Dispatches

“An attempt to wipe out history”: The destruction of the Bamian Buddha colossi in 2001

On 26 February 2001, the leader of the Afghan Taleban movement, Mullah Muhammad Omar, ordered from his headquarters in Kandahar that “all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the different areas of the Islamic Emirate must be broken” because they were worshipped by people of non-Islamic religious beliefs and were therefore ‘idols.’ This kind of worship, […]

Because of Impunity: UN reports Afghan forces still torturing Afghans

It is two years since UNAMA last reported on torture by Afghan security forces of detainees suspected of conflict-related crimes. In the wake of its 2013 report, former President Karzai was stung into investigating the matter and instituted steps to try to root torture out. ISAF also strengthened its monitoring of detainees it transferred to […]

Electoral Reform, or rather: Who will control Afghanistan’s next election?

President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah, in the September 2014 agreement, agreed to electoral reforms “to ensure that future elections are credible.” The details of these reforms, when they should take place and who should design them are, however, proving contentious. Meanwhile, parliament has been working on relevant laws, while commissioners of the Independent […]

Power to the People: How to extend Afghans’ access to electricity

More than four billion dollars have, to date, been spent on Afghanistan’s power infrastructure. And yet there are still considerable deficiencies, even in the country’s capital, which has seen most of the investment – and most of the progress. At the same time, the demand for electricity is rapidly growing and the supply-demand gap has […]

Winnowing the Cabinet List: MPs vote, nine of 27 ministers endorsed

Afghanistan finally has some ministers – nine men; yes, all those who succeeded in getting the lower house’s endorsement were male. Today (26 January 2015), the Wolesi Jirga rejected ten other candidates, while eight other prospective ministers had already fallen by the wayside (because of having a second passport, a criminal conviction, not having a […]

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