Author Archives: Obaid Ali

About Obaid Ali

Security Forces Spread Thin: An update from contested Faryab province

On the day after the Afghan vote, nearly unnoticed in the election frenzy, Faryab province experienced yet another complex Taleban attack. Taleban fighters stormed large parts of Qaisar district, and ruled the area for almost three weeks. The Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) retreated immediately, outnumbered and faced with more and […]

Elections 2014 (22): How disenchantment with General Dostum split the Uzbek vote bank

The outcome in the Uzbek- and Turkmen-dominated provinces in northern Afghanistan of the first round of the 5 April presidential election has turned in an unexpected direction. Jombesh-e Melli-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan’s (The National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan), the self-declared dominating party in this region, had expected to obtain the entire ‘Turkic’ vote for the Ghani-Dostum […]

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 […]

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