Political Landscape

Bomb and Ballot: The many strands and tactics of Hezb-e Islami

Hezb-e Islami Afghanistan – known as Hezb-e Islami of Gulbuddin, or HIG, in the West – has (almost) declared support for its former chief negotiator with Kabul as a candidate for the 5 April 2014 presidential election. This comes less than a week after it claimed the latest suicide car bomb attack in Kabul that […]

Re-plugging: The final list of presidential and vice-presidential candidates

After some queries on social media and a check of several websites, including that of the Afghan Independent Election Commission,(1) there seems to be a lack of the complete final list of all tickets for the 5 April 2014 presidential election, particularly of the 11 contenders’ vice-presidential candidates. As a reference document, AAN’s co-director Thomas […]

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 […]

Rallies, Debate, Rain and Snow: The 2014 presidential election campaign starts

The Afghan presidential election campaign has kicked off – two months before polling day. Candidates are showing a range of attitudes, from launching big, brash public rallies to a rather desultory ‘we start tomorrow’ attitude. With no evident frontrunner, it seems the campaign will involve a real attempt to win over voters and will be […]

Fear, Hope and Determination: Afghanistan and the 2014 Syndrome

Ever since in 2011 President Obama announced his timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the prospect of 2014 has been looming ominously over the country. And now we are here, at the beginning of this almost mythical year. There is nervousness and fear, but also pushback, with some Afghans believing that the […]

Not a Promising Start: The vetting of the presidential and provincial council candidates

Buried in a pre-election assessment report by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) are concerns about the transparency with which presidential and provincial council candidates have been vetted. Peter Manikas, NDI’s Asia director, said at a press conference earlier this month that they were concerned that “a number of people who should have been eligible candidates […]

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