Taliban Leaders Can Run in Afghan Presidential Vote

IEC Promises No Discrimination Among Candidates

After a 2009 presidential election that has become the standard against which all corrupt elections are measured, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan is promising a much better go in the 2014 vote.

“We are even prepared to pave the ground for the armed opposition, be it the Taliban or Hezb-e Islami, to participate in the election, either as voters or candidates,” added IEC head Fazil Ahmad Manawi.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is constitutionally prohibited from seeking an additional term in office, and so far no candidates have emerged as front-runners to be his successor. The Hezb-e Islami has political parties already, and may contest the vote. The Taliban is unlikely to, however, as they don’t recognize the legitimacy of the occupation-backed government the election represents.

In the 2009 election, Karzai led in the first round, with former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is second place. The run-off vote never happened, however, after Karzai refused to make changes to reduce the levels of voter fraud, and Abdullah withdrew.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.