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10 reasons Dr. Ramazan Bashardost must be elected President of Afghanistan

Kabul Press endorses Bashardost
Robert Maier
Wednesday 12 August 2009

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The election for President of Afghanistan is now just a few days away. Readers of Kabul Press?’ Dari pages have seen extensive coverage of Dr. Bashardost’s campaign for several months. Main stream international Western media such as The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian (UK), BBC and NPR have recently carried in-depth stories on Bashardost. In the last days of the campaign, Kabul Press would like to re-state for English speakers the reasons it has strongly supported Bashardost.

Western-financed polls including one released today, funded by the U.S. government have shown Bashardost in a distant 3rd or fourth position, after Karzai, Abdullah and Ghani. However, Kabul Press?’ sources in Afghanistan say that Bashardost in a near tie with Karzai. It is essential that those seeking true change in Afghanistan get out and vote for Bashardost—here’s why:

1. Bashardost’s campaign expenditures have been extremely low; he will not be influenced by large contributions from people expecting political payback. He does not bribe voters with free phone cards, meals or cash like other candidates. As of today, Bashardost’s campaign has spent just under $8,500. In contrast, Karzai has received millions of dollars from individuals, banks, and businesses. Abdullah Abdullah has received millions from the same types of sources, including $300,000 from businessman Haji Zalmai. These sums are public record.

2. Bashardost has no ties to corrupt individuals or organizations. He has never been the subject of any investigation for corruption. In fact, he resigned in protest from the Afghan government when he saw there was little effort to impede corruption.

3. Bashardost believes in creating a Transitional Justice Team to investigate and prosecute alleged war criminals who have tainted the Afghan government at so many levels. These persons will be ineligible to hold any government position, and may be tried for war crimes.

4. Bashardost is a well-educated populist who refuses the trappings of power like $40,000 armored SUVs, bodyguards, expensive offices, and big expense accounts. He represents everyone in Afghanistan, not just the wealthy and powerful.

5. Bashardost is a fearless supporter of human rights, freedom of speech, and gender and ethnic equality. He will work to immediately release political prisoners such as young journalist Parwiz Khambaksh, who was illegally imprisoned for 20 years by the Karzai government for “blasphemy.”

6. Bashardost’s Afghan colleagues have expertise in all areas of government including public administration, health, agriculture, justice, education, and economics. He will create a government lead by ministers untainted by associations with right-wing foreign think-tanks, Afghan warlords, and multi-national corporations.

7. Bashardost will take immediate steps to see that religion is not used in un-Islamic ways to justify discrimination or any sort, or to interfere with Afghanistan’s constitution.

8. Bashardost will initiate a strong national literacy program. He strongly supports education for all.

9. Bashardost believes that Afghanistan has the natural resources to become energy self-sufficient and will develop a combination of hydro, wind and solar electric generators, as well as gas and oil resources to supply reliable electricity to every city and town in Afghanistan.

10. Bashardost will ask Coalition military troops to remain in Afghanistan, but adjust their tactics to accommodate the new political reality of an honest Afghan government. Coalition forces would shield the fairly elected government from a coup d’etat by warlords. Coalition military would build an honest Afghan police force and army. In numerous meetings, he has been told that the insurgents’ issue is with a corrupt government, not American or coalition forces. This is one reason why Dr. Bashardost has travelled to every province in Afghanistan without body guards, and without a threat or violent incident. He is seen as the only candidate who will lead Afghanistan to a peaceful, productive future.

Kamran Mir Hazar contributed to this article.


Kabulpress English pages editor, writer, video producer and educator.

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Forum posts

  • We love dr. Bashardost.

    • Dr Ramazan Bashardost is the person who can feel the pain of our poor people.He is the best amongst all.

    • I think that the biggest problem of Afghanistan is administrative corruption, according to a reliyable investagation Afghanistan is in fifth rank in administrative corruption.
      So if Dr. Bashardost be the president of Afghanistan he would make a useful system of government, because it is obvios to everyone that Dr. Bashardost is a honest person, on the other hand, this is also obvios that he is a good manager too as we see in his ministry period.
      (at least we should accept this)

  • And one Very, Very Big Reason for appointing him to an alternative post..

