This does not bode well for democracy in Afghanistan:
Afghanistan’s election commission on Sunday pronounced Ashraf Ghani the winner of the country’s presidential election, but it withheld an announcement of the total votes won, despite an exhaustive and costly audit process overseen by the United Nations and financed by the American government.
Abdullah Abdullah will be what is effectively a prime minister (called chief executive officer), it seems.
I'm not sure whether we undermined future stability or bowed to the reality of Afghanistan's backwardness and ethnic divisions.
After all, when our first surge was announced, I had modest objectives for what Afghanistan would look like:
The end result in Afghanistan, if all goes well, will be a nominal national government that controls the capital region and reigns but does not rule local tribes and which actually helps the locals a bit rather than sucking resources from the locals, who in turn do not make trouble for the central government or allow their areas to be used by jihadis to plan attacks on the West. We press for reasonable economic opportunities, with bribes all around (I mean, foreign aid), to keep a fragile peace.
And we stick around this time, unlike after the Soviets left Afghanistan when we ignored the place, for a generation or two to see if we can move Afghanistan into the 19th century (hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves).
Hopefully our military surge recedes by the end of 2011 and we can get down to a single combat brigade plus air power that function as a fire brigade and a hammer for the central government should a local difficulty exceed Afghan military capabilities.
I'm not sure if we're getting what I wanted in governance.
But I'm sure we are not getting that sticking around part.
And Pakistan remains a problem unsolved.
I'm just not sure why President Obama escalated twice in Afghanistan and asked so many American troops to die in that ass end of the world if he didn't intend to win.