A group of Afghan government officials have vowed to take control of the government if the election impasse is not resolved within the month. According to the NY Times, the officials have condemned the inability of presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, calling on them to make compromises in order to end the crisis.
They were spoken to on condition of anonymity due to their plans potentially being considered seditious, but assured reporters that they had the backing of Afghanistan’s army, police, and intelligence corps. They believe this is necessary to stem the larger tide of ethnic violence that is currently underway in rural parts of the country, creating divides between smaller Tajik and Hazara communities against dominant Pashtuns. They also spoke about the inability to pay civil servants because revenue from taxes and customs were down by almost a third this year.
Local governors have also openly asked for American assistance in defiance of Karzai’s insistence that American forces only be allowed to operate in pre-approved areas. President Karzai insisted he would step down this month regardless of what was happening with the election.
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- Tajik production of grains used for cereal is expected to grow over the next several months. The Central Asian nation is experiencing record yields, and will also likely face increased demand from Russia, now that Moscow has barred European and American products from entry into its markets. The Tajik government has simultaneously entered into talks concerning the possible strengthening of economic relations with Moscow, though details at this stage are scarce.
- Tajik migrants living in Russia have appealed to congress to allow for a rally of the more than 100,000 migrants living throughout the country. The rally, which has to go through a multiple-step, hyper-bureaucratic process, must first be approved by the Russian congress. The rally would take place in mid-October, and would be the first such gathering of the Tajik diaspora living throughout the country.
- Turkmenistan has announced that it will begin to export electricity to energy-starved neighbors such as Pakistan. The construction of electric substations and high-voltage power lines has ramped up recently, stretching as far as the Afghan border. Three 220 kilovolt stations have thus far been completed, while another two have been rehabilitated. Afghanistan is planning to build an additional several high-voltage power lines in order to receive Turkmen energy and subsequently transfer it to Pakistan.
- The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) has announced that it will drill a new well in the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea. The new well, which will be situated in the shallow end of the Guneshli field, is expected to produce up to 150,000 cubic meters of gas per day, as well as up to 15 tons of gas condensate. The Guneshli field contributes to the approximately 8.4 million tons of oil produced by SOCAR annually.
- The head of Russia’s federal drug control agency, FSKN, has pointed the finger at Afghanistan for its production of heroin that has “destabilized the country.” Viktor Ivanov cited the rise in opium production since the onset of NATO activities in the country as a cause for the rising rate of drug addiction throughout Russia, estimating that up to 800 tons enter Russia yearly. The worth of Afghan heroin rises by one thousand times upon crossing the Russian frontier.