27 July, 2021

Many Little Kabuls

As elections near, Afghan opposition makes a case for federalism

Many Little Kabuls

He who rules Kabul rules Afghanistan. Or so the old adage went. However, if there is one thing the last 12 years of the Afghan conflict has shown, it is that no king, or modern-day president, can take this for granted any more. Neither US efforts in Doha nor President Hamid Karzai’s desire to give the Taliban a place at the high table can fix this.

Yet, still guided by the old logic that only Pakhtoons can rule from Kabul, Taliban insurgents—also Pakhtoon—are sought to be brought into a power-sharing arrangement. Whether even that can bring stability to Afghanistan remains in doubt. The opposition parties are quite adamant that there should be no powersharing with the Taliban without their going through the electoral process.

Elections for the president’s post and provincial councils are due in April 2014, and those for Parliament, a year later. The Afghan opposition is pinning its hopes on free and fair elections to bring about fundamental changes in the country’s political system. However, there are apprehensions that in his bid to...

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