Posted by: endithinks | October 16, 2009

On Afghanistan and reelections

Today we have found out that due to the rampant election fraud in Afghanistan that President Karzai now has dropped to forty seven percent which according to the Afghan constitution automatically triggers a run off election.  Excellent.  Karzai has been the worst strategic partner we have had to deal with in years.  Even Pakistan is doing a better job and that is saying quite a bit considering how we pandered and dithered with Pakistan for all those years with its military leadership getting millions for absolutely no reason.

Now that a runoff has been declared this will definitely put the Afghan question into a new light.  What if the presidency of Afghanistan goes to Abdullah Abdullah? Mr. Abdullah is the leading opponent of Karzai and from what I’ve been able to read about him, he seems like a reformer who wants to actually make Afghanistan a working country instead of a collection of tribes, a few big cities and hundreds of miles of mountainous ruin.  You can read more about Abdullah here.

My views on the war in Afghanistan are well documented in this very blog, but as a quick reminder…I’m against it.  The war is not being won because we do not have a clear mission, we are fighting a country that held off the second strongest military for over ten years (Soviet Union) and the countryside is made for guerrilla fighters.  Mountains, deserts, plains and crags, dust, storms and plenty of choke points in mountain passes.  In fact in proportion Afghanistan is deadlier to our soldiers than Iraq.

Of course all these arguments mean nothing to a stubborn leadership who has adopted this war as a sign of manliness.  This is the major problem I have with the Obama administration is the seeming continuation and escalation of a war that cannot be won without hundreds of thousands of soldiers and a nation building civilian effort.  Once again lets look at the facts about Afghanistan.  (Taken from the CIA factbook).  Pay attention to the life expectancy and literacy rates…

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
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Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
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Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%
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Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 28.1%
male: 43.1%
female: 12.6% (2000 est.)
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total: 8 years
male: 11 years
female: 4 years (2004)
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NA
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28.396 million (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

note: this is a significantly revised figure; the previous estimate of 33,609,937 was extrapolated from the last Afghan census held in 1979, which was never completed because of the Soviet invasion; a new Afghan census is scheduled to take place in 2010
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0-14 years: 44.5% (male 7,664,670/female 7,300,446)
15-64 years: 53% (male 9,147,846/female 8,679,800)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 394,572/female 422,603) (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 17.6 years
male: 17.6 years
female: 17.6 years (2009 est.)
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2.629% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
45.46 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
19.18 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
urban population: 24% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 151.95 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 3

male: 156.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 147.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total population: 44.64 years

country comparison to the world: 214

male: 44.47 years
female: 44.81 years (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
6.53 children born/woman (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

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