Economy & Development

Guest Blog: Mining the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’

The big Logar copper mine of Mes-e Aynak, with its Buddhist finds, epitomizes a dilemma many countries are facing: excavate your natural resources or protect your cultural heritage (and natural environment). In Afghanistan, after three decades of violent conflict, the latter is threatened to lose out in this competition. But as the country’s archeological sites, […]

Figure of the Day: US$ 100 m. (in destroyed orchards)

An Afghan government delegation has reported that ‘Afghan and foreign forces have caused more than US$ 100 million damage to fruit crops and homes during security operations in southern Kandahar province’. AAN’s senior analyst Thomas Ruttig remembers an episode last summer. When a young Afghan visited our office last summer and told us about US […]

Afghan Government Declares Kabul Smog Holiday

From tomorrow, 1 December, until the end of the Afghan year (20 March), Kabul will enjoy a proper, two-day weekend. Every Thursday, government offices will be closed and workers asked to stay at home. But it is not a social achievement – it is a smog-induced extra holiday, an attempt to give this polluted city […]

Afghan civil society launches Access to Information campaign

This morning a large number of Afghan civil society organisations and several media organisations used the media attention surrounding the Kabul conference to launch a campaign highlighting the need for access to information and calling for the necessary legislation to be drafted. The demand is an important one. The pervasive ambiguity, the lack of clarity […]

New Bureaucracies to Welcome ‘Upset Brothers’

Jobs, training, psychosocial counselling and block grants: A look at the Afghan government’s new ‘peace and reintegration’ plan to bring home the Taleban. By Kate Clark (with input from Thomas Ruttig) Reading the draft of the Afghan government’s programme for peace and reintegration is a surreal experience, starting with the opening and the first sentence’s […]

Afghanistan Bird Watch

The most underreported Afghan story of January 2010 already has been identified: One of the world rarest birds has been spotted in Badakhshan. Overshadowed by the coverage of the London conference, the BBCreported that scientists of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society found specimen of the large-billed reed warbler (photo), one of the rarest birds on earth, during […]

Corruption, corruption, corruption

Karzai’s international backers have made no secret of what their priorities for his new administration were: transfer of security responsibilities, reconciliation, economic development, relations with the neighbours, and corruption, corruption, corruption. They were well served by Karzai’s inaugural speech: everything was included – reason for a (small) collective sigh of relief. Another potential confrontation, with […]

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 […]

Beyond Taleban

Multiple suicide attacks in Gardez and Khost. July most bloody month ever for US forces in Afghanistan. More British troops to be deployed. Karzai’s empty chair at Tolo TV’s presidential candidates’ debate… Reporting about Afghanistan mainly focuses on security issues and elections currently. Very often, our own countries’ domestic politics overshadow the other reality, life […]

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