Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Month: August 2009

AAN Election Blog No. 22: E-Day in P2K

Thomas Ruttig

Frankly, when I went to bed on E-Day eve in Gardez, on Wednesday, I wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to leave the UNAMA compound the next day to watch polling sites in Paktia province. A lot of people looked very sceptical when I mentioned this idea. Gardez centre was the maximum, almost […]

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AAN Election Blog 21: Observing the Vote – An Election with Many Faces

Martine van Bijlert

Election Day 2009. After the suspense of the last few days, things seemed refreshingly normal. Kabul city was quiet, but people were chatting at the side of the road, riding their bicycles and allowing their children to play outside. I had decided to return to the areas where I had watched my first Afghan election […]

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Hamed Karzai addresses media representatives during a press conference. AFP PHOTO/SHAH Marai/2009

AAN Election Blog No. 20: Armchair analyst

Sari Kouvo

Distance can provide perspective, at least that is what armchair analysts like myself try to convince ourselves. However, having monitored two elections in Afghanistan, I know that distance also means that one misses the political undercurrents and the real stories behind facts and figures. During the first Presidential elections, Bob Dylan’s song ‘Black Diamond Bay’ […]

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26 August 2009, 5 pm, Kabul: Book Presentation and Discussion on Reconciliation

AAN admin

A new book by Michael Semple titled ‘Reconciliation in Afghanistan’, published by the US Institute of Peace (USIP), was released in the United States in July. USIP Kabul launches the book in an event on 26 August in the AIAS Office, Wazir Akbar Khan, Street 15, First Street to Left, House No. 57. Nader Nadery from the Afghan […]

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AAN Electoral Blog No. 19: The day before the 2009 elections

Martine van Bijlert

Kabul 19 August 2009. The day started with a several hour shoot-out in Kabul’s old centre after a handful of armed men attacked a bank. The attack was claimed by a Taliban spokesperson and the story that was passed around was that the Taliban had entered the city and that fighting had started, which sounded […]

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AAN Electoral Blog No. 18: Some last minute figures

Martine van Bijlert

Last minute figures indicate that there will be no voting in nine districts; that it is still not clear how many polling station are planned to be open (the ambiguity could lead to ‘ghost polling’), and that FEFA observers will cover roughly 60% of the country’s districts. Complaints received by the ECC show marked regional […]

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AAN Electoral Blog No. 17: Voter Turnout – stating the obvious

Martine van Bijlert

Some things are so obvious that you almost forget to mention them. This is one of them: voter turnout and what that tells us about voter engagement and the credibility of the elections. The answer is: very little. The turnout figures which will be announced shortly after initial counting data has been gathered tell us […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 16: Impressions from P2K (3): Taleban Shut Down Bazaars in Paktika and Khost

Thomas Ruttig

The scenery was a bit like in those Westerns where the population has got wind that the really bad guys would ride into town soon. The sun was scorching down almost vertically, the wind drove plumes of dust and waste plastic bags down the main road while a single motorbike with two young chaps curved […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 15: The Best Candidates’ Posters (3) – War & Peace Movements

Thomas Ruttig

The prize for the boldest election poster goes to Shahnawaz Tanai, another presidential candidate from the South-East, from Khost province to be precise where his Tani tribe dwells in the dry plains outside Khost town ‘where only stones grow in the field’ as a local friend describes it and in the chromite-(holding) hills to the […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 13: The Debate

Martine van Bijlert

Sunday afternoon, flicking through the channels (men singing, dubbed cartoons, news in Pashtu) wondering whether it was going to happen, and there it was: the debate. A large light blue studio, an expectant audience and the three contenders sitting slightly nervous on the first row. It was an interesting two-hour watch, for several reasons, one […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 12: Impressions from P2K (1): Flying with Both Hands

Thomas Ruttig

Gardez makes true of its name – ‘dusty’. The capital of the South-eastern province of Paktia’s skyline, with the two characteristic cony hills and the Bala Hissar, the fort, on a third hill under which Buddhist remains are suspected are barely visible in the dust that is driven by the afternoon wind over the plateau […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 14: Impressions from P2K (2): Floor Crossing and an Afghan Perspective

Thomas Ruttig

For someone who is used to think of Pashtuns as wild big guys with big beards and big noses, armed with Kalashnikovs, a stroll through the bazaar of Gardez today must have been shocking. With not only the presidential elections (on 20 August) but also the holy fasting month of Ramazan (on 21 August – […]

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