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Too Few, Badly Paid And Unmotivated: The teacher crisis and the quality of education in Afghanistan

The progress in the education sector has been reported widely as one of the success stories of the national international efforts in Afghanistan since 2002. However, this narrative omits severe problems – one is that the teachers who are supposed to facilitate the rapid growth of the sector are still often ill-trained, ill-equipped, badly paid, […]

Reading in Kabul: The state of Afghan libraries

With Afghanistan’s educated class growing rapidly over the past decade while education resources remain scarce, there is an increasing need for a functioning public library system, AAN’s Qayoom Suroush argues. However, the only public library of Afghanistan’s capital – at the same time standing in for a non-existent national library – is not even close […]

A new Afghan Shia Leader: Return to quietism versus political Islam?

A new leader is emerging in Afghanistan’s Shia community, one who so far has chosen to abstain from any presence or involvement in the religious or political affairs of the country. Ayatollah Mohammad Eshaq Fayaz is being supported by Afghan Shia – among them rather influential figures such as Second Vice President Sarwar Danish – […]

Under the Bridge: The drug addicts’ scene in Kabul

Addiction to drugs is an often underestimated phenomenon in Afghanistan. Thousands of people become addicted to drugs every year in a country that is the world’s major producer of opiates, although many of them developed the habit while living abroad as refugees. In Kabul, they concentrate in western areas of the city, living in veritable […]

2014 Elections (42): Audit stopped, re-started, UN intervenes

There have been days of futile negotiations between the technical teams of the two presidential election candidates over the nature of the ‘invalidation’ criteria – the rules for deciding what to do with votes deemed suspicious in the audit of the 14 June second round of the presidential vote. Now, the United Nations has stepped in […]

Elections 2014 (41): Audit started, rules as yet unclear

The audit of all of the votes cast in Afghanistan’s presidential election run-off has begun at the headquarters of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on the outskirts of Kabul on 17 July. Thirty teams of IEC staff (to be raised eventually to one hundred) checked just one ballot box each, overseen by candidates’ agents, observers […]

Elections (40): The IECC open sessions on election day complaints

Earlier this month, while the IEC was busy deciding whether to announce the highly controversial preliminary results or not, the IECC embarked on its third round of complaints adjudication. The first two rounds – first round presidential and the, now paused, provincial council hearings – had already been a rushed and largely formalistic affair. This […]

Elections (34): The tug-of-war over the Hazara vote, round II

How did the large Afghan Hazara minority – that surprised everyone in the first round with its nearly unanimous backing for Dr Abdullah – vote in the second round of the presidential elections? Partial results from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) are not yet available, but in one of the key provinces for Hazaras, Bamyan, […]