Qalb al-Din Hikmatyar has called on refugees in Pakistan to boycott the upcoming US sponsored presidential election in the country, Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported on Monday.

 

Hikmatyar made his call through bilingual leaflets in Pashtu and Dari, distributed late on Sunday in Pakistan's north-western city of Peshawar, bordering Afghanistan, AIP said.

 

The leaflets carried the announcement saying, "casting votes will be an act to vote for the anti-Muslim forces of (George) Bush, Putin and (Tony) Blair and to support the aggression against the Afghan people".


Hizbi Islami

Qalb al-Din Hikmatyar, the leader and founder of the Hizbi Islami political party in Afghanistan was one of the heros of the struggle to oust the former Soviet Union from the country in the 1980s.

In 1996 when the Taliban came to power, amid heavy infighting, Hikmatyar formed a power-sharing agreement with Rabbani which made him Prime Minister for a while, before having to leave Kabul.

He was given refuge in Iran but returned to his homeland as an insurgent after Tehran threw its weight behind Hamid Karzai following the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban.


Elections - a fiasco

"Under the Taliban, Afghanistan was the safest place on earth, now it is the worst"

Abd Al-Wahid,
Afghan resident from Zabul province

In the leaflets, Hikmatyar accused the Bush administration of using the Afghan election "fiasco" for selfish political gain.

The Pashtun leader also noted the elections would be far from free and fair since Karzai and his interim administration were illegally appointed by the US. Karzai had initially said he would not contest the elections, but is now one of the candidates.

"It is actually part of Bush's election campaign. It is also a ridiculous fiasco as they have already decided to bring (Hamid) Karzai back in power," he said.

On Friday, about a dozen presidential candidates in Kabul accused the US administration of trying to rig next month's election by "influencing" presidential candidates and favouritism.

They demanded a postponement at least until the US presidential elections in November are over.


Critics say interim president Hamid
Karzai is an American stooge

Hamid Karzai came to power after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.


Critics accuse Karzai of being an American stooge - particularly after the way in which the US intervened ahead of the recent Loya Jirga (traditional council) to announce that the former king would not oppose Karzai as a candidate for head of state.

Residents being harrassed

In an Aljazeera.net interview with an Afghan resident on Monday, Abd Al-Wahid from the southern province of Zabul said, "we were better off with the Taliban".

He said the Taliban provided unprecedented safety and security, "under the Taliban, Afghanistan was the safest place on earth, now it is the worst".

"There is no security at all, crime has gone through the roof and political pressure is also at its highest", he added.

Abd Al-Wahid says residents are being harrassed by various political groups vying for power.

"In the morning the government people come and threaten us to get the Karzai card [voter card]. They say if we don't register they will ban us from medical treatment and in some areas from food donated to villagers. They also say they will not provide us with security."

Lack of trust

Afghanis are being threatened 
to obtain a 'Karzai card'

"In the evening, the Taliban come to us saying the Americans are against us and want to exploit our country. They say we are being used and Karzai is working for them [the US]".

"We don't know who to trust. It's a terrible mess.

The politicians are enjoying a good secure life while the civilians are made to suffer," he said

The people of Afghanistan have had enough of war, he said.

 

"They are tired of old politicians and want to see some development. Residents seek peace of mind, a life without outrageous crime levels."