Hazaras' strong showing is concerning to majority Pashtuns - many
of whom couldn't get to the polls because of insecurity - and casts
doubt on how fair the election was.
Nearly two months after Afghans cast their votes in the
parliamentary election, the country's Independent Election
Commission released the final results for all but one area of the
While concerns remain about corruption and fraud, one of the
biggest flash points ahead may prove to be the disproportionately
large number of Hazara representatives elected - especially compared
to Pashtuns, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
"It is indeed the deprivation of a very large group in the
country, pushing them further towards isolation," says Haji Mohammed
Hazraq, a member of the provincial council in Wardak. "One of the
biggest reasons for insecurity is that the Pashtuns don't see their
representatives in the government, despite being the largest group
in the country."
The swell in Hazara representation comes in large part from
insecurity in Pashtun regions that kept potential voters from the
polls on election day. Throughout the country, most of the fighting
takes place in Pashtun areas and the Taliban is almost exclusively
Pashtun movement. As a result, they were more likely to experience
threats and danger on election day and military forces had greater
difficulty securing their areas.
"The security forces created a vacuum, nobody was there, and the
Taliban threatened them," says Israr Khan, the president of the
Awakened Youth Association, a political awareness group focused on
Hazaras' disproportionate strength
Early analyses of the final results show that the Hazara
community may have snagged a share of the lower house that
represents as much as double their actual proportion of the
In Ghazni, the last remaining constituency to be counted,
preliminary results indicated that all 11 seats went to Hazara
candidates, even though the province has a slim majority of Pashtuns
with significant Hazara and Tajik minorities. Officials estimate it
will be another week before they have official results due to the
closure of numerous other polling stations, as well as other
election-day irregularities, such as one district that only counted
Wardak province also saw a surge in Hazara representation. Though
the region is predominately home to Pashtuns, three of the five
seats went to Hazaras.
All this is a serious concern for many of the country's Pashtuns,
who allege that they are now underrepresented, especially in Wardak
The Hazaras' victory, however, is unlikely to spark ethnic
strife. Instead, it may cast further doubt on the fairness and
representativeness of the elections. Ethnically imbalanced results
suggest to some Afghans a process that was either not truly
democratic or, at worst, rigged.
Allegations of fraud still loom heavy over the election, with
doubts remaining about whether today's announced results will be