Kabul, Afghanistan - 13 / 6 / 02
A lapse in keeping my journal is characterized by having to actually work for my money. It is a welcome relief to finally be busy; especially when I began to think what my mental state would be like two months from now and the most important thing I had done the whole time was recharge satellite phones. The Loya Jirga seems like it will soon be reaching a conclusion after a somewhat rocky start three days ago. That is not to say that life will begin anew in Afghanistan after a leader is elected. If the beginning of the Loya Jirga is any indicator, fighting may be just weeks away.
The problem on the surface is that supporters of the king feel slighted that he "voluntarily" bowed out of being selected as a candidate to lead the country. This has lead many people to believe that the US is manipulating the election process to serve its own interests. Many Pashtuns have begun to feel that Hamid Karzai; interim leader, heir apparent, and Pashtun, is being kept in power as a puppet leader. If this truly is the case, then the United States is doomed to repeat the same mistakes the Soviets made in the late Seventies. Karzai is, however, probably the best candidate for leading the country. Karzai's contacts in the West are definitely needed to rebuild Afghanistan, but if his leadership has been acquired through ill means, the people of Afghanistan will not accept him. I hope this is not another case of the US government deciding what's best for "those dimwitted brown people".
- Mike Brandenburg