Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Martine van Bijlert

AAN Election Blog No. 13: The Debate

Martine van Bijlert

Sunday afternoon, flicking through the channels (men singing, dubbed cartoons, news in Pashtu) wondering whether it was going to happen, and there it was: the debate. A large light blue studio, an expectant audience and the three contenders sitting slightly nervous on the first row. It was an interesting two-hour watch, for several reasons, one […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 11: The Return of the General (to be continued)

Martine van Bijlert

The unexpected return of General Dostum on Sunday night, one day before the end of the campaign period, may solidify Jombesh support for Karzai – depending of course on how tomorrow’s breakfast with President Karzai goes and on what the General tells his followers. More details later, as they come in.

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AAN Election Blog No. 10: Elections in far-away places

Martine van Bijlert

Elections in far-away places can be fairly crude affairs. Never mind procedures and regulations and forget about the monitors. Travellers from a Hazara enclave in southern Afghanistan, recount what an election looks like in their quarters. In their area villagers are currently trying to figure out how to get the ballot papers and the boxes […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 9: On the Campaign Trail III

Martine van Bijlert

Kabul provincial council candidates try to scrape together their campaign and to attract the attention of the city and district voters. A closer look at how this works, through the eyes of three Kabul contenders – let’s call them Shafiqa, Engineer Ahmad and ‘Mohammad the Poor Guy’. As a provincial council contender it makes sense […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 8: The Best Election Posters (2)

Martine van Bijlert

Today: Al-Haj Ustad Zakera Anwar – the power of Tide: The prize for the best location receives Ms Zakera Anwar, a Kabul provincial council candidate from Qala-ye Fathullah in the Afghan capital who calls herself an ‘independent’. She placed her poster in a grocery shop – next to a stack of washing powder. The message […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 7: Parliament’s closed doors and wedding discussions

Martine van Bijlert

It’s already a while ago that the Parliament closed its doors (after it turned out that most MPs were too busy campaigning to come anywhere near a quorum). A quick look at the subjects they discussed during that first day of convening (25 July 2009) – just after they came back from recess and before […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 3: On the Campaign Trail II

Martine van Bijlert

Campaigning in Afghanistan. The phone calls start coming in and friends stop by: let me tell you what is happening in my area. These are the details of just one day: rallies, threats and doubts. People from Spin Boldak are cancelling their attendance for an Abdullah rally in Kandahar because the drivers of the hired […]

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How to Win an Afghan Election; Perceptions and Practices

Martine van Bijlert

In its second report the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) holds the magnifying glass to the Afghan elections, exploring the impact of high-level deals, local-level decision-making processes, and electoral manipulation. The author, Martine van Bijlert, used her extensive in-country experience, contacts and language skills to provide a detailed analysis of the deal-making and politicking that underlie […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 2: On the Campaign Trail

Martine van Bijlert

A view of the Afghan elections through the eyes of the so-called ‘minor actors’, those without influence and money who try to navigate and position themselves and try to find their place in what is going on. The first campaigner to be introduced is – let’s call him Abdul Mohammad. The last few times I […]

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Unruly Commanders and Violent Power Struggles: Taliban Networks in Uruzgan

Martine van Bijlert

Martine van Bijlert. In: Antonio Giustozzi (ed.) Decoding the New Taliban. Insights from the Afghan Field. Colombia: Hurst, 2009 Full publication available below: Unruly Commanders and Violent Power Struggles: Taliban Networks in Uruzgan 

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Imaginary Institutions; State Building in Afghanistan

Martine van Bijlert

Martine van Bijlert, In: Doing Good or Doing Better? Development Policies in a Globalising World. The Hague: WRR/Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy. June 2009. The paper “Imaginary Institutions; State Building in Afghanistan” is available as chapter 7 here.

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Teeth, flowers and another tale of violence

Martine van Bijlert

Every day in Afghanistan is full of stories. Most of them with a fair share of bad luck and wry humour and usually quite a bit of violence. This story is about – let’s call him Hamidullah. Hamidullah comes from a place not far from Kabul. It is commander country. In the past he fought under […]

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