Monday, January 16, 2006

Acts of Parliament

Amin Tarzi of RFE-RL has a new report on what the Afghan Parliament has been up to and what it might mean for the country. He identifies populism as body's main political stance, as it has come out against security barriers around foreign interests in Kabul which make life difficult for residents, and may look at alleged NGO profiteering in the country.

Tarzi sets this in the context of a power struggle between President Hamid Karzai and opposition forces in the Parliament, with the distribution of power within the Afghan political framework as the main issue. I'm not sure process issues are what's really driving this, though, as it could be simple factionalism between the Karzai regime and its opponents, with both blocks defined with little regard to ideology.

What's also troubling is what it could mean for Afghanistan's reconstruction. If you crack down on foreign interests, especially in ways that could affect their security, then they will eventually leave. However, Afghanistan still needs a lot of assistance from outside. If NGO's and foreign governments are in some manner driven away, then Afghanistan will be left to fend for itself just as surely as it was in the early 1990's.

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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