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.

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (20): Women candidates going against the grain

Jelena Bjelica Rohullah Sorush

On 20 October, more than 400 female candidates will compete for the 68 parliamentary seats reserved for women. Many more women – there are over three million registered female voters – will cast their votes on Saturday, in an attempt to have their say on who represents them in the lower house of the parliament. […]

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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (19): A young ‘wave of change’ for the Wolesi Jirga?

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s parliamentary election campaign ended on Wednesday 17 October 2018 with the killing of Helmand candidate Jabbar Qahraman by a mine explosion in his campaign office – the fifth candidate killed during the campaign period. “Taghir” – change – has been a key word in many of the campaigns and a hope expressed by many […]

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Herat city is adorned with campaign posters - here in Tank-e Markaz Square – but the further you go out into the districts, the more campaigning diminishes in the face of insurgency and insecurity (Photo: Said Reza Kazemi: October 2018)

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (18): A lively election campaign amid growing insecurity in Herat

S Reza Kazemi

There is a vibrant electoral atmosphere in Herat city and nearby district centres. Rival political forces have brought supporters onto the streets to show their power and candidates have opened campaign headquarters and engaged in a range of heated campaign activities. In the midst of the bustle, there are also concerns over a series of […]

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Walls, trees and pylons in Maimana are all papered with candidates’ posters ahead of the upcoming elections. Candidates are having to concentrate on the provincial capital given that insecurity is making it difficult or impossible to get to other the districts. Photo: Ali Yawar Adili, October 2018

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (17): Voters disenfranchised in Faryab

Ali Yawar Adili

Almost two-thirds of voters in Faryab will not be able to vote in the 20 October parliamentary elections after insecurity prevented them from registering. Since voter registration ended in early July, the government has seen an even further loss of control and more than a dozen additional polling centres have since closed. AAN’s Ali Yawar […]

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10 days 15 hours, 35 minutes and 13 seconds to go: The IEC's count down to the 20 October 2018 parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. Source: Screenshot from the IEC website, at the time of uploading this dispatch

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (16): Basic facts about the parliamentary elections

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has posted a clock on its home page that counts down the time remaining until the 20 October parliamentary election (minus Ghazni province). That’s a nice gag. It would also have been good if a counter had been provided to show, for example, the total number of registered voters (on its […]

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