Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: Kabul, Afghanistan

Combined Joint Task Force 82 (CJTF 82, US National Command Element in Afghanistan) reported retaking the city of Barge Matal in eastern Nuristan Province, from the Taliban on July 13th.  Nothing out of the ordinary there, a common tactic of the Taliban is to find an area that doesn’t have a strong military presence, move in and take over.  They then post some videos on the web, call a reporter and claim to have taken over an entire province.  The reporter then dutifully relays this to the AP or Reuters where it is picked up and trumpeted to the world by the MSM.  The reporters and the MSM are invariably absent when the Taliban run away as soon as they see military forces approaching, as they did this time.  The only thing out of the ordinary was what the US and Afghan Forces found after securing the city.


While securing the area, service members discovered several large weapons caches, including one in a local hotel, known for housing anti-Afghan forces in the area.

ANSF and ISAF also found a bag containing more than 80 voter registration cards taken from women in the area. The cards are believed to be evidence of insurgents desire to disrupt the national elections, scheduled for late August, by denying women the right to vote.


The Taliban are extreme fundamentalists, their first actions upon taking over a city such as Barge Matal is to send “vice patrols” into the streets, beating women who do not cover their faces and men who do not wear beards, destroying compact disks in music stores and accusing then hanging “spies who cooperated with the Foreign Forces.”  Confiscating voter registration cards from women is a no-brainer from a group that formerly executed women accused of adultery in soccer stadiums.


With the Presidential Elections scheduled for August 20th, the Taliban released a statement on July 30th calling for Taliban fighters to “block all roads” to the polling places and included these gems:


“All Afghans, in line with their Afghan and Islamic principles, must boycott this deceiving American process

“To achieve real independence instead of going to fake election centers, they must go to jihadi trenches, and through resistance and jihad they must free their invaded country from the invaders.”


The Afghan people aren’t falling for the Taliban call to their “jihadi trenches.”  An International Republican Institute poll (found here), completed in May, shows 74% of Afghans have registered and 59% of those polled, plan to exercise their right to vote.   22% of Afghans planning on not voting cite “security” as the reason.  Data from our 2008 election shows 79% registered and of those 90% actually voted.  Comparing threats from terrorists, IEDs, roadblocks and suicide bombers that the Afghans will face to a couple of Black Panthers that Americans were forced to brave, the numbers are very close.


Afghan President Hamid Karzai faces 36 other contenders for the position, although the IRI poll gives him a huge lead.  When asked “If the election were held today for whom would you vote?” 31% answered Karzai and his approval rating was at 69%.  Routinely criticized in the Western media, the election seems to be his to lose. 


There have already been questions of the fairness of the upcoming elections and threats of violence have been reported in the press.  Democracy International has been awarded cooperative agreement by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to conduct an international election observation mission.  Maybe we can get them to observe ACORN in our next election.    


The Taliban clearly fear the upcoming elections, giving the people of Afghanistan another taste of control over their own government and their own destiny is not in the Taliban’s best interest.  Their fear, coupled with the ongoing unrest in Iran, is a visible mark of success in the Global War on Terror.  It’s not over, the end isn’t even in sight in Afghanistan or Iraq but there are signs of success.  Let’s hope Obama continues to ignore the ONLY small success in his foreign policy, if he notices, like he did Iran, Honduras, Israel, North Korea, Georgia and Russia, those small signs of success are likely to have the carpet jerked out from under them.


Originally posted on The Minority Report