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AP Bemoans Opening Of Afghanistan Parliament

Speaking of media bias, compare and contrast these two reports on opening of the Afghanistan Parliament.

The first is from Communist controlled Xinhua:

Afghanistan parliament inaugurated amid tight security

KABUL, Dec. 19 (Xinhuanet) — Afghan president Hamid Karzai formally inaugurated the maiden session of the country’s first-ever parliament amid tight security here on Monday.

In his opening remarks, the President described it as a historic day and congratulated to the war-weary Afghans.

Convened in a renovated parliament house, the president urged the legislators to work for the betterment of the people of their war-battered land.

Majority of the 351 members of the two-chamber house are the former foes who fought against each other for power and were involved in the past 25 years of war, civil strife and imposing Taliban’s strict and authoritarian rule in major parts of the country.

A number of foreign delegates including US Vice President Deck Cheney have attended the parliament session to represent their governments.

As a precautionary measure, all the roads leading to the parliament house as well as important government building have been closed and the vehicles entering the city are thoroughly checked.

Afghan troops and police backed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US-dominated coalition forces stationed in sensitive areas in the city besides patrollingthe streets to prevent any untoward incident.

Remnants of the former Taliban regime who vowed to oust the government of President Karzai and evict foreign troops by Jihad or holy war have threatened to sabotage the parliament procession.

As part of their threat, the militants on Friday committed a suicide attack on the ISAF troops near the parliament building killing self and wounding two passers by.

Six persons including three policemen have been killed in the latest wave of Taliban attacks since early weekend.

Taliban-led insurgency has claimed the lives of over 1,500 people including some 80 American soldiers since beginning this year.

And now, from the DNC controlled Associated Press:

Afghanistan’s Elected Parliament Convenes
By ERIC TALMADGE
Associated Press Writer
Dec 19, 1:11 AM EST

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s first democratically elected parliament in more than three decades convened Monday, but there were concerns about whether it would be a constructive political force.

More than half of the new lawmakers are regional strongmen, and fears are high that they will block efforts to reform government and bring to justice those responsible for years of bloodshed.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney flew in to attend the opening session, which began with a reading from the Koran.

Afghanistan has had no elected national assembly since 1973, when coups and a Soviet invasion plunged the country into decades of chaos that left more than 1 million people dead. Civil war raged in the early 1990s, followed by the nightmarish rule of the Taliban.

U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001 after the regime refused to stop sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network in wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Afghans voted for the 249-seat lower house of parliament in September. They also elected provincial councils that then chose two-thirds of the 102-seat upper chamber. President Hamid Karzai appointed the remaining 34.

The composition of the National Assembly is an eclectic mix of warlords, ethnic groups, rival factions and, for the first time, women.

After Monday’s largely ceremonial opening session, security and stability were expected to be the major issues for the lawmakers in the weeks ahead. The exact length of the session hadn’t been determined, however.

Though the inauguration of the assembly formally concludes the political transition process agreed on by Afghan factions under U.N. auspices in December 2001, the country continues to teeter on the verge of chaos.

Some 20,000 U.S. troops are deployed here, along with thousands of mostly European peacekeepers. But violence is rife in the country’s south, where remnants of the Taliban are waging an insurgency marked by near daily killings and bombings.

Just days before parliament was to open, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a car not far from the assembly building, slightly damaging a Norwegian peacekeeping vehicle.

The country’s economy also continues to rely heavily on the trade in illicit drugs – a threat NATO’s top operational commander, U.S. Gen. James L. Jones, has suggested is more serious than the Taliban insurgency.

Opium production has boomed since the fall of the Taliban and Afghanistan is now source of 80 percent of the world’s heroin.

The makeup of the assembly itself has cast further doubt on whether it will be a positive political force.

Among those in the parliament with bloody pasts are Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a powerful militia leader accused of war crimes by New York-based Human Rights Watch, and Abdul Salaam Rocketi, a former Taliban commander who has since reconciled with the government.

Another winner was the former Taliban leader who oversaw the destruction of two massive 1,500-year-old Buddha statues during the fundamentalists’ reign.

"The international community will try to portray the opening of parliament as a triumph," said Sam Zia-Zarifi, Asia research director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch. "But many Afghans are worried about a parliament dominated by human rights abusers."

One former militia commander who won election wasn’t at the opening session – he was shot dead earlier this month. Eight parliamentary candidates were killed in the runup to the September polls.

And here I was thinking the opening of the Afghani Parliament was glorious news. How naive of me.

According to the Solons of the DNC/AP, the war in Afghanistan was just done for the benefit of warlords and drug dealers. And there is absolutely nothing good to come of elections and representative government.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 19th, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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