Early Snowfall Could Derail Afghan Runoff

With Some Parts of Afghanistan Already Impassable, Will Vote Be Possible?

Afghanistan’s run-off vote has been scheduled for November 7th, but whether or not the second round of voting between President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah can actually, credibly take place is going to largely depend on the weather.

The easternmost reaches of Badakhshan Province is already impassable, covered in snow likely until spring. This will likely only amount to a few thousand votes but if winter arrives just slightly earlier than normal this year, large swaths of the nation could be in the same boat.

With very little infrastructure outside the major cities, Afghanistan essentially shuts down during the winter and travel is next to impossible across much of the country until spring. This is, incidentally, why the insurgency seemingly slows to a snail’s pace during the winter months every year.

It is unclear who would benefit most from an early winter. Abdullah appears to have significant support along the nation’s north, but the mountainous south is also prone to early snow, and this is where Karzai loyalists tend to congregate. Either way the loser will be the international forces, who will be left once again trying to explain away an election where something other than the will of the voters decides the outcome.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.