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.

For the first time, an MP has accused a fellow MP of corruption. The case eventually went to the Attorney General, but only after the vast majority of other MPs voted to give the accused immunity from prosecution. Photo: Pajhwok archive photo.

2015 Performance of the Wolesi Jirga: Low attendance, nominal oversight

Salima Ahmadi

The lower house of the Afghan parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, will end its winter recess and begin its next sitting on 6 March 2016. With elections delayed, the current group of MPs is likely to be in place for some time. This seemed like a good time, then, to review the lower house’s performance in 2015. […]

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Interior of the new inaugurated Wolesi Jirga hall of Afghan Parliament (Photo Credit: Wolesi Jirga Website 2015)

New Building, Old MPs: A guide to the Afghan parliament

Salima Ahmadi Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s parliament has relocated to a new building of Indian construction in Kabul. Moreover, a date has finally been set for the next parliamentary elections. With the parliament’s term extended until the elections, it has another year of sessions, which raises the issue of its very legality. AAN researcher Salima Ahmadi (with contributions from senior […]

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The IEC Announces 2016 Election Date – but what about electoral reform?

Martine van Bijlert

In a brief press conference on Monday 18 January 2016, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the date for Afghanistan’s next vote: 15 October 2016. But the preparations for the elections – for the lower house of parliament and, for the first time, district councils – are complicated by ongoing controversies over the legitimacy of the […]

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Former NDS Chief Rahmatullah Nabil at a press conference in October 2015 Source: PAJHWOK/Fayaz Omar

Political Cleavages over Pakistan: The NDS chief’s farewell

Thomas Ruttig

Rahmatullah Nabil, the chief of the country’s intelligence service, submitted his resignation on 10 December 2015. This now leaves two of the Afghan government’s four major security positions filled by acting officials (the second vacancy, for more than a year, is the defence minister’s position). Nabil’s position had presumably become untenable, after he publicly criticised […]

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Harakat meeting commemorating Mullah Omar, Kabul, July 2015. The speaker is party leader Mawlawi Qalamuddin. Photo: Pajhwok.

A Bridge for the Taleban? Harakat, a former mujahedin party, leaps back into action

Thomas Ruttig

Harakat-e Inqilab-e Islami, one of the formerly most important mujahedin parties (tanzim) that had kept a low profile after 2001, is more visibly returning to the Afghan political scene. With a publicity campaign, it is presenting itself as the party of the religious scholars, with a history distinct from other Muslim Brotherhood-inspired tanzim, and offers itself […]

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Young Technocrats Taking Over: Who are the new Afghan governors and what can they achieve?

Christine Roehrs Qayoom Suroush

Nearly one year into Ashraf Ghani’s presidency, about a quarter of the state’s highest representatives in the provinces are still missing – nine of 34 governors. So why the hold-up? AAN’s Christine Roehrs and Qayoom Suroush have been looking into the mechanisms of the process and found that the government seems to be able to […]

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AAN Paper: Afghanistan’s new generation of Islamic activists

AAN Team

Since the fall of the Taleban, Afghanistan has gone through a great deal of changes. The efforts to establish a democratic and pluralistic political system, the hugely improved access to the rest of the world through media and telecommunication, the emergence of a middle class as a result of a growing economy and the influx […]

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Elections in Hibernation: Afghanistan’s stalled electoral reform

Ehsan Qaane Martine van Bijlert

Afghanistan’s electoral reform process has been bogged down for months. While the National Unity Government agreement called for the “immediate establishment” of an Electoral Reform Commission, it took the president five months just to sign the necessary decree. Now, three months later, the commission has still not started its work and it looks like the original […]

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Portrait picture of Masum Stanakzai, nominated as minister of defense.

Stanakzai Goes from Peace to War: For Afghanistan, finally a defence minister?

Kate Clark

The national unity government is making its fourth attempt to appoint a minister of defence. On 24 May 2015, the presidential palace announced the nomination of Masum Stanakzai who has been the head of the Joint Secretariat of the High Peace Council and Afghanistan Peace and Reconciliation Programme since 2009. Members of Parliament will still need […]

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A Half-Solution: Provincial Councils get oversight authority back – for the time being

Ehsan Qaane Thomas Ruttig

Instead of being resolved, the long power struggle between parliament and the Provincial Councils (PC) about how much and what kind of authority the councils would have has entered a new round in 2015 – with no end in sight. In 2014, under the previous president, a new law was designed to solve this issue. […]

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Picture shows candidate ministers sitting in Parliament.

Afghanistan (almost) has a cabinet: MPs confirm all candidate ministers

Kate Clark

Members of parliament have endorsed all sixteen candidates put forward by Afghanistan’s national unity government. This means that, six months into its term, the country has an almost complete cabinet – only the defence minister is still missing. This is the MPs’ second such vote. The first, on 28 January 2015, saw only a third […]

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The Unity Government’s First Six Months: Where is the governance?

Thomas Ruttig

After six months of Afghan Unity Government – what has been achieved? President Ghani, some say, has been ruling with a ‘two-man government’ (him and Hanif Atmar, head of the National Security Council), leading many to feel left out. ‘Strategic silence’ has become a somewhat mocking term for Ghani’s style of government – or is he […]

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