"KABUL A singer from Afghan Star our equivalent of American Idol along with dozens of conservative scholars, members of Afghan civil society, hundreds of ex-warlords, former Taliban commanders, old K.G.B.-trained Afghan spies, an amateur comedian, medical doctors, athletes, a couple of young western-educated Afghans and hundreds of other unknown faces are among those running in the Afghan parliamentary elections.
"Kabul and other cities have been covered in election posters for a month or two now. They are everywhere, large and small blinking billboards on major crossroads, on rooftops, on walls, doors, shops, electricity pylons, supermarkets, windscreens and rear windows of cars. When you enter Kabul you would think you have come into a photo gallery, not the capital of Afghanistan.
"There are hundreds of candidates with low or almost zero qualifications running for parliament. A warlord promises social justice and security, a former Taliban official promises change in people's lives and gender equality, which is not even possible in dreams."