Author Archives: S Reza Kazemi

About S Reza Kazemi

The Battle between Law and Force: Scattered political power and deteriorating security test Herat’s dynamism

Herat – the affluent and vibrant city in western Afghanistan – is going through a ‘scattering’ of political power and a deterioration in security. While Ismail Khan, the self-styled ‘amir of the west’, is still the preeminent figure, political power is no longer concentrated only in his hands, and the new actors are behaving differently […]

More bilateral than multilateral effects: The Afghanistan conference in China

The fourth foreign ministerial conference of the Afghanistan-centred Heart of Asia/Istanbul process in Beijing on 31 October 2014 demonstrated a lack of progress in the regional cooperation in many respects, from its organisation to the funding. Nevertheless, it produced a few, rather mixed, results. These include, at a minimum, developments in Sino-Afghan relations and in Sino-American […]

On the Road through Beijing (and Kathmandu): The new Afghan leadership’s attempts to engage with Asia

Compelled by widening economic and other challenges, the new Afghan government seems determined to diversify Afghanistan’s foreign relations by slowly forging stronger economic and political ties with countries in the region. For this purpose, it has at least two cards to play: the country’s geographic position as a corridor for regional trade and its natural […]

The New Gangs of Herat: How young Afghans turn away from their community

In the city of Herat, an increasing number of young people drop out of school, form petty gangs, become drug addicts and generally have problems with their community. Many of these youth are also connected to friends abroad with several of them migrating to Iran, Europe and Australia to escape the local community, and recently […]

Will the ‘Heart of Asia’ start beating? A review of the regional co-operation process

The dragging-on of the presidential election has also affected regional co-operation on Afghanistan. The Afghan government, supported by the international community, has been attempting to work with regional states towards co-operation on security and development in Afghanistan and its neighbourhood under what is called the ‘Heart of Asia’ or Istanbul process since November 2011. Scheduled […]

Memorials and Patrons: How northern Afghan elites try to own history

Elites in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and most important city in the north, have, in recent years, supported the building of new memorials and re-naming of the city’s streets and intersections. They are also sponsoring intellectuals and their literary and artistic output. These are politically driven cultural projects, attempts by the leading […]

Money, Jobs and Mutton Soup: Pre-election discourses in a Herat township

In Herat, campaign activity for Afghanistan’s crucial simultaneous presidential and provincial council elections began well before the official start on 2 February 2014, at least in parts of the city’s outskirts. The candidates are increasingly making themselves known to ordinary people and some presidential candidates have also been making initial appearances in local communities. Small […]

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