Afghanistan: May 30, 2003


The 4,600 ISAF peacekeepers stationed in Kabul come from 29 nations. The foreign troops have managed to keep the peace in the capital, but in the rest of the country, security is left to local officials. These are often the usual warlords that have controlled the Afghan countryside for centuries. However, president Karzai controls a lot of foreign aid and has the backing of the US (and nearly 12,000 American troops in Afghanistan.) Karzai has used all this to pressure warlords to act less like independent rulers and more like government officials. Over the next few years, Afghanistan plans to run elections for many local officials. This will see a lot of warlords getting elected to jobs they already have. Warlords traditionally grab power with a combination of muscle and charisma. Some are also tribal leaders as well.  


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