Notes from a Researcher in Kandahar

The following are some observations from Munir Salamzai, who has been conducting research in Kandahar recently:

“It seems in Kandahar based upon some of the interviews that I have been conducting, the people’s participation in runoff election was less than the first round election or, perhaps, equal to it. The main reason for this is counted that in first round people were motivated more by provincial council candidate who were running their own campaigns, but, in runoff, there was not this external motivation to get people to the polls.

Moreover, it seems, like, tribal issues were far more important in determining who one would vote for than in other parts of the country I have been in. For example, Jamiat party commander- Mullah Naqib’s son, was the main campaigner for Abdullah, he is from the Alakozy tribe. In the Alakozy tribe most votes seem to have gone for Abdullah. In addition, in runoff, Gul Agha Sherzai also supported Abdullah, he is also from Alokozay tribe and this increased the allegation of Alakozay tribe to the Abdullah in runoff. There are posters and banners put up by the runoff campaigns, and on these different elders/ tribe leaders declare their support for one or another candidate, so this also demonstrates the importance of tribal and ethnic affiliation.

Discussing with people, it seems that Kandahari people were not that interested with second round as well through which participation was decreased in Durrani tribe area but increased in Ghilzai area. At all, Kandahari people might not be as interested in the result, because, they are not interested in a non -Durrani president in Afghanistan. But for most of them to mitigate the risk of Pashtuns losing power, they are supporting Ghani over Abdullah, since they all consider Abdullah a Tajik Panjshiri. People blame many of the political issues over the past 12 years on the Panjshiris here and say tat the South has been marginalized. They also feel that northern groups will try to keep the south insecure so that the people in the north can continue to consolidate their power nationally.

During the runoff and in first round, youth participation was particularly good in Kandahar. Of the more educated voters I spoke with, most seemed to be supporting Ghani, some working rather actively on his campaign.

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