War in Afghanistan and Pakistan - Part 9

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Wilf Day

Someone asked earlier why journalists embed, rather than going out on their own to talk to the Taliban.

Here's an interesting story of what happened when David Rhode did so.


Wilf Day

Secular nationalists sweep Swat by-election:

Not only did the governing Awami Party win convincingly in Swat, but the candidate of the previous Islamist government, former Science and Technology Minister, ran fourth.

Trailing in the fourth position was Hussain Ahmed Kanju, a former minister in the 2002 to 2007 provincial government, formed by a coalition of religious parties.

Residents said Mr Kanju was popular because he had overseen a significant amount of development work in the constituency while in office.

Even his agents at polling station No23 said that they expected him to fare poorly because voters blamed the religious parties for allowing the Taliban threat to fester unchallenged until the outbreak of insurgency in August 2008.

Rehmat Ali secured 6,952 votes.

Jalat Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q was the runner-up with 3,304 votes. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf candidate Sher Khan secured 3,208 votes and Hussain Ahmed Kanju of the Jamaat-e-Islami remained on the last position with 2,820 votes. Kanju of the JI had won the 2002 election from the platform of six-party religious alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), with an overwhelming majority.

MPA-elect Rehmat Ali Khan, who won the seat of his slain brother Dr Shamsher Ali Khan in the NWFP Assembly by-election in Swat, has attributed his victory to the Awami National Party’s policy for peace and his family’s sacrifices against terrorism in the militancy-stricken Malakand division.

Despite being the youngest brother of Dr Shamsher, who was killed in a suicide attack at his hujra in Dherai in Swat’s Kabal tehsil on November 30 last year, had no option when all the units of his party and well-wishers nominated him as ANP candidate for the by-election on PF-83 Swat.

“My two brothers, Shaukat Ali and Mohammad Ali, had sustained injuries in the bomb blast that killed Doctor Sahib (Shamsher) and I had no choice but to contest the polls,” the 35-year old Rehmat Ali told The News by phone. He said he had an edge over his opponents as the election campaign was carried out by those who had love for peace and hate for terrorism. 

He said his family was not new to politics. “My father Abdur Rasheed had hoisted the ANP flag on his house when Swat was still a princely state and ruled by the Wali sahib,” he recalled.



Well it doesn't sound like the USA's former proxies in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 are very popular in Swat.


Yeah, they lost the election in Afghanistan too - not one single vote! Democracy is just around the corner.



Unionist wrote:

Yeah, they lost the election in Afghanistan too - not one single vote! Democracy is just around the corner.

The Taliban's is not really their Islam in Afghanistan according to several web essays I've read. Nor has Pakistan been transformed into a purely ideologically driven state since the 1980's. Or at least, not to the extent that Iran has become since CIA meddling in that country began in the 1950's.  According to Ahmed Rashid, the Taliban could not have swept through Afghanistan without funding from Washington through Islamabad. And Tariq Ali says the Taliban might have been more popular by 2000 if they'd offered the people peace and bread instead of the gross human rights violations and radical fundamentalism that they did project onto Afghans while US proxies in Kabul.

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