In Kabul, little hope that a runoff will be fair

In Kabul, little hope that a runoff will be fair

As experts pore over ballots to determine whether the fraud in this country’s presidential election was so big that a runoff vote was required, many Afghans interviewed here on Tuesday shared the same view: Why bother?

In shops, offices and bakeries around the capital, many Afghans said holding a second round of voting to designate a winner simply did not make sense.

It was not that they did not want a final result. Or that they thought the Aug. 20 election had been fraud-free. But years of disappointment in their government has hardened into cynicism, and many said a second round would only lead to another flawed result.

“It’s a waste of time and money,” said Muhammad Hashem Haideri, a 52-year-old movie theater manager. “It would be useless.” [continued…]

Not good enough

If President Obama can find a way to balance the precise number of troops that will stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan, without tipping America into a Vietnam there, then he indeed deserves a Nobel Prize — for physics.

I have no problem with the president taking his time to figure this out. He and we are going to have to live with this decision for a long time. For my money, though, I wish there was less talk today about how many more troops to send and more focus on what kind of Afghan government we have as our partner.

Because when you are mounting a counterinsurgency campaign, the local government is the critical bridge between your troops and your goals. If that government is rotten, your whole enterprise is doomed. [continued…]

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