New Afghan Constitution Threatened By Violence and Intimidation

A major human rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), sent an open letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai urging him to take action to end the recent attacks and intimidation associated with the election process for the upcoming loya jirga (general assembly). According to HRW, some candidates have received death threats and are afraid to participate in the upcoming constitutional loya jirga.

According to the letter, several people who vocally opposed Herat Governor Ismail Khan have been targeted in assassination attempts this month. A candidate who spoke against warlords in Kandahar was threatened by gunmen. HRW is urging Kazai to speak out against the violence and to keep warlords from attending the constitutional convention.

Two United States Senators, Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that “we are in jeopardy of losing Afghanistan to become a failed state again,” reports Reuters. Biden also raised concerns that even though NATO approved the expansion of peacekeeping forces (ISAF) outside of Kabul, he was unsure if the Bush Administration fully backed it.

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Reuters 10/29/03; Human Rights Watch 10/29/03; BBC 10/29/03

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