The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, October 28, 2005

'Knuckles' and 'The Shiv' to join Afghani parliament

Ahhhh, the sweet taste of freedom. Now that we've successfully installed a squeaky-clean Jeffersonian democracy in Afghanistan, we can rest assured that the country will be in the hands of only the most high-minded and idealistic warlords.

As final tallies are being certified, the picture emerging of Afghanistan's first ever fully elected parliament is one dominated by regional strongmen and their allies - men who have ruled this country by gun, rather than the laws they are now charged with crafting.

Afghan officials said this week that the new parliament will likely hold its first session in early December. Only 12 of 34 provinces have had their final results from the Sept. 18 vote certified, but the remainder are expected to be completed shortly.

In the absence of well-defined political parties, it remains to be seen what common agenda will be forged by the 249 new members of the lower house, called the Wolesi Jirga. Preliminary results show 68 women winning seats, the number set aside for them under the law.

But the largest bloc of new parliamentarians, accounting for more than 60 percent, according to the Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in Kabul, are those suspected of having links to armed groups. Observers fear that these militias will become more difficult to disarm once they gain the prestige and power of elected office.