From http://www.majalla.com/incoming/article192970.ece/BINARY/TM1558_Lo-res.pdf KABUL: The Pashtun warlords son arranged our audience in the plush living room of a villa thronged by petitioners and guarded by men dressed in army uniforms, armed with machineguns and RPGs. Im not standing for money or personal benefit but because I believe that all Afghans should serve the poor and the needy, Gol Rahman Hamdard said in excellent English, explaining that he had given up a well-paying job working at a construction company in order to stand for parliament. Im an anti-corruption candidate. Later, I found out that Hamdards father, a controversial governor who had been run out of several provinces on maladministration charges, owned a construction company and was active in funnelling pro-Taliban Pashtuns into demographically sensitive areas critical for his sons election. It all gave new significance to the only charge that Gol Rahman had made during our interview: accusing the governor of Balkh Provincea rival of his fathersof arming militias. As a Westerner, you shouldnt try to understand the politics and motivations, a university professor later advised me. This is Afghanistan. Yet, I had just spent an hour nodding enthusiastically at Gol Rahmans anti-corruption rhetoric, so I felt a little foolish at my gullibility. Arguably, my reaction is not that different from how the international community feels after nearly a decades involvement in Afghanistan. [Continues] I have met several old Africa hands who always shrugged and said 'This is Africa' to explain everything that was corrupt and cocked up there. Does 'TIA' now also stand for 'This is Afghanistan'?