Dispatches

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 […]

AAN Election Blog No. 30: Which votes are to be counted – a crucial battle

As the press continued to recount stories from far-flung districts (outraged elders, stuffed ballot boxes, intimidated electoral staff); as the international actors were “allowing the process to run its course”; as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) stoically continued to announce its batches of preliminary count results, while releasing more and more “dirty” ballot boxes into […]

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 […]

AAN Election Blog No. 27: A mysterious election and a fluid count

Analysing the 2009 Afghan election as they are unfolding is quite a unique experience. An observer from Global Democracy, recently quoted in Kabul Weekly (26 August 2009), aptly called this “a mysterious election” in which “even the number of voters is not known”. And mysterious it is. Even the most basic analysis is shaky in […]

AAN Guest Blog: The US’s strongman policy in Afghanistan

Here is a reply written by our friend and AAN member JOANNA NATHAN* to the New York Times article ‘Accused of Drug Ties, Afghan Official Worries U.S.’ It was posted first on The AfPak Channel, a blog of the Foreign Policy magazine, on 28 August 2009. Thursday’s New York Times ran this interesting article drawing together material […]

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