"If [the governors] just laid down the gauntlet, and said, 'Listen, I don't care what the Constitution says, your government isn't moving into the province without our say so,' that could have a lot of local support," says Thomas Barfield, an expert on Afghanistan at Boston University in Massachusetts. "If one person does it, it could spread like wildfire."
Bahij says he will take his cues from Dr. Abdullah, whom he doesn't expect to call for anything illegal. At the same time, he singled out Abdullah's campaign platform calling for governors and other provincial officials to be locally chosen.
Meanwhile, Atta Mohammad Noor, another governor who rules over the pivotal northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, is reportedly making veiled threats of street violence if Karzai doesn't agree to decentralize.
Explosions? That's construction, mining
Two hours north of Kabul, armed guards stop and register all vehicles before allowing entrance to the Panjshir River gorge. Barren mountains press in close, leaving room only for the road and the river, which even in late autumn sends mighty emerald swells over the boulders.
The strong natural defenses of Panjshir allowed the late commander Ahmad Shah Massoud and his dwindling Northern Alliance fighters to resist the Taliban right up until he was killed days before Sept. 11, 2001. Nowadays, the same barriers – and the historic grudge – have kept the Taliban-led insurgency out.
Indeed, when an explosion echoed throughout the capital of Parakh on Thursday, a group of uniformed police didn't even look up from their game of volleyball. Dynamite here is for construction and mining, not destruction and death.