Photo courtesy Sanwal Tariq (Facebook)
The entire world watches on and waits with bated breath for the results of ANTM (Afghanistan’s next top man) and three main contenders have emerged as the leading candidates in what is to be Afghanistan’s first democratic transition. We have the people’s champion, Abdullah Abdullah, “with a name so nice, you have to say it twice”. Contesting against him is the good doctor Ashraf Ghani, who will seemingly use debate and logical arguments to thwart the Taliban (we all know how well that works). And the third horse is the one being backed by the outgoing president, the ‘king’s man’, Mr Zalimai Rasoul.
Our people’s champion is a well-known politician, who is well received by the Afghani public, judging from the 31% of the votes he got in the presidential elections of 2009. While he is experienced in international diplomacy, and as Foreign Minister was responsible for broadening ties with the global community, his plans to tackle terrorism and fix the security situation in the country are still a mystery. He has advised the Taliban to change their ways if they are to be brought into the fold of the rest of society through dialogue, which is like telling a dog to stop using its nose to formulate likes and dislikes. His election campaign is centered around putting the lid on corruption in the country.
The doctor is an academic and an intellectual, and is famous for his economic acumen alongside his self-imposed exile during the Taliban years. Believed to be temperamental and on occasion, volatile, it remains to be seen whether he is as inconsistent as his potential predecessor Karzai. For the good of Afghanistan and the world at large, it is hoped that he is not.
The last frontrunner, is our king’s man and is seemingly experienced in issues of national security. Whether he manages to break free from the yoke of the old government and all of its failings still remains to be seen.
It must not be forgotten that amid all this, the BSA hangs in the balance, and the next President will decide whether US troops are to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Whichever candidate is selected, it is imperative that Afghanistan is not left on its own with untrained security forces to fight the battle-hardened Taliban. But with the way things stand, one man’s decision will decide the outcome of the drawn-out war on terror, and we can only hope that Afghanistan chooses the right man for the job.