Thursday 21 September 2017

Secret election deal to keep Karzai in power and avoid bloodshed

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

Jerome Starkey in Kabul

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

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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