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Afghans can only watch in envy as Egypt revolts

Analysis: U.S. hypocrisy as Kabul plunges into political turmoil and Egypt revolts.

The political crisis has been punctuated by a spate of bombings, including one at an up-scale grocery store frequented by Westerners that killed as many as 14 people last week. Among those killed were an entire family – a doctor and his wife, who was a human rights activist, and their four small children -- from one of Kabul’s more prominent and progressive clans.

Three foreigners were also killed. And the following day, the deputy governor of Kandahar was killed in a bombing. The Taliban claimed credit for both attacks.

The governor of the province of Kabul, Zabihullah Mojaddidy, said, “There are very serious problems we are facing every day and these days the confidence in our own government is one of them.”

“But the finger is pointed too often at just the president,” said Mojaddidy, who was appointed by Karzai. “I think we should recognize that the opposition is too self-focused, corrupt and divisive along ethnic lines. There are many reasons and many factors that contribute to this feeling, this cynicism.”

While we talked, a television flickered in the corner with the news cutting between the parliamentary vote and updates on the breaking news in Egypt. Then the television abruptly clicked off and the lights went out, a daily example of the disruption of power that plagues Kabul. A generator kicked on and coughed in the background as we continued our conversation beneath a single dim bulb.

“We watch the news in Cairo and see the demonstrations on the street and realize that is a way of expressing discontent that we can not afford right now. Here, that could mean a return to war,” said Mojaddidy, a structural engineer by profession, who along with his father and his brothers was a leader in the insurgency against the Soviet Union. “So we have a parliament that is talking, bribing, fighting for their own self interests, but all of that is still better than shooting at each other.”

Across town at the Etisalat Internet Cafe, Dr. Salim Fazly, 28, a general practitioner, was checking his Facebook page and sipping green tea.

“I think it’s good that the Arab world and the whole rest of the world is watching,” said Fazli. “We Afghans have already chosen our relationship with democracy. But I think we watch these street protests, thinking that they are a good example for anyone in Afghanistan who might try to become a dictator here.”

Sennott is GlobalPost’s executive editor and co-founder. He can be reached at