In Afghanistan’s Season of Crisis, ‘Words Do Not Have the Strength’

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Muqadessa Ahmadzai, 25, is running in Nangarhar Province, where many districts are under threat from the Taliban or the Islamic State, and where the provincial capital, Jalalabad, has been wrecked by repeated suicide attacks.She says she is running for Parliament to try to correct some of the wrongs of the elites, in any way she can.“We have not received the kind of representation we expected,” said Ms. Ahmadzai, who led a nonprofit group that established literary hubs in schools for female writers. “Not only did they not fight for our rights, but they actually abused our rights.” She added: “They are the reason for Afghanistan’s crisis.”The months ahead will likely prove even more testing to the patience of ordinary Afghans, and to the coherence of the government.The voting on Saturday is likely to produce the kind of localized disputes that will, once again, put the coalition government and its international partners in firefighting mode.Mr. Bahar, the poet, said he was trying a variety of things to ease his mind, like talking long walks.“We waited a long time, hoping that it would get better next year, and then the year after and then the year after. But it’s not happening,” said Mr. Bahar, the poet. “I will wait another few months, until the presidential elections. If it doesn’t improve, I will have to find a smuggling route to another country.”He added: “In a different country, at least I can go up a mountain, sit by the water. At least my mind will be at ease.”

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