Author Archives: Obaid Ali

About Obaid Ali

Fire in the Pashai Hills: A two-district case study from Kapisa

The Taleban are making further headway towards Kabul. In Kapisa province, 80 kilometers northeast of the capital, they have already established an administrative system governing one of the districts, Alasai. An uprising staged against them last summer by local Jamiati commanders failed,  largely due to lack of support from government forces. At the same time, […]

Battleground Kankur: Afghan students’ difficult way into higher education

For some hundred thousand Afghan high school graduates, the university entry tests, known as kankur, have started. The first to sit the exam, from December onwards, were students in more-remote provinces, for example Badghis, Bamyan, Daikundi, Nuristan, Wardak, Logar and Sar-e Pul. Pictures of rows of students sitting on city squares  or mosques taking the […]

The Empty Streets of Mohammad Agha: Logar’s struggle against the Taleban

Logar province has become a dangerous place to live for many residents. The number of violent incidents and assassinations of locals committed by Taleban has increased starkly. AAN’s Obaid Ali describes how the Taleban intimidate and exploit the people of this province just south of Kabul and how they challenge local security forces, especially the […]

Security in Kunduz Worsening Further: The case of Khanabad

Kunduz has had the worst security environment of any province in the north for the past few years. And within this province there are several districts that are particularly notable for the intractable conflicts raging within them. One notable area in this regard is Khanabad district, where government forces, nominally pro-government militias, illegal armed groups […]

Ahmad Zaher or Manga Style? The cutting-edge business of Afghan barbers

A young Afghan man’s morning, across the country, often starts with a time-consuming session of arranging his hair. Afghan men are proud of their usually thick, glossy tufts and barbers accordingly make good business providing their style-hungry customers with the latest cuts. This has tradition. A variety of distinct hairstyles can be seen on photographs […]

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 […]

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