    In response to the above article by Robert Maier (RM), which lists 10 reasons why Afghans should elect Dr. Ramazan Bashardost as the next President of Afghanistan, I would like to humbly argue the opposing case, namely, that Dr. Bashardost should not be elected as President of Afghanistan. My counter-argument rests not on 10 opposing reasons but instead on only 1: Afghanistan is not ready for a squeaky-clean politician. Read on if you require more convincing, or are simply curious as to why I make this obvious claim.

    Before you begin shaking your head and clicking your tongue at my seeming stupidity (the voting is already over), please note that the argument presented below is a valid and useful one, even if the election is a done deal (though it looks as if President Karzai may be forced into a second round, which would be good for Afghanistan, as nothing short of a second round would seem to clear the air at this point… I will have more to say on a later occasion on the subject of the reports of widespread corruption during this election and the effect it could have on the U.S. as well as on other NATO member countries, both in terms of pecuniary as well as human-life costs).

    If Afghanistan were a country of independent-thinking, independent-acting individuals, then a candidate like Dr. Bashardost just might be a good idea, though most idealists - which is what Dr. Bashardost appears to be - are too uncompromising in their everyday political dealings to rule effectively; pragmatists generally achieve better results (one is reminded of the scene in the Hollywood film, Lawrence of Arabia, where, after Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) and his rag-tag army of Bedu manage to overrun Aqaba, Prince Feisal (Sir Alec Guiness) remarks to General Allenby (Jack Hawkins) something to the effect that miracles notwithstanding (it was indeed something of a miracle that Aqaba could at all be taken by land, not to speak of it having been taken by a rag-tag army of Bedu under the command of an uncompromising European idealist), the everyday affairs of the real world were best left to cynical pragmatists like himself and the general, not to uncompromising idealists like T.E. Lawrence and Auda abu Tayi (Anthony Quinn), the leader of the Howeitat tribe who made up a significant contingent of Lawrence’s rag-tag army).

    Afghanistan is a country characterized by deep ethnic divisions (in the north live mainly Tajiks while the south is mainly inhabited by Pashtuns, and caught in the middle are the Hazaras) and by clan and tribal loyalties. Most of the Tajiks no doubt voted for Tajik candidates in the latest elections, the large majority of the Pashtuns no doubt voted for Pashtun candidates, and probably all of the Hazaras who voted cast their ballots for Hazara candidates. But not only did these voters align themselves with their respective ethnic groups, they most likely voted for a candidate who belongs to their clan or tribe. Moreover, local and regional warlords still weild power in Afghanistan whether we in the West like it or not, and U.S./ NATO attempts at pushing this issue too vigorously would be about as counterproductive as destroying the poppy fields of ordinary Afghan farmers - this is an issue that has to be addressed from within Afghan society, albeit, with a bit of prodding from watchdog organizations from both within and without Afghanistan.

    Getting the Afghans to think and act independently and critically is not as simple as offering them the opportunity to cross tribal or ethnic lines and vote according to one’s larger social conscience, for everyday life in Pashtun, Tajik and Hazara villages is inextricably tied up with a tribal and/or ethnic pecking order. Therefore, if one wishes to foster the notion of independent voting in Afghanistan, the ethnic and/or tribal pecking order will have to be dismantled, and this cannot be done in radical steps else it will provoke something near a revolution. It has to be done in gradual steps, where the authority of the ethnic and tribal leaders is weakened by gradually removing the purse strings from their hands.

    Right now, the U.S. and NATO are not at all interested in tackling this problem - and rightly so, as it would be counterproductive: it would only drive tribal chieftans into the arms of the "opposition" (the Taliban), much like the ill-advised dismissal of the Iraqi Army by Ambassador Paul Bremer (the Last Viceroy of Iraq) during the summer of 2003, in an attempt to "de-Baathify" Iraq (i.e., rid Iraq of its dominating Baath Party influences) drove the unemployed and thus disgruntled Iraqi military folk directly into the arms of the Iraqi "opposition" (the various ethno-sectarian insurgencies).

