This week’s presidential election in Afghanistan will be an elaborate piece of political theater designed to show increasingly uneasy Western voters that progress is being made in the war-torn nation after seven years of US-led occupation.
Most Afghans already believe they know who will win the vote: the candidate chosen by the United States and its NATO allies.
Voting will mostly be held in urban areas, under the guns of US and NATO troops. The countryside, ruled by Taliban, who are often local farmers moonlighting as fighters, is too dangerous for this electoral charade. Over half of Afghanistan is under Taliban influence by day, 75% at night.