Author Archives: Thomas Ruttig

About Thomas Ruttig

Kabul Diary (1): Glimpses of Kabul, Summer 2009

Blue sky over the Spinghar mountains through the airplane window. Small green fields along grey Kabul river. The tin roofs of Pul-e Charkhi reflecting the sun. The first traffic jam at Indira Gandhi hospital. A push-cart with eggfruit stuck amongst taxis and UN cars. Bicycle riders head on in the traffic. Landcruisers with tinted window […]

Hollow Excuses

We apologize. It was a mistake. We regret the loss of innocent life.’ How often have I heard these sentences after operations of NATO troops had caused – what a horrible trivialisation – ‘collateral damage’. How often have I heard these sentences after operations of NATO troops had caused – what a horrible trivialisation – […]

An election observer speaks out

‘Really widespread fraud‘ has happened during the Afghan presidential election, says Gunter Mulack, a former German diplomat and director of the German Orient Institute in Hamburg; until a few days ago he was the chief political analyst of the EU election observer mission… … led by MEP Phillipe Morillon, a former French general. Mulack added […]

Another Day without an Orange Revolution

Quite some people here in Kabul – maybe internationals more than Afghans – had been looking forward to the day that just passed with mixes feelings. It was 9/9 – and eight years ago Ahmad Shah Massud, the leader of the Northern Alliance mujahedin was killed … … during a fake interview in Khwaja Bahauddin […]

Flash to the Past: Elections under Fire (12 Sept 2008)

All sides involved – the Kabul government, its Western allies, donors and the United Nations – pretend that almost everything’s in order at the Hindukush, apart from small hick-ups. The reality, however, looks different. In the coming year, Afghans are supposed to elect a president for the second times since the fall of the Taleban […]

UNODC Sees Afghan Drug Cartels Emerging – With One Eye Closed

U.N. Sees Afghan Drug Cartels Emerging’, reads a headline in the 2 September issue of the New York Times. Now the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) got it. Or did it? The headline reminds of a 2008 World Bank paper (William A. Byrd, Responding to Afghanistan’s Opium Economy Challenge, The World Bank, South Asia […]

AAN Election Blog No. 29: ‘A fraud would go unnoticed’

Imagine it is election-day and someone else casts your vote. It is possible because in many polling stations no one will ask for your ID card. Malalai Nassir (not her real name) was flabbergasted. When she went to the ballot box on election-day, the electoral staff did not check her ID card. No, that’s not […]

AAN Election Blog No. 28: Two Paktias?

A member of the US PRT in Paktia also experienced that amazingly brilliant blue sky over Paktia. But the elections she saw were quite different from what I have experienced there. When I went to the polling site in Tandar village in Paktia, some 22 kilometres away from the provincial capital Gardez, on election-day on […]

Epistemology of Reconciliation

Read a report by Aunohita Mojumdar about the AIAS/USIP 26 August 2009 Kabul launch of Michael Semple’s book ‘Reconciliation in Afghanistan’ with Nader Nadery from the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and Thomas Ruttig from AAN on the podium under ‘past events’. For the full report click here.

AAN Election Blog No. 25: Balm for Election Sores

The partial results presented by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in a well-attended press conference today in Kabul are mainly meant to calm down the tense atmosphere of accusations and counter-accusations that has developed since E-Day by applying a dose of transparency. It does not say much about what the outcome of the elections will […]

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