Cultural Revolutions

Afghanistan's Democratic Process

George W. Bush bailed last September's parliamentary election in Afghanistan as "a major step forward" for the country's democratic process. When the results were published at the end of October, however, it became obvious that the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) will be dominated by warlords, veteran jihadists, and former Taliban officials.

The new legislature will include Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the head of the Ittihad-e-Tslami (Islamic Union Party), who was mentioned in the September 11 Commission Report as a mentor to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind behind the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. It will also include Hazara warlord Mohammed Mohaqiq, notorious for hammering nails into the heads of captives; the Jamiat-i-Islami's Younis Qanooni, guilty of countless atrocities during the civil war in the 1990's; and many others tainted by violence and criminality.

The most tangible effect of the Afghan election in the United States and Europe will be the continued easy availability of heroin. The Taliban regime was brutally effective in curtailing the production of opium, but output has skyrocketed under its U.S.-sponsored successors. Afghanistan now provides more than three quarters of the world's supply, and drug exports account for over one half of the country's gross domestic product. Twenty-eight out of the country's 32 provinces now produce the drug crop, up from...

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