-U.S. demonstrations across the country in May led to 16 deaths. During his May 2005 visit to the U.S., President Karzai requested more Afghan control over U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the handing over of Afghan prisoners, and the end of home searches without government permission, all of which were rejected.”
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ALEX THIER
Thier is director of the Project on Failed States at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at the Stanford Institute for International Studies. He said today: “Afghanistan will have, for the first time in its history, a democratically-elected constitutional government. That is something remarkable, and cause to celebrate — but only in the way that one cheers hopefully during a tough game at half-time.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167