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Interview with Farouq Bashar - 2002-06-13


A new Afghan government is currently being fashioned by the loya jirga, Afghanistan’s tribal council. The deliberations and future impact upon Afghanistan were discussed on the VOA-TV program, “NewsLine.” Host David Borgida interviewed Farouq Bashar, a political scientist and former Kabul University professor to ask about the complicated process in the war-torn country.

MR. BORGIDA:
Now joining us to talk about all this, Farouq Bashar, a political scientist and lawyer, who is watching events in Afghanistan.

Mr. Bashar, thanks for joining us today.

PROF. BASHAR:
Thank you for asking me to be here.

MR. BORGIDA:
Hamid Karzai, the interim leader, widely expected to be named -- obviously, yes, no?

PROF. BASHAR:
It is the expectation of the Afghans that he will be nominated again for 18 months to 1 year.

MR. BORGIDA:
Now, the exiled King is in Afghanistan. What will his role be?

PROF. BASHAR:
According to the news that we are getting from that country, he would have just a father role. He would be the father of the nation and he would have a ceremonial role, to give titles to the people. And he himself said that he is not willing to be ruling that country any more, because he supported Mr. Karzai.

MR. BORGIDA:
Mr. Bashar, how do you explain the delay? It did appear that they would be moving more quickly. Is this a result of posturing? Is it a result of too many warlords trying to get their views in during this loya jirga? What is your explanation for it?

PROF. BASHAR:
Actually, what happened in that country, as you know, there was a war between the north and the south, or the Taliban and the Tajiks and Pashtuns. The Tajiks decided not to vote for the King to become the leader of that country. Because of that, there was a kind of scenario to derail the whole process of the loya jirga. Therefore, the United States of America intervened into the situation, and Mr. Khalilzad talked to the King, and the King decided that he will not create any nightmare for that country to derail the whole situation. And he said that he is not a candidate anymore.

By the same token, Mr. Rabbani, the same thing, and he said he is not going to be a candidate. And Mr. Qanooni himself resigned from the Ministry of Interior. It seems to be that everything is right now going smooth. Hopefully everything will be okay and the people will decide to vote for Mr. Karzai, because Karzai is a very smart guy and he has done a good job during this six-month period.

MR. BORGIDA:
That is just what I was going to ask you next. What does he bring to the political table at this point that attracts him to so many different factions in Afghanistan?

PROF. BASHAR:
As you are aware, Mr. Karzai worked during Rabbani's presidency in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So he was trusted by the Northern Alliance. In addition, he is trying to make himself known to the people that he is against all political and tribal and whatever situation that will derail the process of loya jirga in Afghanistan. That is the reason why the Northern Alliance as well as the Southern Alliance have agreed to give him this opportunity. He has almost 70 to 80 percent of the votes for the time being. Even though there is another candidate, a woman candidate, Ms. Jalal, I don't know if she would be able to get any kind of vote.

MR. BORGIDA:
An interesting situation. We'll be following it in the weeks ahead. Farouq Bashar, a scientist and lawyer. He used to teach at Kabul University in Afghanistan. Thanks for joining us today.

PROF. BASHAR:
Thank you for asking me to be here.

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