- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
Abdullah: Afghan parliamentary election a ‘big test’
Question of the Day
Former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah warned on Monday that a rigged parliamentary election in his country will be much more catastrophic than the discredited presidential election in August that prompted him to abandon his challenge to President Hamid Karzai.
He said he dropped out of the runoff contest with Mr. Karzai last year because he was worried that Afghans would be subjected to the “same painful process” that would disappoint them, adding that he urged his supporters not to protest in the streets.
But in the event of a rigged parliamentary election, hundreds of candidates would find themselves in a situation similar to his, which could lead to a security crisis, he said at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Monday.
Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan are scheduled for September.
Mr. Abdullah said it was imperative for the international community to prevent a repeat of the previous election fiasco because “your taxpayers are paying for our elections, and your soldiers are providing security.”
“This is a big test for the people of Afghanistan and our friends,” he said.
He did not favor calling off the elections, saying that would undermine the parliament’s legitimacy, but he added that the vote should be postponed if it lacks an acceptable level of credibility. He is not a candidate in this election.
Mr. Abdullah’s visit to Washington, which is packed with a series of speaking engagements at think tanks as well as an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Tuesday, comes on the heels of Mr. Karzai’s visit earlier this month.
Mr. Karzai’s visit followed a strained period in the U.S.-Afghan relationship, the low point of which was the Afghan president’s threat to join the Taliban if the U.S. did not stop pressing him on reform. Those differences appeared to have been resolved by the time the Afghan leader was in Washington this month.
Mr. Abdullah described as insulting suggestions that Afghanistan has no alternative to Mr. Karzai.
Unlike Mr. Karzai, who was courted by senior officials in the Obama administration, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Abdullah told The Times he has no meetings scheduled with administration officials.
But his message is clear: The international community must broaden its engagement with the people of Afghanistan instead of investing all its efforts into mollycoddling Mr. Karzai.
“What is at stake for you is much more than the fate of one person, so your investment has to be in the people of Afghanistan,” Mr. Abdullah said.
He described as a “missed opportunity” a U.S. decision to back a second term for Mr. Karzai after the Aug. 20 election, which international monitors said had been rigged in the president’s favor.
“You are a big nation. You can recover from mistakes. But can we?” he said. “If we fail, you fail.”
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Boko Haram takes credit for abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls, threatens to sell them
- Al Qaeda core degraded, but 'more aggressive' affiliates still pose threat to U.S.
- Political uncertainty and violence in first Iraqi election since U.S. withdraw
- Egypt judge sentences 683 Islamists to death over Morsi-tied violence
- Doctor's killing in latest Afghanistan attack puts NGOs in crosshairs
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq