"After Allah, my constituents rely on me": Durani
KABUL (PAN): "I will convey the voices of my people to officials at any cost, because after Allah, they rely on me," vowed Abdul Ahmad Durani, a Wolesi Jirga MP from the central province of Maidan Wardak.
Durani, 52, from the Zimno Valley of the Jarliz district in Maidan Wardak, once served as a commander of Hezb-i-Islami, led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar. He later switched to another armed group, Itehad-e-Islami, led by current MP Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf. When the Taliban captured Kabul, Durani moved north and became a member of the Northern Alliance.
He has a ninth-grade education and the military rank of general, and served as acting governor of Maidan Wardak province for eight months in 2002. After that he was provincial police chief for four years.
Durani won his Wolesi Jirga seat with over 12,700 votes from Maidan Wardak last year. He now lives in the Khushal Mina locality of the capital Kabul.
A member of the lower house's Internal Security Commission, he said he is famous as a pro-government representative. He does not oppose the special election court President Hamid Karzai established to investigate allegations of fraud in the 2009 Parliamentary election. Nor has he ever cast a vote of no confidence against any government official. He said he has voted this way "to avoid any crisis."
But he said he will never support weak government officials.
Durani said he supports the special court because he believes vote rigging occurred in the last Parliamentary election, and the court can evaluate fraud complaints and ensure a just outcome. But he expressed concern that the dispute sparked by the tribunal has prevented the house from achieving anything.
On June 23, the tribunal disqualified 62 sitting MPs based on a vote recount in 27 provinces. The house rejected the verdict and the case is still under dispute. Most recently, President Karzai referred the case back to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Afghanistan's ultimate electoral authority, for a final decision.
He is proud of his resistance against Russian invasion, but abominates inter-Afghan rivalries between iihadi parties. He said, "I was engaged in inter-jihadi party warfare. May Allah forgive me; I hate such violence."
Durani now has four security guards and claims to have given all his arms to the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG). During a two-and-a-half hour interview with a Pajhwok reporter, he was visited by around a hundred constituents.
Most of his constituents complained their relatives had been arrested for suspicious links with the Taliban.
"I do my level best to serve my people; I never turn my back to them," he said. "My people are good too because they do not request anything I am unable to deliver for them."
Durani spent about $80,000 on his election campaign, much of it provided by provincial businessmen and Shir Alam, a former Itehad-e-Islami commander. He believes the decision on the security transition was taken prematurely.
A former anti-Taliban commander and supporter of the Northern Alliance, Durani supports the reconciliation of the Taliban and their participation in Afghan political life based on their qualifications.
Durani exercises every morning after morning prayers to lose weight, and he likes movies and classic Afghan songs.
Married in his twenties, Durani has two sons and six daughters and says he devotes a great deal of attention to his children's education. He is proud of his eldest daughter for having memorized the entire Quran and of his other children for studying hard in school.
His salary does not meet the needs and expenses of his family, he explained. His sons run businesses in addition to going to school so that they can support the family.
The MPs receive 130,000 afghanis (about $2,750) monthly salary from the house.
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