Abdulali Ahrary, an economics adviser during Khan's administration who now lives in exile in Fremont, California, conceded that the warlord made mistakes but said he cares about Afghanistan more than any other alliance commander. "There was no law before he came and he had many challenges, not all of which he could overcome," Ahrary said.
The commander has tried to reassure those he would lead. When the war is over, the soft-spoken Khan says, he wants representative democracy on a national and local level with former king Zahir Shah reinstated as the figurehead. And if Herat residents vote Khan into power, he plans to build a top-rated university and establish shuras, councils of advisers, on such matters as politics, economics, and defense.
"We are an educated and cultured people," said Khan. "I want to see us shine."