Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

This thematic category encompasses AAN’s reporting on Afghanistan’s major political events, including elections, the formation of cabinets and other appointments, the key political actors and their trajectories, and the many under-reported political trends.

Picture shows former president Karzai with his hands raised to calm the crowd, flanked by among others Ustad Sayyaf.

Post-Presidential Karzai: Still a challenge to the NUG?

Ali Yawar Adili

Hamid Karzai may have handed over the reigns of power in September 2014, but his influence on Afghanistan’s politics did not end. His calls for a Loya Jirga, as the National Unity Government approached its two-year anniversary, represented a danger to that government. However, political groups and influential individuals, even those who had previously been […]

Political Landscape Read more
A group of people seated around the table, headed by president Ghani.

Parliament Kicks Out Ministers Again: A multi-dimensional power struggle

Thomas Ruttig

The Afghan parliament’s lower house has sacked seven ministers in a new wave of interpellations (estizah). It is not clear who instigated the estizah motions, MPs themselves or Palace intrigue, or who will come out as the winner (the president has told the ministers to stay in their posts and called on the Supreme Court […]

Political Landscape Read more
On 13 October 2016, President Ghani invited all political and opposition leaders to the Palace for consultation, where these leaders signalled their support for the NUG to serve full term, dispensing with their previous call for early election or a traditional loya Jirga. Photo: Arg

The Politics of Opposition: A challenge to the National Unity Government?

Ali Yawar Adili Lenny Linke

The failure to implement its own agreement and the continuing rift within the National Unity Government have created an opportunity for political opposition groups across the spectrum to voice their criticism of the government. In the past, Afghanistan’s political opposition has been made up of various councils and fronts, often associated with prominent powerbrokers and […]

Political Landscape Read more
Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

Afghanistan’s National Unity Government Rift (2): The problems that will not go away

Martine van Bijlert

The recent public argument between Chief Executive Abdullah and President Ghani is more than an argument over appointments, management styles or how far government reforms should go. The core of the rift lies in the different views both sides have on why the National Unity Government (NUG) came into being and what this means for […]

Political Landscape Read more

Afghanistan’s National Unity Government Rift (1): Crisis averted (for now), back to appointing commissions

Ali Yawar Adili Lenny Linke Martine van Bijlert

Just weeks before the upcoming donor conference in Brussels on 5 October 2016, the two leaders of Afghanistan’s National Unity Government (NUG) erupted into a fierce, public argument. Chief Executive Abdullah accused President Ghani of unilateralism and called him “unfit” for his office; the president hit back implying that the rival camp was merely trying […]

Political Landscape Read more
Al-Hajj Delbar Nazari - Minister of Women’s Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Tired of the Estezah? Minister for Women’s Affairs survives vote of no confidence

Thomas Ruttig

The Minister for Women’s Affairs, Delbar Nazari, has narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in parliament earlier this month. This is the latest in a long series of such motions against ministers that have become a means of carrying out political confrontations by proxy in parliament since a long time. MPs, however, seem to […]

Political Landscape Read more
Just 27 MPs voted for the amended presidential decree that would have allowed changes to the electoral commissions. 126 rejected it. Photo: Tolo News

Another hurdle for elections in 2016: MPs reject presidential decree on electoral commissions

Ali Yawar Adili Kate Clark Lenny Linke Salima Ahmadi

Had MPs approved the presidential legislative decree ‘reforming’ the electoral commissions, Afghanistan would now be significantly closer to holding parliamentary and district elections. (And the National Unity Government could have claimed to be pushing forward on electoral reform, something required by the agreement that established it.) However, after three days of ill-mannered discussion, MPs roundly […]

Political Landscape Read more

Pushing the Parliament to Accept a Decree: Another Election without Reform?

Ali Yawar Adili Martine van Bijlert

Afghanistan’s electoral reform process, that was supposed to be a precondition for the next ballot, has been excruciatingly slow and has culminated in a watered-down version of its original mandate. The delays mean that it has by now become practically impossible to hold elections this year. The presidential palace, however, continues to insist that both elections […]

Political Landscape Read more
Anything but a full house - many seats in the Wolesi Jirga plenary hall were often not even occupied by half of the MPs - meaning that no quorum was reached to vote on legislation. (Photo Source: Pajhwok 2016)

Struggling to Get a Quorum in Parliament: Fiddling the figures and suspending MPs

Lenny Linke Salima Ahmadi

The lower house of the Afghan parliament has always struggled with attendance. However, during the current legislative year, which began in March, it has been rare for it to get a quorum (ie a majority of MPs attending). With two thirds of all plenary sessions inquorate, many laws on the agenda could not be voted […]

Political Landscape Read more
The signing of the National Unity Government political agreement by Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani took place at the Presidential Palace on 21 September 2014 in the presence of Afghanistan's key political figures, government officials and members of the campaign teams of both candidates. (Photo Source: Tolo News 2014)

When The Political Agreement Runs Out: On the future of Afghanistan’s National Unity Government

Martine van Bijlert Ali Yawar Adili

The National Unity Government (NUG), which was created to solve the impasse caused by the bitterly disputed 2014 presidential elections, has come under intense criticism for a wide range of real and perceived failures. Its position has also been called into question by uncertainty over whether, based on the text of the political agreement, its […]

Political Landscape Read more
On 10 May 2016, the care takers for the positions of the head of NDS (Stanakzai, centre) and the Minister of Defense (Abdullah Khan, left) were introduced by CEO Dr Abdullah, they are still awaiting the vote of confidence by the parliament. (Source: Tolonews)

Old Names for the NDS and Defence Ministry: NUG proposes Stanakzai and Abdullah Khan, again.

Thomas Ruttig

The National Unity Government (NUG) has finally moved to fill the last two vacant key posts in the national cabinet, those of defence minister and head of the intelligence agency. In the climate of mistrust between its two camps, it was not easy to identify mutually acceptable candidates – and, so, the names are neither […]

Political Landscape Read more
Afghan parliament will vote on 9 April about a new interior minister, among others, after the previous one, Nur-ul-Haq Ulumi (here on a 2005 election poster in Kandahar) stepped down. Photo: Thomas Ruttig.

Filling NUG Vacancies: Parliament to vote on Interior Minister and Attorney General

Ehsan Qaane Salima Ahmadi Thomas Ruttig

With two international conferences that will decide about future support levels for Afghanistan at the horizon, and a surprisingly high number of key positions still held by caretakers or politically vulnerable individuals, the NUG has moved to fill two posts that are central to the government’s key undertakings: Interior Minister, which plays an important role […]

Political Landscape Read more