Afghan Vote's True Winner: The Taliban

Chaos and corruption aid insurgents' propaganda campaign
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2009 5:57 AM CDT
Supporters of Hamid Karzai during a meeting to show their support after the announcement of the final preliminary vote counts in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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(Newser) – It's still not evident whether Hamid Karzai will avoid a runoff in Afghanistan's presidential vote, but the winner of the election is clear: the Taliban. Delays in tallying and alleged systemic fraud have given the insurgency new material for a sophisticated propaganda campaign that portrays the Karzai administration as corrupt to the core. And as the US, EU, and UN debate whether to accept the results, the Taliban is pushing the line that Western powers are in control of the country, reports the Washington Post.

The reclusive Taliban chief Mullah Omar yesterday used the end of Ramadan to denounce "the rampant corruption in the surrogate Kabul administration, the embezzlement, drug trafficking, the existence of mafia networks." It doesn't help that that sentiment echoes US officials' own regrets, and citizens on the streets say the message is taking hold. "Every day they make more propaganda against the government," says one Kabul resident. "This election has been a gold mine for them." (Read more Afghanistan stories.)