Following Operation Enduring Freedom, conducted by the US, with assistance from numerous other countries and the UN International Security Assistance Force, the influence and violent interventions of the Taliban were gradually eradicated. Afghanistan was able to hold its first direct presidential election on 9 October 2004, ushering in Hamid Karzai as its new president. This was followed by a parliamentary election on 18 September 2005, the first to be held in Afghanistan for 33 years. Afghanistan’s regional government infrastructure comprises 34 provinces. Each provincial government is led by a governor, appointed by the president. Each province sends two members to the House of Elders. Securing the support and cooperation of provincial governors was crucial to the government of President Hamid Karzai, and in order to control previously warring factions he made strategic appointments of former warlords as provincial governors.
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