Canada’s support for Karzai will be put to the test
Two Afghanistan developments that Canadians need to track: American and British newspapers report on a “momentum building against Karzai” – significant: “hundreds of tribal leaders came together yesterday in a meeting in Kabul,” led by Abdullah Abdullah. If you read only one story on Afghanistan today this is the one.
The claims of these tribal leaders have yet to be proven and of course, they support “the other guy.” Abdullah trails Hamid Karzai in the percentage of votes counted, 33 to 46. Will other tribal groups come forward?
That will be the sign that triggers a change in the official spin on Karzai from Washington. Right now, 46 percent and the illusion of legitimacy is what it is, this being Afghanistan and not, for instance, Iran.
Interesting, that Canadian media reports today focus on two other leading Afghanistan stories – the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime reports a net poppy cultivation drop of 22 percent over the last year and a suicide bomber kills the deputy head of Afghan intelligence in the “relatively calm eastern province of Laghman.”
Are Canadian news leaders and opinion makers too easily maintaining their support for Karzai? That might only be countered if Karzai manages to win the needed 50 percent in vote tallies to avoid a run-off election in October. The Afghan Independent Election Commission(IEC) – surely now under incredible pressure – has had as part of its genesis both Canadian fiscal aid and the benefit of people such as Grant Kippen. Perhaps this will stand the results in good stead and provide comfort to the world about the eventual Afghanistan presidential outcome.
And finally, yet another American poll – this time from CNN – released yesterday: 57 percent of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. This is the highest disapproval rating for the war since CNN first polled on the issue in 2006.
If the Liberals under Michael Ignatieff follow through on the Liberal bid to bring down the current Harper government, how much will Afghanistan feature in yet another Canadian federal election, despite our 2011 “end game”?