Analysts are increasingly concerned that as violence continues to rise Afghanistan’s August elections will be disrupted or at the very least overshadowed by the attacks. That concern was brought into even greater focus today when President Hamid Karzai’s running mate Mohammed Qasim Fahim narrowly averted assassination in an attack on his convoy.
Managing to hold relatively credible elections that aren’t completely riddled with violence would be important to the ability of the US to sell its ongoing mission in Afghanistan as something short of a complete, unmitigated disaster.
But rival candidates to Karzai, who polls had shown was unpopular but still leading in the face of a large number of relatively unknown candidates, are already preparing to accuse the elections of being fraudulent and say that only fraud would lead to a Karzai victory.
The US for its part has conceded that there will almost certainly be irregularities in the vote, with top US envoy Richard Holbrooke saying the goal was simply to “reflect the legitimate will of the Afghan people.” Holbrooke cited the disputed 2000 US Presidential Election as an example to show that Afghanistan should not be held to an unreasonable standard.
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