Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Reports

Reports – previously known as dispatches – are the flagship of the AAN website and our main type of publication. AAN reports are based on extensive desk and field research and provide timely and in-depth information and analysis.

Hollow Excuses

Thomas Ruttig

We apologize. It was a mistake. We regret the loss of innocent life.’ How often have I heard these sentences after operations of NATO troops had caused – what a horrible trivialisation – ‘collateral damage’. How often have I heard these sentences after operations of NATO troops had caused – what a horrible trivialisation – […]

War and Peace Read more

An election observer speaks out

Thomas Ruttig

‘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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

Another Day without an Orange Revolution

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

Context and Culture Read more

Flash from the Past: Elections under Fire (12 Sept 2008)

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

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

Martine van Bijlert

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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

UNODC Sees Afghan Drug Cartels Emerging – With One Eye Closed

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

AAN Election Blog No. 29: ‘A fraud would go unnoticed’

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

AAN Election Blog No. 28: Two Paktias?

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

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

Martine van Bijlert

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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

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

Joanna Nathan

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 […]

International Engagement Read more

AAN Election Blog No. 26: If no one saw it, did it happen? – AAN recommended election reading (UPDATED)

Martine van Bijlert

The further you get from where things happened, the easier it is to wonder whether they ever took place at all. And whether the reports (and echoes of reports) and denials (and echoes of denials) are not just a matter of claim, counterclaim and unsubstantiated rumour. Whether the calls of fraud are not just part […]

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A response to AAN Election Blog No. 23

Martine van Bijlert

A reader responds to AAN Election Blog No. 23 (How much are we expected to believe?): “This article was forwarded to me by a friend. I was impressed with this article as it really reflects the concern of an Afghan who stepped out of his/her house with a hope and besides all risks cast his/her […]

Political Landscape Read more