Election results are inching towards enabling another term for the incumbent president. Such an outcome was widely predicted prior to elections. All surveys pointed toward this scenario. However, unnecessary gimmickry has reduced the credibility of the elections as well as the president. President Karzai came under unnecessary pressure and ended up making alliances with notorious warlords and drug paddlers; this has eroded his credentials and has projected him as an individual who wants to continue clinging to power at any cost. Moreover, reports of massive irregularities during the polling process would go a long way in undermining the credibility of the electoral process. A perception of farce elections now prevails, the world over. Nevertheless, Afghan elections need to be viewed in the context of the extent and the limits within which free and fair elections could be conducted in a country under foreign occupation. With mounting resistance against the failed occupation, desperate Americans had pinned their hopes on the continuation of Karzai regime. Hence, a lot of behind-the-doors wheeling and dealing was done by them to pave the way for re-election of the incumbent. By tacitly sponsoring the incumbent president for his re-election, Americans have ended up carrying the onus of endorsing all shortcomings of this regime, yet for another term. This indicates that they have opted for a voyage into a close-ended tunnel, with limited options. Turnout of 40-45 percent against the figure of about 70 percent during the previous election indicates that a common Afghan is not expecting much from the post election dispensation. It appears that the bulk of the Pushtun voters, disaffected towards Karzai decided to stay home on the polling day. This is a common practice in the societies aligned (read polarised) on ethnic lines, where one is poised to vote only for own community candidate. In case such a candidate is not considered suitable, the voter does not go to vote, rather than voting for a guy of some other ethnicity. Post-election Karzai is politically bruised, and is on a much lower moral pedestal. Hence during his coming term, Karzai would be a much weaker president. With the support from his ethnic base eroded, and having acquired the faade of an opportunist, President Karzai would be more dependent on the occupation forces for his personal safety and continuation in office. As barter, he would look after the interest of his mentors and would keep requesting for extension of stay by ISAF (and NATO forces), on as required basis. Now, he hardly has a choice but to remain pliant. Furthermore, the dispensation would carry the burden of incumbency. Hence no radical shift is expected, at least, in immediate timeframe. Nevertheless, there could be incremental readjustments and realignments to reinforce the implementation of overall grand strategy of occupation forces, either to perpetuate their stay or to facilitate their exit, if they so choose. There is neither a likelihood of worthwhile enhancement in the credibility of the post election government nor of a significant expansion in its sphere of influence, unless it transforms itself into a broad based dispensation. Such expansion of base involves intricate intra-Afghan dialogue. However, in the backdrop of ongoing spate of militancy, this may be a tedious task. Due to negative political baggage of Karzai government, not many Taliban outfits were expected to overtly endorse the electoral process, prior to elections; however, some moderate Taliban groups may now opt to support the post-election government. In this regard necessary consultative process needs to resume at the earliest. Focus of this process should be on winning over the mainstream Pushtun leadership. An effort to cosy up with ethnic minorities for marginalising the Pushtun majority would be counterproductive. Replication of Iraqi model over Afghanistan is likely to have its downside. It worked in Iraq on the basis of sectarian affiliations whereas in Afghanistan, the dominant factor is ethnicity. In Iraq the majority sect has been sidelined, presumably for the time being. However, a similar attempt to marginalise the majority ethnic group (Pushtuns) in Afghanistan would, in all probability, invite a backlash. This would also have serious repercussions in Pakistans Pushtun belt. Alternatively, the option could be an across-the-board absorption of moderate Taliban into elected dispensation through negotiations and deal making, cutting across prevailing ethnic and sectarian divides. However, if post-election arrangement brings calm in Afghanistan, it would radiate its effects into Pakistan as well. Majority of Afghan refugees would repatriate and there would be a substantial reduction in the occurrences of violence in Pakistan. Work could start on setting up of ROZs, which would enable economic rehabilitation of those who joined extremist gangs out of economic difficulties, and are willing to break away for an exchange package of a reasonable socio-economic settlement. Rehabilitation of such moderate elements would marginalise the hardened cells which could be tackled by force, and defeated. This would provide viable options to the occupation forces for a face saving exit strategy. Post-election mission accomplishment would, indeed, remain conditional upon winning of Afghan hearts by the new government, and its ability to achieve the objective of good governance. Now fast track intra-Afghan negotiations should be the starting point, with military option going in the background. All moderate and non-committed elements should be invited to join the post-election dispensation, and hence own it. Only a credible government, represented by all significant elements of Afghan society, would be able to demonstrate efficient governance and pursue for a withdrawal timeframe from the occupation forces. Despite the recent conclusion by General McChrystal that the occupation had failed, foreign forces may continue to strive to maintain the occupation, albeit with a bleeding nose, for an indefinite time. However, Afghans as a nation are becoming increasingly weary of foreign presence. Surge versus surge encounters have made it amply clear that the aliens do not have indefinite time at their disposal; they need to plan an early exit. Since Soviet occupation, Afghans have lost almost a generation while struggling for independence. They definitely deserve better The writer is a retired air officer of the Pakistan Air Force E-mail: khalid3408@gmail.com