AFGHANISTAN

U.S. in­volve­ment in Afghanistan has sparked pro-demo­cratic move­ments in the South Asian re­gion, in­clud­ing Iran.

Southasia - - Front page - By Shoaib Har­ris and Na­jib Shar­ifi

An Afghan Spring

A vi­able Afghan democ­racy has ini­ti­ated an in­spir­ing wave of change in the re­gion.

Sel­dom cov­ered in the main­stream me­dia, com­mon peo­ple in Afghanistan and par­tic­u­larly in neigh­bor­ing Iran, have had to live through the heavy-hand­ed­ness of the Is­lamic repub­lic for more than three decades now. But things are chang­ing dras­ti­cally.

Only a few months af­ter the ouster of the hard­line Tal­iban regime by the U.S. and former North­ern Al­liance forces in Novem­ber 2001, sud­den demo­cratic changes, promi­nently the Emer­gency Loya Jirga ( Grand Assem­bly), which elected Hamid Karzai as the in­terim pres­i­dent of Afghani- stan, rein­vig­o­rated the demo­crat­icy spirit in the en­tire re­gion. What many peo­ple for­got to no­tice is the fact that there was a wo­man among the three can­di­dates who ran for of­fice in this tra­di­tional gath­er­ing. What a feat for democ­racy!

The Ira­ni­ans, fol­low­ing de­velop-

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