What a Legitimacy Problem Looks Like


Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of Balkh province in Northern Afghanistan says:

“Karzai is a thief of people’s votes. Democracy has been buried in Afghanistan. He’s not a lawful president,” Mr. Atta said in an interview in his vast rococo-styled office, as turbaned supplicants lined up to petition for his help in resolving court cases and disputes with local authorities.

At the moment, the mainstays of the Karzai government in Afghanistan are the non-Pashto areas of Afghanistan where there’s a great deal of popular hostility to the Taliban. But its precisely for that reason that Karzai, a Pashto, was picked to lead Afghanistan. The view was that such a person would have the most legitimacy in the most contested areas. The risk with what’s now happened in the election is that Karzai will either start to lose his Tajik support and his government will become untenable, or else that to prevent that from happening the government will need to shift all the way in the direction of him basically being a frontman for a Fahim/Dostum Tajik/Uzbek warlord coalition that has no support in Pashto areas.