Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Afghan group slams Karzai's 'warlord' vote ticket

KABUL (AFP) — An Afghan rights watchdog on Tuesday slammed President Hamid Karzai's choice of two "notorious warlords" for his August re-election bid and accused him of promising ministries to supporters.

In a report, the independent Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM) called on the United States and United Nations, which are bankrolling the landmark election, to intervene in defence of democracy.

Karzai has successfully squashed challenges to his two vice president running mates, Mohammed Qasim Fahim and Karim Khalili, ARM said.

Both are believed to have links with illegal militia and criminal groups, it said, adding Karzai "has chosen two notorious warlords as his election mates in a bid to win votes from former mujahideen militias."

Human Rights Watch and Western diplomats have complained in particular over Fahim, a former anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban military commander alleged to be involved in past and present crimes.

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