Holding of elections in Afghanistan important for both Pakistan, US: Expert

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Washington, Aug.21 (ANI): An expert on South and Central Asia has welcomed the holding of the second presidential elections in Afghanistan, saying it is an important sign-if not of progress, not only for Afghanistan, but also for Pakistan and the United States.

According to Daniel Markey of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), in the near term, interested parties can hope for less disruption and propaganda, some changes in terms of political leadership that will ultimately work well.

Markey, a Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, further says during an interview with the CFR web site, that the August 20 presidential elections in Afghanistan is a crucial step forward in what U.S. President Barack Obama has dubbed a "war of necessity."

He says that as far as Pakistan is concerned, it would like a friendly government in Kabul that allows Islamabad to project its influence in Afghanistan.

Markey also says Pakistanis tend to see incumbent President Hamid Karzai as the best option "simply because he's a known quantity."

In so far as to what is at stake for Pakistan, he says Islamabad's concern has to do with basic political and military stability in Afghanistan.

"From a Pakistan perspective, an Afghanistan that returns to deep instability as it has in the past, specifically in the 1990s, would be a cause for concern for Pakistan because it would probably bring greater instability inside Pakistan. An election that works and yields a legitimate government of some kind are basic interests from a Pakistan perspective," he says.

However, he said, Pakistan is preoccupied with its own politics and security situation, both of which have been precarious in recent years.

"For many Pakistanis, the Afghan election is a bit of a sideshow and much less relevant or exciting than it was the last time around," he says.

He also said that for the US, the elections in Afghanistan are very significant because the United States, the international community, and to some degree a significant proportion of the Afghan people have staked a bet on the idea that a new democratic Afghanistan is a project worth pursuing. (ANI)

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