Sunday, August 13, 2006

Nation Building at Gunpoint

Even though this article is very long there is so much specific information here that I wanted it to be posted. It raises some questions: where do the Taliban get their money? No longer is money a problem for them. Dignifying and to laundering the reputations "of the worst war criminals in the country"? In the long run, much depends on how these people behave.

July 15 (Sydney Morning Herald)

By Paul McGeough

In a land where the Taliban will pay $US25,000 for the body of an MP, many question the Afghan parliament's ability to help build real democracy, writes Paul McGeough.

As a warlord with all the backing of his Alokozai tribal elders, Dad Mohammed Khan did not stoop to campaigning for his seat in Afghanistan's infant parliament. Suspicious electoral officials disallowed several ballot boxes in which the heavy- set candidate scored 100 per cent. But Khan still topped the vote in Helmand province, a parched southern wasteland that local opium farmers and smugglers call the valley of death. And within days of the poll, the spilling of more blood cruelly punctured Khan's air of expectation and his urge to celebrate - his brother Daoud, the security chief in the province's Sangin district, was mowed down in a hail of Taliban bullets as he and four of his bodyguards emerged from the local bazaar. All 350 members of the new parliament have been threatened or attacked for having the courage to take their place in Afghanistan's new American-sponsored democratic order. But none of their stories comes anywhere near the butchery the resurgent Taliban was storing up for Khan.

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