Journal: Election Gone Wrong Fuels Tension in Kabul

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The inauguration of a new Parliament in just weeks threatens to worsen ethnic tensions and instability and to drive an important part of President Hamid Karzai’s political base into the arms of the insurgency, Afghans and foreign officials warn.

Instead insecurity, disaffection and fraud, particularly in the south, left the country’s largest and most important ethnic group, the Pashtuns, with sharply reduced representation. The results have been vigorously disputed for three months and have pushed the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis.

Now a range of Afghan officials and losing candidates say the election could have much the opposite effect from what many here had hoped. Seating the new Parliament, they warn, could fuel the insurgency and even the kind of ethnic strife that might lead to civil war.

“Step by step Pashtuns will say we are not represented, the government does not care about us, our people are not in government, and step by step they will join the enemy,” warned Jamil Karzai, a former member of Parliament and cousin of the president.

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Saurabh Das/Associated Press Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections in September left Pashtuns with sharply reduced representation.