The Taliban have called for a general boycott of the upcoming November 7 Afghan runoff vote between Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The Taliban called for a similar boycott during the first round, as well as threatened widespread violence.While the threats proved mostly empty (there were relatively few attacks at polling stations), only 30% of Afghans voted.
Given the massive fraud last round and the deterioriating weather, expect even lower turnout this time around. For that reason, I previously argued why a power-sharing arrangement would better serve both Afghan and American interests.
This past month has been a public relations bonanaza for the Taliban. In an article on the Taliban official English website (yes, they do use computers), they boast, "it is now clear as broad day light that the August 20 elections in Afghanistan was readily ludicrous and preposterous which caused more shame and disgrace to the surrogate regime in Kabul." They cite specifically "fraud, ballot stuffing and corruption," as well as how long it took the Afghan government to sort through the results.
Nothing too radical yet, except the usage of "surrogate" which implies they believe it's only a matter of time before the Taliban retakes control. But the Taliban being the Taliban, they can't resist themselves and go into crazy jihad mode. Claiming that the Americans don't want to help the Afghans, they contend, "The roads, which have been asphalted, is only for the facility of the invaders military logistic who want to reach their destinations on time and to prevent road side bombs. Still they have not asphalted the roads according to the international standard of road tarmac."
If only the Taliban followed the international conventions of warfare as closely as the all-important Global Tarmac Protocols! And who exactly is responsible for those roadside bombs again?
But they're not done yet. They continue, "as to other rehabilitation and reconstruction work, they raise only empty slogans, which have not been materialized." Thus do they reveal their strategy. Stop reconstruction efforts violently. Blame Americans for not reconstructing fast enough. Fool the Afghan population. Win the population over.
How are we losing this one again?