On Wednesday, November 25 the International Crisis Group convened to discuss the corruption surrounding Afghanistan’s 2009 elections, as well as the many reforms needed to regain stability within the Afghani government. Their briefing report, Afghanistan: Elections and the Crisis of Governance, contends that the unscrupulous process by which Hamid Karzai was re-elected president suggests a lack of competence and/or concern for preventing such corruption on the parts of both the international community as well as Afghanistan. One Crisis Group Senior Analyst maintained that Karzai’s reinstatement as president under Afghanistan’s severely flawed electoral process, “’ handed the Taliban a huge public relations victory’”.
With the intention of restoring political stability and faith in both the national and international communities, the International Crisis Group proposed a number of reformative actions. Among their many stipulations is the recommendation that individuals with ties to violent and/or criminal organizations be prohibited from holding government positions. The report also calls for an in-depth assessment of the August 2009 elections with the intention of prosecuting those responsible for the fraudulent elections. The Crisis Group also highlighted the need for constitutional reforms that would balance out the distribution of power and resources across the three government branches, as well as the across the regional communities. In addition to the many policy reforms, the Crisis Group also strongly suggests that Kai Eide, the chief of the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), resign from his position, together with a thorough review of the UNAMA’s Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow (ELECT) program and the details of their involvement with Afghanistan’s electoral process.
While the International Crisis Group report detailed specific reform tactics, the crux of their message stressed how crucial it is for Afghanistan to first restore the integrity of its government before being able to effectively combat the insurgency.