Dispatches

A Break(dance) from the Elections: The street hits the Kabul stage

As election chaos and fraught discussions over Afghanistan’s future weary even the most passionate activist, there is a fringe of Afghans only minimally concerned with politics who spend their time… breakdancing? Not the most intuitive choice for young citizens of a country where many still frown on music and dance. Or perhaps it is the […]

The prospect of peace talks after the Bergdahl deal: A Taleban perspective

Bowe Bergahl, now back in America, and the five Taleban ex-Guantanamo detainees, in Qatar, will all be trying to get used to life after detention. Beyond the personal, what political consequences might the deal have? After years of efforts, it was wrapped up unexpectedly fast and, in the end, was a stand-alone deal, not part […]

Little Bridges: AAN’s new report on the slowly growing links between Afghanistan and the Central Asia republics

Reports about Afghanistan and its neighbours to the north usually lump the five former Soviet Central Asia republics together as an undifferentiated block  – ‘the Stans’. Such an approach does not reflect the reality of five countries with very different, mainly bilateral and very local relationships with Afghanistan. The distortion has only been worsened by […]

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, […]

Elections 2014 (33): ‘Amarkhel Gate’ – sheep, tape, resignation

The resignation of the head of the secretariat of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Zia ul-Haq Amarkhel, may just have saved the election – if it brings Dr Abdullah back into the process. In support of his demand (one of several) for Amarkhel to go, Abdullah had ceased cooperating with the IEC and his supporters […]

Elections (31): Afghanistan’s confusing election maths

Only hours after polling centres had closed on the evening of the second round of voting in the Afghan presidential election, the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) was already giving the first turnout figures. They were high. Some media broadcast them without question; other outlets were more sceptical, citing anecdotal evidence suggesting turnout might actually […]

Elections 2014 (30): Some initial reflections on E-Day II

The counting of second round votes from the presidential elections is still under way in much of Afghanistan, although results are now trickling in from some polling stations. Meanwhile, everyone is trying to assess how well the second round went: the impact of security incidents, level of fraud and, especially importantly, how big the turnout […]

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