Registration for elections in Afghanistan were due to start on 1st December but now have been postponed until April next year.
Not enough money coming in to Afghanistan. ISAF planned to expand their security operations outside Kabul but they need 12 helecoptors for just Kabul and only have three. Without security it is going to be very difficult to have viable elections here.Also most of the money for the elections is based on voluntary donor funding and donor countries have not given enough. I believe we are still $50,000,000 short. This is less than a quarter of a B2 Stealth bomber!
UNAMA (UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) was recently bombed in kandahar and a UNHCR international was shot in her vehicle Gardez. There are signs up in the streets of Gardez asking people to kill all foreigners. This targeting of internationals was predictable so why was nothing done? Now UN is taking panic retroactive actions. There should have been better security. In addition there is no need for us to be here if there are no problems. We have to accept some risk.
All UN are supposed to stay in security complient housing. Many have not been doing so because there is not enough housing avaiable and it is very expensive. This was common knowledge. Only now that it has been aknowledged officially people are covering their backs and taking action. This housing should have been planned and organised from the start of the UN mission here. Instead they brought UNVs (UN Volunteers) into the country without enough housing being available and left them to find their own accommodation. Now the deployment of all UNVs has been suspended until further notice.
In addition there are protests in Kabul and other areas about the Constitution by youth, women and minority Uzbeks as they say it does not make adequate provision for them. Many do not want an American style presidential system with the US man, Kazai, as president.
Disarmament of heavy weapons is beginning here in the north tomorrow. However, one of the two main war lords does not support the process and can see his power disapating so there could be trouble. He is trying to play a political game looking for power in the new administration so is unlikely to be directly involved in fighting but his commanders are likely to be allowing him some deniability. He is an illiterate ex security officer who has killed one of his wives when drunk. An ideal minister in the new government.
I believe the elections will happen this year because Bush has his elections this year and wants to point to Afghanistan as a success story which Iraq will become. However, how representative they are of the Afghan people will depend on how much the international community cares and is willing to pay. Iraq is a black hole to pour money into while there is a possibility of a success in Afghanistan and the start of a representative govenment and peace. I doubt this will happen. Instead US political short term motives will dominate.