Is it any wonder that Karzai is in the lead? As an ex-employee of Unocal, one of the major companies involved in the Trans-Afghan Pipeline, it would seem that his popularity amongst Western backers comes with a price. Karzai gives the US a safe route for their oil/natural gas pipeline – the US give Karzai the Presidency. Once again “democracy” will be overlooked:
AFP: “Karzai had been tipped to ease to a second term, but a strong campaign from former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and reports of miserable turnout in the president’s southern powerbase have boosted speculation of a run-off vote.
“Negotiations are well under way for Abdullah to accept defeat at the first round. It may depend on what he gets in exchange,” one Western diplomat in Kabul told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Western backers of Karzai’s government have urged presidential candidates to refrain from premature announcements, respect the electoral process and for their supporters to keep calm.
“The Karzai camp says they have 70 percent of the vote. We have to wait and see in the coming days. It’ll be problematic if the results drag out,” said Haroun Mir, from Afghanistan’s Centre for Research and Policy Studies.”