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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future