Author Archives: Martine van Bijlert

About Martine van Bijlert

AAN Electoral Blog No. 17: Voter Turnout – stating the obvious

Some things are so obvious that you almost forget to mention them. This is one of them: voter turnout and what that tells us about voter engagement and the credibility of the elections. The answer is: very little. The turnout figures which will be announced shortly after initial counting data has been gathered tell us […]

AAN Election Blog No. 13: The Debate

Sunday afternoon, flicking through the channels (men singing, dubbed cartoons, news in Pashtu) wondering whether it was going to happen, and there it was: the debate. A large light blue studio, an expectant audience and the three contenders sitting slightly nervous on the first row. It was an interesting two-hour watch, for several reasons, one […]

AAN Election Blog No. 10: Elections in far-away places

Elections in far-away places can be fairly crude affairs. Never mind procedures and regulations and forget about the monitors. Travellers from a Hazara enclave in southern Afghanistan, recount what an election looks like in their quarters. In their area villagers are currently trying to figure out how to get the ballot papers and the boxes […]

AAN Election Blog No. 9: On the Campaign Trail III

Kabul provincial council candidates try to scrape together their campaign and to attract the attention of the city and district voters. A closer look at how this works, through the eyes of three Kabul contenders – let’s call them Shafiqa, Engineer Ahmad and ‘Mohammad the Poor Guy’. As a provincial council contender it makes sense […]

AAN Election Blog No. 8: The Best Election Posters (2)

Today: Al-Haj Ustad Zakera Anwar – the power of Tide: The prize for the best location receives Ms Zakera Anwar, a Kabul provincial council candidate from Qala-ye Fathullah in the Afghan capital who calls herself an ‘independent’. She placed her poster in a grocery shop – next to a stack of washing powder. The message […]

AAN Election Blog No. 3: On the Campaign Trail II

Campaigning in Afghanistan. The phone calls start coming in and friends stop by: let me tell you what is happening in my area. These are the details of just one day: rallies, threats and doubts. People from Spin Boldak are cancelling their attendance for an Abdullah rally in Kandahar because the drivers of the hired […]

AAN Election Blog No. 2: On the Campaign Trail

A view of the Afghan elections through the eyes of the so-called ‘minor actors’, those without influence and money who try to navigate and position themselves and try to find their place in what is going on. The first campaigner to be introduced is – let’s call him Abdul Mohammad. The last few times I […]

Teeth, flowers and another tale of violence

Every day in Afghanistan is full of stories. Most of them with a fair share of bad luck and wry humour and usually quite a bit of violence. This story is about – let’s call him Hamidullah. Hamidullah comes from a place not far from Kabul. It is commander country. In the past he fought under […]

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