Wednesday, December 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Kerry arrives in Afghanistan to meet candidates

By
From page A10 | July 11, 2014 |

KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. and its allies are growing increasingly concerned as Afghanistan shows signs of unraveling in its first democratic transfer of power from President Hamid Karzai. With Iraq wracked by insurgency, Afghanistan’s dispute over election results poses a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s effort to leave behind two secure states while ending America’s long wars.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a hastily arranged visit to Afghanistan on Friday to help resolve the election crisis, which is sowing chaos in a country that the U.S. has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost more than 2,000 lives trying to stabilize. He was to meet with the two candidates claiming victory in last month’s presidential election runoff.

“I’ve been in touch with both candidates several times as well as President (Hamid) Karzai,” Kerry said before leaving Beijing, where he attended a U.S.-China economic meeting. He called on them to “show critical statesmanship and leadership at a time when Afghanistan obviously needs it.”

“This is a critical moment for the transition, which is essential to future governance of the country and the capacity of the (U.S. and its allies) to be able to continue to be supportive and be able to carry out the mission which so many have sacrificed so much to achieve.”

With Iraq wracked by insurgency, Afghanistan’s power dispute over the election results is posing a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s 5 1/2-year effort to leave behind two secure nations while ending America’s long wars in the Muslim world.

Obama wants to pull out all but about 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and the election of a new Afghan president was supposed to enshrine the progress the nation has made since the U.S.-led invasion after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The preliminary results of the presidential election runoff suggested a massive turnaround in favor of former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a onetime World Bank economist who lagged significantly behind former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah in first-round voting.

Abdullah, a top leader of the Northern Alliance that battled the Taliban before the American-led invasion, claims the runoff was a fraud, and his supporters have spoken of establishing a “parallel government,” raising the specter of the Afghan state collapsing. Abdullah was runner-up to Karzai in a fraud-riddled 2009 presidential vote before he pulled out of that runoff.

Chief electoral officer Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail has resigned, denying any involvement in fraud but saying he would step down for the national interest.

Kerry will seek to persuade both candidates to hold off from rash action while the ballots are examined and political leaders are consulted across Afghanistan’s ethnic spectrum. The U.S. wants to ensure that whoever wins will create a government that welcomes all ethnic factions.

If neither candidate gains credibility as the rightful leader, the winner could be the Taliban. Many Afghans fear the insurgent forces will only gain strength as the U.S. military presence recedes. Internal instability could aid the insurgency.

Abdullah and Ghani each have said that as president they’d sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States, granting American forces immunity from local prosecution. Without such an agreement, the Obama administration has said it would have to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, a scenario that played out in Iraq three years ago. Karzai has refused to finalize the deal, leaving it to his successor.

James Dobbins, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said this week some degree of fraud was expected, but it’s believed the fraud was “quite extensive.”

Speaking in Washington, Dobbins said the Abdullah campaign particularly mistrusts the impartiality of the Afghan electoral institutions.

Both campaigns and Karzai have asked the U.N. for help, he noted, and the U.N. has been designing a plan for deciding how ballots can be reviewed and which ones would be reviewed for possible fraud.

A U.N. audit, however rudimentary, probably could be done within two weeks, U.S. officials believe. The focus would be on clear fraud indicators, including districts with high turnout or more women going to the ballots than men.

Kerry also will meet with Karzai and U.N. officials.

Obama spoke to each candidate this week, asking them to allow time for investigations of ballot-stuffing. The White House said Tuesday that Obama warned that any move outside the law to seize power would mean the end of U.S. financial aid to Afghanistan.

Obama differentiated Afghanistan from Iraq, which he declared a “dumb war,” while considering Afghanistan a fight worth waging, ordering tens of thousands of new troops into the country in his first year in office.

The risk of a prolonged Afghan political crisis has alarmed U.S. officials already struggling to respond to sectarian tensions in Iraq that have broken out into open warfare.

The situations in Afghanistan and Iraq are distinct. But in each, the U.S. has spent more than a decade trying to set up democratic governments that could effectively police their own territories and stamp out threats to the American homeland.

And in both countries that objective is in peril, their futures threatened by a combination of poor leadership, weak institutions, interethnic rivalry and fierce extremist rebellions.

Suicide bombers and gunmen staged a deadly assault on government compounds Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, killing 30. The U.N. warned this week that such fighting in populated areas was a major cause for a 17 percent uptick in civilian deaths this year in a report that cast doubt on the capacity of government soldiers and police to protect the Afghan people after most U.S. and foreign forces leave.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Sweetest menorah in Solano County gets lit

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Muscular disease does not deter boy’s giving spirit

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Early Christmas dinner for homeless serves more than 100

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
 
Fire races through Fairfield home days before Christmas

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 9 Comments | Gallery

 
Truck crash closes Enterprise Drive

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

Motorcyclist injured in crash

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
No holiday ferry service

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

Scrabble fundraiser benefits Armijo newspaper

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Library seeks literacy tutors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Teddy Bear Tea set Jan. 31

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Depp, Cooper, Streep light up the big screen on Christmas

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

 
Woman reunited with car stolen nearly 30 years ago

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Wildlife groups seek help for California owl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California road rage captured on cellphone camera

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Police officer dies from hit-and-run injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Los Angeles cracks down on tow truck bandits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Too late: Cops’ deaths highlight outdated systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 4 Comments

 
NORAD tracks when Santa Claus is comin’ to town

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Brown picks aide to lead troubled California utility board

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Police mistreat California Muslim man, group says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Belfast leaders strike deal to save power-sharing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
From Iraqi mountaintop, a fierce battle to free IS-held town

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Proposal seeks gun permits for Colorado pot users

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
US moves to end ban on blood donations by gay men

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Gay marriage cases teed up for justices’ action

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
.

Opinion

Gratitude to a Samaritan

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Have a heart

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Common sense seeps into Capitol

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Being a good role model best thing uncle can do

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Dressing up a basic gingerbread for Christmas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Healthy roast for the holidays? With pork, easily

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

Sony re-gifts ‘The Interview’ in limited release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Justin Lin to direct third ‘Star Trek’ film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Cosby not finding support in black community

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Jennifer Lopez to perform at Caesars Palace on NYE

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

Gore hopes to stay with 49ers beyond this season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Mack makes big impact as rookie with Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Lakers stun Warriors 115-105 without Kobe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Rodriguez’s Rankin named 2014 DR Coach of the Year

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Peavy and Giants finalize $24 million, 2-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Aldon Smith says he didn’t drink at McDonald home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seahawks regain top spot in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is AP player of year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB average salary exceeds $3.8 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rodriguez boys roll by Kennedy of Richmond 83-62

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Broncos have league-high 9 players selected for Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders send Derek Carr home sick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

A look at the Dow’s 1,000-point milestones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Dow 101: The Dow and how it works

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US economy accelerates and helps lift Dow to 18K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
It’s becoming easier to shop overseas this holiday season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Safeway pulls caramel apples amid listeria scare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Obituaries

Robert ‘Bob’ Eugene Jenkins

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert D. Thurman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5