December 2nd, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Minority group emerges as a force in new Afghan parliament

An Afghan minority group apparently emerged as a stronger force in the country's legislature, a politically sensitive result in polls badly blemished by fraud and security problems.

The Hazaras, a minority Shiite community, gained 59 of 249 parliamentary seats in the recently-certified elections, a U.S. diplomat told CNN. That's a much larger percentage than their numbers - which the CIA World Factbook says is 9 percent of a 29 million-plus population.

The result raises concern among Western and Afghan officials that security problems could worsen over imbalances in the U.S.-backed government's tribal and ethnic presence. And the stakes are high for the Obama administration, which is seeking stability in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, regarded as the central front in the war on terror.

Pashtuns represent the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan at 42 percent, but many failed to show up at the elections because of pressure and intimidation to not take part in the political process or many failed to go to the polls because of warfare in their communities. A significant number of Pashtuns are pro-Taliban and dislike the Hamid Karzai government.

Hazaras are manual workers who have been stigmatized by their Oriental looks and Shiite Muslim faith. About 80 percent of the country is Sunni Muslim and 19 percent is Shiite, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission on Wednesday certified the results in the September 18 elections for the lower house, also called the Wolesi Jirga.

But the certification was held up for about a week by results in Ghazni province. All 11 seats there were won by Hazara candidates, even though the Pashtuns represent the majority there, the U.S. diplomat said.

Results initially were held back because of what Afghan officials call "technical problems" and a deteriorating security situation that kept voters from casting ballots. But Western officials told CNN the real reason was the politically sensitive results that eventually were included in the final tally.

There have been many complaints over allegations of fraud in the elections, with many votes from the more than 3,000 polling stations thrown out. Afghanistan's attorney general announced last week that his office is probing the allegations.

Nevertheless, the final results were hailed on Wednesday by the United Nations and the United States, which said millions went to the polls despite "security risks."

"There were irregularities and fraud in this election, but the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission have worked well within the framework of the electoral law and Afghan Constitution," the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said.

"We look forward to the opening of the new parliament so that it can begin taking up its important Constitutional role on behalf of the Afghan people."

Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special representative in Afghanistan commended election officials for completing the work "in extremely challenging circumstances."

"We look forward to the prompt inauguration of the Wolesi Jirga, as an important further step in Afghanistan's strengthening of its democratic governance," he said. "While we have noted that there were significant instances of irregularity and fraud, the IEC and ECC demonstrated their commitment to address these problems in accordance with the electoral law and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. ju

    it.s an untrue about hazar hazara consist afghanistan shiite you ve wrote hazara 9 percent
    in afghanistan only hazara is shiite but 9 percen is hazara the other came from sky??

    March 5, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. God

    Can"t we all get along ?

    December 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe


      December 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      It doesn't look like it!!!

      December 13, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LarryKegel(US Army)


    December 6, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. lazy

    Hey Good news that Hazara people won much of the parliment seats and me and the whole Hazara's are happy Good we should celebrate our success and i hope that Hazara people will do such hard work in the future too Hope to see all Hazara's Happy and have bright future God Bless all of Us

    December 5, 2010 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      I hope You do better than We are in the United States!!! We have the 2 percent of the People running This Country...

      December 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed


        December 5, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel Azad

    Hazaras makes up 20% of Afghanistan population not 9% of Afghanistan as far as I know. These percentage was taken when pushtoon was in power and that not correct. Where the Hazaras won the election this time is the Hazara majority area not the pushtoon.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      All I know is We have to try to work with Who ever won the Election!!! We have no other Choice... Just as the Other Countries has no choice with Who win the Election here!!!!

      December 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      That's becuase the Taliban banned education so the Pashtoons can't read, write or count.

      December 5, 2010 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        We have People in the United States that can't read are write in English!!! But still This Country until now wasn't a 3rd rate Country... Those People as Our if are taught can learn what they need to better themselves!!! As far as knowing what is right are wrong... You don't need a education for that!!! The slaves didn't have Education here years ago... But They still could work like everyone else!!!

        December 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • juhn

      that s right

      March 5, 2011 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. LarryKegel(US Army)

    As pretty as She is... I wish They quit putting that on here!!! I don't understand it so Why put it here???

    December 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eltaf Hussain

    Well done dear, article is good but it lacks some neutrality about Hazaras people percentage, Exactly we are given the 9% of the total population in afghanistan out of total population but it is not true and secondly Hazaras are in majority in Ghazni Province not the pushtoon.
    Why the pushtoon have lost their seat is that Hazaras area is peaceful and everything is going well but in other case the pushtoon has many dispute in their areas. It doesnot mean that hazaras vote should not be count. This is their fault and our win.

    This time we won, we will be winning in the future also.
    You have to just have an eye on our statistic of participants in Afghanistan self stability.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      The only way We will win is if the Afghanistan People can take care of Themselves!!! We can not win if We have to stay there for ever... This Country can't afford it at what it is costing us today!!! It will get higher every year...

      December 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |