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The 2015 insurgency in the North (4): Surrounding the cities in Baghlan

During the recent two week Taleban occupation of Kunduz city, the strong insurgent presence in the province immediately to the south, Baghlan, was of huge importance to the insurgents. By blocking the key north-south road which goes through the heart of the province, they prevented ANA reinforcements from the capital from reaching Kunduz for several days. The movement […]

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 […]

First Reactions Negative: The new Electoral Complaints Commission

The presidential palace has announced the names of the five members of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), the body which will deal with any complaints about the April 2014 presidential election. It will also, along with the Independent Election Commission (IEC), rule whether the ballot was free and fair. The commissioners are Abdul Sattar Sadat, Rida […]

Narrower Than Expected: Political opposition presents “Electoral Union of Afghanistan”

Today, 29 August 2013, a coalition of powerful groups and opposition parties, dominated by Northern powerbrokers, came forward and announced their “electoral union.” It could have been one of the first real political happenings in the wheeling and dealing before the presidential election of April 2014. Instead it was a surprisingly uninspired and chaotic event. […]

Tit for Tat – and Worse: The long history of enmity between parliament and government

The relationship between the Afghan president and, by extension, his cabinet and Afghanistan’s parliament has frequently been turbulent over the past years. The latest example came yesterday (22 July 2013) with parliament’s voting out of office of the interior minister, Mujtaba Patang. Earlier, from April to July, conflict centred around the finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal, […]

Summoning the Ministers: parliament damages its own image

At a time when President Karzai’s last turn in office is getting closer to its end, the Afghan parliament has been turning up the pressure on the cabinet. It was not the first time MPs had summoned ministers to answer inquiries about their performance, with the threat of voting them out of office. This time, […]

Elections or National Consensus: Which one wins?

The complexity of Afghanistan’s political spectrum and the traditionally overwhelming desire of Afghan leaders to keep power are major elements that have an effect on whether the political transition process – which continues simultaneous with the transition of security responsibilities – will be democratic. The ballot stuffing in the 2009 presidential and 2010 parliamentarian elections […]