(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Things are apparently happening right according to plan in Afghanistan. The presidential polls will be held on schedule in April 2014, negating concerns that President Hamid Karzai was seeking a delay in elections.
The presidential polls will coincide with the drawdown of tens of thousands of foreign troops, who are expected to exit the country by the end of 2014. Moreover, provincial elections, originally scheduled for mid-2013, will also be held on the same as the presidential elections, while the parliamentary elections will be held in 2015.
According to this future calendar of political events, it seems like Afghanistan is not doing too badly. The process of electoral democracy is finally getting consolidated and the impending exit of foreign forces will pave way for true Afghan self-governance. But, while the political roadmap might appear quite orderly in Afghanistan, things are not too upbeat for the war-torn country.
The Taleban insurgency, instead of rescinding, has been in fact growing in the last few months. On the occasion of Eid Al Adha, a suicide bomber struck people coming out of a mosque in the northern part of the country and killed 45 people. Wedding processions and high-profile government functionaries have been targeted recently.
Hamid Karzai's ethnically fractious government has not only blatantly failed in controlling the violence the country, it is also ridden with rampant corruption and inefficiencies. In fact, public officials are quite openly involved in illegal drug and arms trade. Moreover, the electoral process has been far from perfect. The 2009 elections, which re-elected Karzai, were tainted by allegations of fraud and experienced only 33 per cent turnout.
Even though 13 million in funds have been pledged this year to help the Afghans prepare for the elections - with EU being the major contributor - there is no guarantee that they will actually elect a leadership any stronger than the present one.
There's a great danger that the forthcoming elections would bring about another contentious result and spark bitter in-fighting amidst the top political contenders. This scenario, especially during a time of fragile security created by the departure of the US troops, can lead to a power vacuum that will threaten to further destabilise the country.
Thus, the game plan for Afghanistan, as envisioned by the Afghan leaders and the Western countries, might see