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Afghanistan Presidential Election Candidates – Reading the Tea Leaves

Lt Gen Ghanshyam Singh Katoch writes at the present times the Taliban would be more accommodating and accept a power sharing arrangement where there is either a democracy as the NUG has or a democracy where fixed electoral seats are apportioned on ethnic lines.

The talks for peace in Afghanistan initiated by the United States with the Taliban are drawing the attention of all affected parties regionally and globally. In light of the talks, the Afghan Presidential elections appear to have been overshadowed as logically the elections would become irrelevant in case a peace deal can be arrived at. With frequent undulations in the way the talks are proceedings it is not known when and if the talks will bring peace to Afghanistan.

If they do, (and that is the hope of all those who have followed the sufferings of the Afghan people for the past 40 years), then for lasting peace power-sharing will be necessary. Such sharing will have to be done fairly an in an unbiased manner. This may have to be along ethnic lines because there are suspicions and dissensions among the Afghan people on this account.

An analysis of the ethnicities of the current Presidential election candidates will give an indication. If an ethnic mix is perceived as an acceptable equation and a winning formula for a candidate it may indicate a power sharing mix which can bring peace to Afghanistan.

The current NUG government in Afghanistan has a Pashtun President, a Tajik CEO and a Hazara Vice President. The ethnic composition of the three most important candidates who have filed their papers in the upcoming elections are as under:

  For President Vice President 1 Vice President 2
1. Ashraf Ghani – Pashtun

 

Amarullah Saleh -Tajik

 

Sarwar Danish–Hazara
2. Abdullah Abdullah –Mixed Pashtun – Tajik Enayatullah Babur Farahmand - Uzbek Asadullah Saadati – Hazara
3. Mohammad Hanif Atmar – Pashtun MY Qanooni – Tajik

 

HM Mohaqiq – Hazara

 

It would not be wrong to conclude that a Pashtun-Tajik-Hazara mix seems to be a strong combination in the assessment of the politicians. It may also be because of this reason that Dr Abdullah Abdullah who has a filial connection with both Pashtuns and Tajiks did fare very well in the 2014 elections.

Therefore it would be correct to surmise that even a Taliban government, in case it is to exercise control over complete Afghanistan would need some modicum of power sharing. Reportedly in 1996 the Taliban had offered Ahmad Shah Massoud (a Tajik) the Prime Ministership which he did not accept because it was based on the condition that Afghanistan would not be ruled democratically but as an emirate. One hopes that at the present times the Taliban would be more accommodating and accept a power sharing arrangement where there is either a democracy as the NUG has or a democracy where fixed electoral seats are apportioned on ethnic lines.

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