Polling for chaos

"Polling for chaos" Continued...

Issue: "On the rails," Oct. 9, 2010

Noorin TV is funded by the Northern Alliance, which opposes the Karzai government, and its series on Christianity appeared designed to embarrass Karzai and his parliamentary majority for tolerating "Western" religion. In a similar fashion, Nadiri broadcast a series of reports alleging that Afghanistan's growing number of women's shelters is fostering prostitution. On air he called for the closure of 17 government-registered shelters serving about 1,500 Afghan women considered at risk. One cited shelter housed Bibi Aisha, the 18-year-old Afghan from Uruzgan province featured on the Aug. 9 cover of Time magazine. Aisha's husband together with other members of the local Taliban had sliced off her ears and nose after she ran away from her in-laws' abusive treatment.

Nadiri called such shelters unauthorized, and he told his audience they are "not acceptable for our people, who have fought 30 years to put the word Islam in front of Afghanistan." As an August profile in The Wall Street Journal noted, the charismatic television host "wields considerable power in shaping the national debate here, and has been using it to rail against women's rights and foreign aid organizations."

Electoral chaos can only help those like Nadiri who oppose the Karzai government-and the democratic process itself.


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