Thursday 8 December 2016

Secret election deal to keep Karzai in power and avoid bloodshed

Jerome Starkey in Kabul

Published 07/08/2009 | 00:00

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai waves at his supporters during a campaign gathering in Baghlan province
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai waves at his supporters during a campaign gathering in Baghlan province

'The whole country is armed with weapons. You have to keep everyone happy'

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With less than two weeks to go until national elections, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, is trying to cut a secret deal with one of his rivals to knock out his leading contender and ensure a decisive victory, to avoid the chaos that a tight result might unleash.

Afghanistan's second democratic polls threaten to split the country along sectarian lines. That would risk undermining US and British-led peace efforts which are already under pressure from a resurgent Taliban.

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