Author Archives: Obaid Ali

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Autumn Pastimes, or the Other Fighting Grounds of Afghanistan

Bird fighting has an ancient history as a common autumn pastime among Afghans. As soon as the weather gets colder, various tournaments take place among bird enthusiasts, either in the open air or in a warm arena, depending on what sort of birds are fighting. In Kabul, the favourite birds to take the field are [...]

“As Easy As Growing Potatoes”: How formerly ‘poppy-free’ Ghor is at risk of becoming an important player in Afghanistan’s opium business

Ghor province has been considered poppy-free for a long time, but in the past two years opium production and drug trafficking have picked up sharply. With insecurity in the province on the rise, obstructing income sources and basic services, many of Ghor’s farmers migrated to neighbouring provinces like Helmand, helping in the local drug production [...]

Pupils as Pawns: Plundered education in Ghor

Empty classrooms, fake girls’ schools, teachers’ salaries siphoned off by warlords: in Ghor province in Afghanistan’s west, the shadows of strongmen loom large and schools, too, have become pawns in the power struggle between rival factions. AAN’s Obaid Ali has visited this remote, poor and conflict-ridden province and – in this second of three dispatches [...]

A Slow Start: Afghan voter registration in urban centres first

On 25 May 2013, voter registration for the 2014 presidential election officially kicked off throughout Afghanistan. Female registration has been slow, even though the process is for the moment limited to the provincial capitals. Also general turn-out has been quite low and the process has proven to be cumbersome. It is however still very early [...]

Moving East in the North: Transitioned Faryab and the Taleban

It took little more than seven months to turn Faryab from a province with a worrisome security situation into a province under constant attack. Since the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Faryab closed in September 2012, the security situation has quickly deteriorated. These days, Faryab is one of the main targets of the Taleban’s [...]

A New Round of Anti-Sherzai Protests In Nangarhar

In a five day-long protest in the Nangarhar provincial centre of Jalalabad, thousands of demonstrators have demanded the immediate dismissal of governor Gul Agha Sherzai for alleged involvement in corruption, embezzlement of development funds, illegal land grabs and for failing to protect Afghan territory from Pakistani inroads. The protestors were led, among others, by MP [...]

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