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.

Voters waiting for their turn to vote inside Masjid ul-Reza Mosque polling centre, while some are voting in polling stations and candidate agents and observers are either sitting or walking around, doing their work. Photo: Author/2018

The 2018 Election Observed (6) in Herat: Insecurity, organisational shambles, alleged rigging

S Reza Kazemi

Many have praised the parliamentary elections in Herat province in the far west of Afghanistan as second only to the capital Kabul in terms of turnout. There was indeed considerable enthusiasm and determination to vote from those who could get to the polls, but they were a restricted number, mainly those living in the provincial […]

Political Landscape Read more

The 2018 Election Observed (5) in Nuristan: Disfranchisement and lack of data

Jelena Bjelica Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

Organising elections in Nuristan, one of the most remote, under-served and unknown provinces, presents a severe challenge. Most villages are far from their nearest district centre and all of the districts are under some degree of Taleban control or influence. In two districts – Mandol and Du-Ab – people were fully deprived of their right […]

Political Landscape Read more
Voters queue at Ali Baba High School in the provincial capital Parun, Paktika. Photo: Fazal Muzhary, October 2018.

The 2018 Election Observed (4) in Paktika: Pre-election fraud and relatively peaceful polling

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

Where Paktika has been famous for ballot stuffing and mass proxy voting in previous elections, locals claim that this election was very different. A softer Taleban stance and a new slate of candidates, they say, allowed for more extensive campaigning. And the new electoral measures prevented rigging which, as a result, the electorate – including […]

Political Landscape Read more
A women voter casting her vote in a polling centre in Kandahar City. Photo: Ali Mohammad Sabawoon, 2018.

The 2018 Election Observed (2) in Kandahar: Facing the same problems as the rest of the country

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The people of Kandahar cast their vote on 27 October 2018, a week later than the rest of the country. Although no figures have been released, turnout appears to have been good in Kandahar city and Spin Boldak, as was expected, and patchy to nonexistent in most other districts. The IEC had stressed that the […]

Political Landscape Read more
Election officials struggled with the new biometric verification devices, here being used in a polling centre in Daikundi. (Photo: Ehsan Qaane 2018)

Aftershocks of a Procedural Ambiguity: The IEC and ECC dispute over which votes to validate

Ali Yawar Adili

When the Independent Election Commission (IEC), at the last minute, introduced the use of biometric machines in the Wolesi Jirga election, it approved a procedure stipulating that the votes cast without the new system would be invalid. But it never decidedly clarified what it would do with the polling stations that failed to use them. Then, […]

Political Landscape Read more

Not Everybody’s Hero: The assassinated communist-turned-post-2001-parliamentary candidate Jabbar Qahraman

Michael Semple

The assassination of Kandahar’s police chief and strongman of southern Afghanistan Abdul Razeq in Kandahar on 18 October, along with the province’s NDS chief, and more members of the provincial leadership wounded soon overshadowed the killing of parliamentary candidate Abdul Jabbar Qahraman in neighbouring Helmand by a bomb one day earlier. Qahraman means “hero”, a […]

Political Landscape Read more

The 2018 Election Observed (1) in Zurmat, Paktia: Real voting only in the district centre

Pakteen Khan Thomas Ruttig

Zurmat district in Paktia province is almost completely under Taleban control. The parliamentary elections were held there only on a tiny island of government control. Turnout was very low on the first election day and limited to the district centre – another example of Afghanistan’s emerging rural-urban voting divide. On day two, attempts of ballot stuffing […]

Political Landscape Read more

Before Election Day Three: Looking at Kandahar’s upcoming vote

Martine van Bijlert

Tomorrow, on 27 October 2018, Kandahar will vote in the country’s parliamentary election – a week later than the rest of the country. The delay comes after the assassination of, among others, the province’s police chief and strongman Abdul Razeq on 18 October 2018. The IEC has tried to remedy the problems that plagued the […]

Political Landscape Read more
Women voters standing in the queue outside the polling stations to vote during the second day of the Afghan parliamentary elections on 21 October 2018. Photo Photo: Ali Yawar Adili

Election Day Two: A first hand account of the trials and chaos of second-day voting

Ali Yawar Adili

The parliamentary election that was finally held after a three and half year delay, was meant to end the extra-constitutionality of the legislature and boost the legitimacy of the state. New anti-fraud measures were put in place to ensure transparent elections, but they were poorly prepared and implemented. Now, after two days of voting, the […]

Political Landscape Read more
Election officials struggled with the new biometric verification devices, here being used in a polling centre in Daikundi. (Photo: Ehsan Qaane 2018)

Election Day Two: A triumph of administrative chaos

AAN Team Jelena Bjelica

The second day of the Afghan parliamentary election has been as chaotic as the first. Because many polling centres failed to open or opened late on Saturday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) ruled that some could also open today. However, only some actually opened today and voters were presented with the same bureaucratic and technical […]

Political Landscape Read more
A voter in Paktika province being ‘biometrically verified’. Across the country, the new procedure caused problems and delays (Photo: Fazal Muzhary)

Election Day One (Evening Update): Voter determination and technical shambles

AAN Team Kate Clark Thomas Ruttig

In our first update of the day, AAN reported on the mixed turnout – far higher in the cities and other secure places and lower in districts where the Taleban could close roads and prevent voting. Those determined to vote faced not only Taleban violence, but also many technical problems and late-opening polling centres. In […]

Political Landscape Read more

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (21): Biometric verification likely to spawn host of new problems

Ali Yawar Adili

Tomorrow’s parliamentary vote will use biometric voter verification machines, the first time ever in an Afghan election. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has said the use of these machines in every polling station will boost transparency and deter fraud. Yet questions abound. The decision was made at the last minute and because of political pressure. […]

Political Landscape Read more