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Wakil Mangal: Mangal Looks to Tribes for Support

The former author and magazine editor emphasises a strong central government and implementation of the constitution in his campaign.
By Amanullah Nasrat

Political newcomer Wakil Mangal is an independent presidential candidate who draws his support from tribes not parties.


"I am putting myself forward as a candidate so that I can deliver …. what the tribes and intellectuals want from me," he said.


He promises to establish a strong central government, take the gun out of politics, improve educational opportunity - including free schooling - and implement the constitution.


But he is seen as a fringe candidate with little chance of success.


"Wakil Mangal should not expect to receive a substantial number of votes because he is not widely supported. He does have not a background in politics and he can rely only on tribal loyalty," said analyst Qasim Akhgar.


Mangal, 50, was born in the Musa Khel district of Khost and came to Kabul to study science at the university. He graduated in 1978 and later received a PhD from Kashinov University of Moldavia.


He then went to Pakistan, where he became an editor and writer for the magazines Da Jihad Hindara, Mirror of Jihad, and Munba-ul-Jihadm, Source of Jihad. He also wrote three books on politics.


After 1992, when the regime of Najibullah collapsed and the mujahedin took control of Kabul, he stopped professional work.


Mangal pledges to establish strong presidential and parliamentary government so that there is power in Kabul and to implement the nation's new constitution.


"I see that the constitution is being ignored," he said.


He supports disarmament and promises to establish security in the country," I will keep up my attempts until the people are free from the influence of the men with guns and live in a calm and secure environment under the law."


He also said he would insist on strict accountability of how the government spends its money.


Mangal said that "more than half of my campaign expenditure is paid by the tribes - and when my campaign group goes to a region, whether or not I am with them, the local people offer their traditional room for guests - hojra - as an office for them".


Mangle admitted that his own election campaign has been weak - and criticised the incumbent president, Hamed Karzai, for abusing the resources of office.


"Karzai generally uses the facilities of government and budget for his own campaign," he said.


He says that education must be mandatory and fee through the 12th grade. Both men and women should have an equal opportunity to receive an education, so they will be able to defend their rights, he said.


"In addition to governmental-supported schools and universities, I will also allow private ones to improve the standard of education in our country," he said.


He also promised to reallocate unused land, "I will distribute land that is lying waste to people so that they can build houses on it."


But some observers are sceptical that Mangal would be capable of implementing all that he proposes.


Akhgar said," Mangal offers nice promises to people, but he can't deliver."


Amanullah Nasrat is an IWPR reporter in Kabul.