A new coalition supported by dozens of Afghan political parties has been formed to challenge the government of President Hamid Karzai.
The “National Coalition of Afghanistan” announced its creation on Thursday, led by Abdullah Abdullah, a former Afghan foreign minister and Karzai’s main rival in the 2009 elections. Other major figures associated with the coalition are: Yunes Ghanoni, the former head of the Afghan Parliament; Noorolhagh Oloumi, a senior political figure in the Afghan communist government, and Homayoon Shah-asefi, a former presidential candidate, along with several current Members of Parliament.
Abdullah Abdullah announced that the National Coalition of Afghanistan is vying to transform the current presidential system into a parliamentary system through peaceful means.
“We don’t have any enmity with our friends who lead the country, but they have lost their way. Afghanistan’s people are supporting the government, but the gap between people and the government is growing day by day,” Abdullah said.
Noorolhagh Oloumi criticized Karzai’s government, saying: “This administration is the most corrupt, most incapable and most ineffective administration. In 10 years they have not been able to establish one single group that dances to the same tune and can gather others around it.”
MP Yunes Ghanoni said the coalition will make every effort to recover from the current political situation through the union of political opposition groups, adding: “In the past 10 years, we have repeatedly lost our chances and ruined our opportunities, and we have no hopes for positive change in the lives our people over the next two years.”
NATO forces are set to leave Afghanistan by 2014, and over the next two years, responsibility for national security is to be gradually transferred to Afghan forces. The next presidential elections are also slated for 2014.
In the past 10 years, Afghanistan has seen many short-lived political coalitions, but as the withdrawal of NATO troops approaches, with announcements about peace negotiations between U.S. and Taliban forces, Karzai’s opponents have become more active in their efforts.