Author Archives: Thomas Ruttig

About Thomas Ruttig

With a Little Help From His Friends: A new biography of Hamed Karzai

With only a few days left in the last of Karzai’s two 5-year tenures as head of state (the inauguration of his – still unknown – successor has just been postponed again), Dutch journalist Bette Dam presents the reviewed and updated English version of her biography of the politician who has shaped Afghanistan’s last 14 […]

Trying to Stop the Bases: Another opposition block in the making?

A political front composed of traditional mujahedin and neo-Islamist groups that oppose any foreign military presence has raised objections to the plan to establish a ‘national unity government’. It rather proposes setting up an ‘inclusive’ government, which would also involve the main insurgent groups, in order to end the war and then to hold fresh […]

From Point Zero to ‘New Warmth’: Russian-Afghan relations since 1989

After the Soviet occupation years, Afghan-Russian relations were on absolute zero. But post-Soviet Russia has worked carefully on improving the situation step by step. This strategy is based on an about-face under Yeltsin: dropping Najibullah and building a relationship with the mujahedin, beginning in 1992. In recent years, mounting Afghan-US and Russian-US tensions have made […]

Afghanistan in World War I (1): Afghans in the Kaiser’s jihad

 A hundred years ago, on 28 July 1914, the First World War started when Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia after a group of young pro-independence Serbian terrorists shot dead the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo one month earlier. Soon, millions were dying on the battlefields across four continents in what was termed the “first global […]

Elections (31): Afghanistan’s confusing election maths

Only hours after polling centres had closed on the evening of the second round of voting in the Afghan presidential election, the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) was already giving the first turnout figures. They were high. Some media broadcast them without question; other outlets were more sceptical, citing anecdotal evidence suggesting turnout might actually […]

Elections 2014 (30): Some initial reflections on E-Day II

The counting of second round votes from the presidential elections is still under way in much of Afghanistan, although results are now trickling in from some polling stations. Meanwhile, everyone is trying to assess how well the second round went: the impact of security incidents, level of fraud and, especially importantly, how big the turnout […]

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 […]

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