Afghan warlords retain power despite democracy
In the all-important province of Kabul, which has 33 seats in parliament, with 65 per cent of votes counted the Hazara warlord Mohammed Mohaqiq emerged as a clear front-runner, with the former Northern Alliance official Younis Qanooni close behind.
A rare bright spot was provided by Malalai Joya, a female candidate who made her name by denouncing the warlords, and won a seat on a big popular vote in one of the first provinces to declare. But her success was overshadowed by the candidate running fourth in Kabul and almost certain to claim a seat, the notorious warlord Abd al-Rab Al-Rasual Sayyaf, a former ally of Osama bin Laden and alleged war criminal.
Mr Sayyaf was running well even after ballots from his stronghold district of Paghman were excluded because of vote fraud that included widespread ballot-stuffing, according to election officials.
Mr Sayyaf was an associate of Bin Laden during the jihad against the Soviet occupation. In the years that followed, future al-Qa'ida members are believed to have trained at Mr Sayyaf's mujahedin camps.
Human Rights Watch has accused Mr Sayyaf of war crimes during the siege of Kabul, when his Ittihad-e Islami factions massacred Hazara civilians. He now looks set to occupy a prominent position in parliament.
The initial results that trickled through yesterday, almost three weeks after the election, are testament to the complicated task of retrieving ballot boxes from Afghanistan's remote mountain regions. Only the south-western provinces of Farah and Nimroz declared yesterday.
Ms Joya, who was elected from Farah, shot to prominence at the jirga to agree the new constitution two years ago, when she made an outspoken attack on the warlords and their continuing influence in Afghanistan. Although a quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for women, Ms Jalalai did not win her seat by virtue of the quota, but came second overall in the province, which elects five members to parliament.
Although candidates' party allegiances were not allowed on the ballot papers, an opposition alliance against President Hamid Karzai looked to be doing well as counting continued. Mr Qanooni, a Tajik who came second in last year's presidential elections, is the leader of a coalition of opposition parties and was already being spoken of as the leader of the opposition before the polls. Mr Mohaqiq is one of his allies. If their New Afghanistan coalition secures enough seats, they could pose a serious opposition to President Karzai in parliament.
Another apparent winner was Bashar Dost, who was third overall in Kabul province. Mr Dost, a former planning minister, campaigned on a platform of expelling the majority of Western NGOs from Afghanistan, claiming they were siphoning off funds intended to rebuild the country as profits. His strong showing is a signal that Afghans' goodwill towards foreign aid workers is waning as the reconstruction of the country stalls.
Among the major losers appeared to be former Taliban candidates. A handful of former Taliban, including the ex-foreign minister who warned the US about the 9/11 attacks, Mullah Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, stood as candidates, but most looked unlikely to win. Only Mullah Abdul Salam Rocketi looked set to be elected in Zabol province.
The final results are expected on 22 October.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...