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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-31-09 11:09 AM
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misogyny and the Afghan election
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Wizards and wives drive Afghan election

Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the "modern face" of Afghanistan, is a rare finished product to emerge out of the jihad of the 1980s - a handsome, nattily attired, English-speaking mujahideen spokesman who could evocatively bring to the Western drawing rooms the danger and the thrill of the Hindu Kush.


However, Abdullah has a fight on his hands. Karzai, who is popularly known among Afghans as the "wizard" for his skills to politically outmaneuver opponents, won't abdicate. With official figures from 35% of the polling stations now in, The Associated Press has Karzai leading with 46.2% of the votes and Abdullah with 31.4%. Karzai must win over half the votes to avoid a run-off.


'Bush's wives'


Jeffrey Stern, whose dispatch from Jalalabad appeared in Slate magazine, wrote:

His reputation as an academic, technocrat and reformer is close to sterling, but his international appeal plays to a narrative Afghans are programmed to reject. In a country that has been a stepping-stone for empires and a chessboard for foreign interests, politicians with external ties are to be watched closely. On the streets of Kabul, I have variously heard Ghani dismissed as "not Afghan"; a "foreigner"; and, most charitably, "an intellectual, yes, but not presidential". By default, his extended furlogh in the West has relegated him to the political purgatory Afghans devise colorful names to describe: Zana-e-Bush, literally "Bush's wives"; or sag-shuyan, "dog washers," for the lowly vocations the privileged classes surely filled while overseas.


'Obama's wives'


This is smart thinking. The bottom line is that the Obama administration cannot brook a Karzai victory. It is a moot point whether or not Karzai gave a dressing down to Holbrooke and the latter walked out of last week's presidential lunch in Kabul. When the two sides floated different versions - with Kabul sources maintaining Karzai put Holbrooke on the mat and Washington clarifying "no one shouted, no one walked out" - what emerges is that the Obama-Karzai dalliance is all but over.


Dangerous times lie ahead. The Obama administration should know that assuming Holbrooke has his way to "chasten" Karzai, the Afghan president would be worth nothing. The Afghans will nickname Abdullah and Ghani as Zana-e-Obama - "Obama's wives" - and how does that help McChrystal's war strategy?

wives are such worthless beings in Afghanistan they are used for name calling
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