Author Archives: Martine van Bijlert

About Martine van Bijlert

Trouble in Khas Uruzgan: Insults, assaults, a siege and an airlift

After three months of near non-stop fighting in Khas Uruzgan, a mixed Pashtun-Hazara district in northeast Uruzgan, the Taleban decimated the district’s Afghan Local Police (ALP) and forced most of the other security forces back into the district centre. The attack was not just part of a wider, concerted effort by the Taleban to put […]

Elections in Hibernation: Afghanistan’s stalled electoral reform

Afghanistan’s electoral reform process has been bogged down for months. While the National Unity Government agreement called for the “immediate establishment” of an Electoral Reform Commission, it took the president five months just to sign the necessary decree. Now, three months later, the commission has still not started its work and it looks like the original […]

Electoral Reform, or rather: Who will control Afghanistan’s next election?

President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah, in the September 2014 agreement, agreed to electoral reforms “to ensure that future elections are credible.” The details of these reforms, when they should take place and who should design them are, however, proving contentious. Meanwhile, parliament has been working on relevant laws, while commissioners of the Independent […]

After the Rollercoaster Comes What? Afghanistan in 2015

2014 was a rollercoaster of a year. The transition was completed. It did not tear the country apart or fragment the security forces, but it sometimes felt close. Afghanistan now stands at the beginning of the optimistically named Decade of Transformation. The country has a new leadership, both fuelled by confidence and ambition and bogged […]

The National Unity Government’s Elusive Cabinet

On day seventy-two of Afghanistan’s national unity government, the new cabinet still looks to be weeks away, with the country’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) locked in protracted discussions over who to appoint and how that should be decided. The composition of the cabinet will be a first, crucial test of what Afghanistan’s new […]

Elections 2014 (47): Audit enters its final precarious phase

While the two teams are trying to revive the political negotiations, the electoral audit is both nearing its end –with around 95 per cent of the ballot boxes reviewed– and moving into its most critical phase: deciding on the findings and arriving at a new result. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has already convened five […]

Elections 2014 (45): Solving audit problems by creating new ones

Afghanistan’s drawn-out election continues to keep a very large number of people very busy. And although there has been progress – both on the political and the technical side – this has mainly been achieved by delaying or isolating key discussion points and contentious decisions. The audit has finally started speeding up, but only after […]

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