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This will make the Taliban shake in their shoes

Posted by Helen Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Afghanistan, as our readers will recall is top priority for NATO. Unfortunately top priority does not mean shelling out for troops to provide security for the forthcoming elections, as Hamid Karzai keeps asking. No, no, no. The EU, whose members also make up a large part of NATO, has come up with a far better wheeze: it is sending a European Union Democracy and Elections Support Mission, or EU DESM as it is already known to the cognoscenti.

What exactly is EU DSM going to be doing? According to the European Commission’s press release:

“The Mission will assess key aspects of the October 9th Presidential Elections and, upon completion of the process, will make recommendations for the future regarding the electoral and wider democratisation processes. Additionally the Mission will support the work of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and domestic observer groups over the election period. In all 25 elections and field experts will be deployed in centres across Afghanistan for periods of up to three months. The Mission will work in close co-ordination with the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan and the European Commission Delegation in Kabul.”
Well, that is excellent. It is good to know that our money is going on a good cause and the people of Afghanistan are getting the best help possible. What an EU Mission might know about democracy is anybody’s guess, since the EU tends to know more about democratic deficits, and, presumably, the Afghanis have not yet reached the stage of having democratic deficits.

Furthermore, what are they going to recommend? From statements made by Hamid Karzai and other members of the interim government it is quite clear that they know precisely what is needed to conduct reasonably free and fair elections. First and foremost it is security. That is why Mr Karzai is desperate for Western help and that is what the West not providing. Of course there are those 350 Eurocorps soldiers and the Canadians whom the EU begged to stay on.

The press release further states:

“According to recent UN figures, the EU accounts for one half of all international support for voter registration and for over 40% of all funds for the organisation of the elections themselves.As with all its support for reconstruction and stabilisation of Afghanistan, this initiative is being closely co-ordinated with the Afghan authorities, EU member states and the
UN.”
Not, you understand with any troops or country that is providing troops. Goodness me, no. Can’t have all this martial stuff around the place.

Once again, one has to ask the question what exactly all those funds, assuming they reach their destination, are going on? Voter registration cannot go on, if people do not feel safe when they put their names down or when they go to vote. This is elementary.

What, furthermore, are all those UN and EU, not to mention member states’ emissaries are doing? They rarely leave Kabul because of the aforementioned security situation and, as we have already pointed out, their very presence in large numbers undermines the local economy