Elections were held in Afghanistan in October 2009 and the two main contestants were Hamid Karzai and Dr. Abdulla Abdulla, the former Foreign Minister. A second round of the elections was necessitated because Hamid Karzai failed to get the necessary majority in excess of 50% of the total votes.
Mass scale rigging and fraud was suspected in the elections which were even confirmed by the BBC and some other independent agencies. Dr. Abdulla Abdulla decided not to contest the runoff elections on November 07, 2009, arguing that the rigging and fraud in the elections would once again be repeated. Hamid Karzai has now been confirmed as President of Afghanistan for a 5-year term.
It is, however, a pyrrhic victory because the opponent was too articulate and refused to fall in line. In December, 2009, the US Administration is caught up in dilemma as to whether additional 40, 000 troops should be sent to Afghanistan or not. The Supreme Commander of the US Forces in Afghanistan.
Gen. Mc Crystal insisted that 40,000 more troops were needed to curb the Taliban. The U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan, however, is of the view that war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and that the US should train the Afghanistan Security Forces and hand over any further policing to them.
In November, 2009, about 12 British soldiers were killed by the Afghan Security Forces undergoing training, a very rude shock to the British. The allies are at crossroads and President Obama is engaged in a serious dialogue with his advisers about future steps to be taken in Afghanistan, which just cannot be allowed to slip into Taliban control because Al-Qaida would expand its influence and export terror to the West and the USA as it did in September, 2001
Afghanistan, however, represents a very diverse picture, Talibanisation and modernisation going hand- in-hand. The Indian movies and TV soaps are extremely popular amongst the audience. Palwasha, incorporating the drama and ecstasy of the Bollywood, was introduced by a producer from Mumbai in November, 07. It tells the story of an Afghan woman of the same name and her journey as a daughter, her sister and more significantly the first female judge in Afghan provincial town.
The US drone attacks (unplanned aerial vehicles) have inflicted heavy casualties including Hakimullah Mehsud and Baitullah Mehsud leader of the Taliban; through the former probably survived. Seven CIA operatives were killed by a Jordanian who was a triple agent; he was photographed with Mehsud in early Jan 2010, before he blew himself up. Hamid Karzai attended a conference on Afghanistan convened by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Jan. 2010; the former suggested a time frame of ten years of foreign presence in his country.
Hu Jintao is gradually emerging as one of the strongest leaders in the world. He strolls across the world like a colossus and commands tremendous respect due to Chinese economic and military might. He was a star attraction at the international economic summits including the November 2009 APEC Summit which concluded in Singapore.
President Obama paid an official visit to the Peoples Republic of China and held important consultations with his counterpart. In a strong humiliating overture to India the two confabulated much on the lines of 19th Century when the colonial powers distributed the African, Latin American and the Asian countries amongst themselves.
It is really surprising as to why India has not reacted; emphasizing that it is not a Latin pot but a democratic country and has aspirations and designs of its own. India must raise its ante and be counted as a major power on the world horizon rather than being discussed by USA and China at a dining table. For all practical purposes it appears that the two treat India as a minor “irritant” which can at best be ignored.
The Chinese Communist Party organised its five-yearly Congress in October, 2007, and unveiled its new leadership team. The Chinese economy is now growing at a very fast pace and has already become the third largest economy in the world by overtaking the German in December, 2007 it is set to overtake Japan in 2010 and USA in about a decade.
An entourage of VIPs visited Beijing in 2008; earlier Nicholas Sarcozhy charmed the Chinese, followed by India’s Dr. Manmohan Singh and Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, on Jan 19, 2008. In Jan. 2010, there was a talk of China acquiring military bases in Pakistan much to the chagrin of India.