Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
The capacity and transparency of Afghan governance are considered crucial to Afghan stability after U.S.-led NATO forces turn over the security mission to Afghan leadership by the end of 2014. The size and capability of the Afghan governing structure has increased significantly since the Taliban regime fell in late 2001, but it remains weak, with many positions unfilled at local levels. Even as the government has struggled to widen its writ, President Hamid Karzai has tried to concentrate authority in Kabul through his constitutional powers of appointment at all levels. Karzai has repeatedly and publicly denied assertions by opposing faction leaders that he wants to stay in office beyond the 2014 expiration of his second term, but there are concerns he plans to use state election machinery to support the election of a successor. International efforts to curb fraud in two successive elections (for president in 2009 and parliament in 2010) largely failed and Afghan efforts to improve election oversight for the 2014 presidential and provincial elections are behind schedule, although opposition parties and civil society organizations are working to try to ensure a fair election.
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