    This is the main reason why Afghanistan is not ready for a squeaky-clean politician like Dr. Bashardost, i.e., a politician who is not only free from corruption in the usual, or pecuniary, sense but also in the power sense, because the very pecking order of power in Afghanistan is such that the vote of an entire tribe may lie in the hands of a single person, the tribal chieftan. It is unrealistic to imagine that this will change anytime soon, even though Afghanistan could make leaps and bounds toward a brighter material future if it were to abandon such tribal links, for these tie the country to its backward past, making progress difficult.

    In Africa, where similar tribal bonds exist, massive amounts of aid monies have over the decades been squandered on development projects that were supposed to improve the lives of the people, but which instead only improved the lives of the elite, i.e., the holders of power, since these individuals and their close families and supporters were able to divert the funds to projects built on their own or their relatives’/ their friends’ land parcels (the parcels were of course purchased at wildly inflated prices, and the sand, cement and other materials were purchased from companies owned by relatives and friends - also at wildly inflated prices), and where the location in question was not only not optimal, but was often completely unsuitable, with the result that the mill or factory in question was either never put to use or quickly fell into disuse. The same kind of corruption is quite possibly rampant in today’s Afghanistan, profiting mainly members of the ruling elite.

    Which leads us to my suggestion for an alternative role for Dr. Bashardost: he should be appointed as an anti-corruption watchdog and given the broadest powers to investigate and indict anyone caught with his fingers in the cookie jar, including going after warlords and members of the top echelons of government if the trail should lead that high up. Of course, if Dr. Bashardost were to be given such a post - and assuming that he would accept it - then he would have to abandon his hitherto reluctance to make use of bodyguards, as there would be plenty of people - maybe even entire tribes if not entire ethnic communities - that would have a vested interested in seeing "Dr. Watchdog" eliminated.

    Which reminds me that one of my first reactions when I read the "10 Reasons" article by RM is that I wanted to reply that the reason why Dr. Bashardost has hitherto been able to roam freely about the country unharmed is that no one saw him as a threat, i.e., no one gave Dr. Bashardost’s political campaign to become Afghanistan’s next president an even remote chance of succeeding. Had they believed that Dr. Bashardost might become the next President of Afghanistan, Dr. Bashardost might well have been assassinated the first time he ventured out of his house. This also explains why Dr. Bashardost did not receive large campaign funds: who wants to bet on a sure loser???!

    I believe that Dr. Bashardost, as "Dr. Watchdog", would be a tremendous asset to Afghanistan’s public image, both within Afghanistan as well as without, even if it should turn out that Dr. Bashardost is unable to make corruption charges stick against the big fish inside Afghanistan, for the mere fact of having brought indictments against those big fish will have the effect of weakening their power.

    You see, while it might be counterproductive for the U.S. to independently move against such highly-placed corrupt individuals, the U.S. (and ditto for other NATO member countries) can easily and non-counterproductively move against them should it turn out that the international court of public opinion - which will have reverberations in NATO capitals as well as in NATO-country parliaments - finds them guilty. Since parliaments fund nation-building as well as war efforts, parliaments can refuse to grant funds if those monies are to end up in the hands of individuals who are deemed to be tainted, whether or not their cases came to court or not, or, if they did, whether or not the parties were found guilty.

    The reason why NATO countries can non-counterproductively move against such tainted individuals is that it will not be the governments nor their military personnel, nor even their respective ambassadors to Afghanistan who are taking this punitive action, but the respective countries’ lawmakers (parliaments) who are forcing the hands of governments, generals, ambassadors, etc.

    The problem for Afghanistan’s well-wishers will be in keeping "Dr. Watchdog" alive long enough to bring those indictments...

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So-Called Afghanistan Comprises Diverse Stateless Nations, Including the Hazara, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkmen, Pashtun/Afghan, and Nuristani With No Majority or National Identity.

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