Hamid Karzai has a crucial role to play in the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan. Karzai can’t run for the office of the president of Afghanistan as he has served two consecutive terms, hence, he is ineligible to contest elections according to the articles of the constitution of Afghanistan. What, he can do is back one of the candidates and he surely will exercise or rather exploit that option, by the looks of it to the fullest degree possible.
The majority of the eleven candidates in the race are of Pushtun stock. The reason being that Pashtuns are 42 percent of the electorate. A simple computation, who ever gets the majority of Pushtun votes stands a very good chance of winning. All said, the man most political analysts tip to be the next president of Afghanistan is Abdullah Abdullah. The former foreign minister of the Karzai administration and the present opposition leader. The catch is that he is not a Pushtun, but the only candidate well-known internationally as compared to other candidates in the run. He also contested the heavily rigged last elections and lost but senses a real chance of being the president, this time round.
Unlike Karzai, he is in favor of signing the Bi-Lateral Security agreement (BSA) with America. A document, which Karzai has made so controversial that the political commentators refer to it as the basic suspicion agreement. The main reason the American want this agreement signed by the Afghan government is to ensure that after the withdrawal of the American led ISAF and NATO troops, there are some foreign troops left in Afghanistan in order to safeguard Afghan and American strategic interests. According to this proposed agreement 10.000 foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the majority of foreign troops, so that any assault by the Taliban, to get Kabul by force can be nullified. Karzai, for reasons best known to him, is not willing to sign this agreement. According to some political commentators, he is delaying signing this document in order to bargain with the Americans.
The question is to bargain what? The simple answer, according to the political analysts who fully understand the dynamics of Afghan political mind-set is that Karzai wants to make his businessman brother Quyum Karzai, the next president of Afghanistan. He wants unconditional assurances from America and its allies in this regard. In other words he wants another American and its allies supported rigged elections in order to make a political dynasty of the Karzai tribe in Afghanistan.
Dynastic politics is a way of life in the region, the examples are the Bhutto dynasty in neighboring Pakistan and the Nehru dynasty in India. This way Karzai, wants a puppet in power in Afghanistan and wants to be the real power broker– if not the king, Karzai wants to be the king-maker. He wants his brother to be the face of the future Afghan government, while like Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, Karzai wants to be the real political power wielder in the country.
No one knows for sure what the actual future holds for Karzai but one thing is certain, he is going to impact the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan, in a big way.
By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada
The Washington Post
Voice of America