Monday, May 4, 2009

Afghan Prez Chooses Warlord as Running Mate

While the country of Afghanistan is supposed to be moving forward into modernity we see that our "allies" in Afghanistan have recently enacted a Shiite law that allows men not to feed their wives if they refuse to have sex with them. This laws does not sound very modern to me and to add to it, President Karzai has now chosen a brutal warlord to be one of his vice presidential running mates. So are we moving forwards or backwards here?

Afghan president chooses warlord as running mate

KABUL – President Hamid Karzai chose a powerful warlord accused of rights abuses as one of his vice presidential running mates on Monday, hours before leaving for meetings in Washington with President Barack Obama and Pakistan's president.

The selection of Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a top commander in the militant group Jamiat-e-Islami during Afghanistan's 1990s civil war, drew immediate criticism from human rights groups.

A 2005 Human Rights Watch report, "Blood-Stained Hands," found "credible and consistent evidence of widespread and systematic human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law" were committed by Jamiat commanders, including Fahim.

Karzai was "insulting the country" with the choice, the New York-based group said Monday.

Fahim served as Karzai's first vice president during the country's interim government put in place after the ouster of the Taliban in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. During the 2004 election, Karzai dropped Fahim from his ticket in favor of Ahmad Zia Massood — the brother of resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massood, who was assassinated by al-Qaida two days before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Under Afghan law, the president has two vice presidents.

"To see Fahim back in the heart of government would be a terrible step backwards for Afghanistan," said Brad Adams, the group's Asia director. "He is widely believed by many Afghans to be still involved in many illegal activities, including running armed militias, as well as giving cover to criminal gangs and drug traffickers."

The U.S. Embassy would not comment, saying it wasn't helpful for the United States to comment on individual candidates. However, a U.S. statement said, "We believe the election is an opportunity for Afghanistan to move forward with leaders who will strengthen national unity."

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