Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Martine van Bijlert

Ghani’s Speech to the Parliament: A hardening position on war, peace and Pakistan

Martine van Bijlert

President Ghani’s speech to the Afghan parliament, in an extraordinary joint session on 25 April 2016, was unprecedented. Made in response to demands that he clarify the government’s security policies, the televised speech was sober and dignified, and detailed the government’s hardening stance against Pakistan, the Haqqani network, Daesh and “parts of the Taleban.” Although, […]

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Security forces cordoned off the area along the bank of the Kabul River immediately after the attack allowing only ambulances to pass through the barriers. (Photo Source: Tolo News 19 April 2016)

A Shaken City: On the Taleban‘s truck-bomb attack in Kabul

Martine van Bijlert

The explosion which shook Kabul on 19 April 2016 was so large  its reverberation could be felt throughout almost the entire city. All that day, and the next, the death toll continued to rise. Official figures currently stand at 68 killed and 347 injured, but the real numbers are likely to be higher. The scale of the […]

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External Publication: Afghanistan’s Post-Liberal Peace: between external intervention and local efforts

Martine van Bijlert

In: “​ Post-Liberal Peace Transitions Between Peace Formation and State Formation”​, Oliver P. Richmond, Sandra Pogodda (eds), Edinburgh University Press Publication date: January 2016

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Sample of E-Tazkera (Source: Pajhwok)

The Troubled History of the E-tazkera (Part 2): Technical stumbling blocks

Jelena Bjelica Martine van Bijlert

The introduction of electronic ID cards – or e-tazkera – in Afghanistan remains haunted by delays, obstacles and poor planning. Although CEO Dr Abdullah approved the e-tazkera pilot phase on 3 August 2015, the process has yet to begin. Since then, President Ghani has questioned the very feasibility of this oft-delayed project, while main donors […]

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Protest in eastern Nangarhar province in September 2015 for inclusion of words of Afghan and Islam in new electronic national identity cards. (Pajhwok/Zeerak Fahim)

The Troubled History of the E-tazkera (Part 1): Political upheaval

Jelena Bjelica Martine van Bijlert

There is a fairly broad consensus among Afghans and donors alike that the introduction of an electronic ID card – or e-tazkera – would be a good thing; it would provide accurate population data, standardised ID documents and the possibility of, in the case of elections, drawing up reliable voter lists. The project, however, has […]

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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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The large Zabul Seven protests in Kabul, 11 November 2015. Photo: Pajhwok.

The ‘Zabul Seven’ Protests: Who speaks for the victims?

Martine van Bijlert

On 11 November 2015, Kabul witnessed probably one of the largest demonstrations in recent history. The trigger was the slaughter of seven Hazara travellers who had been taken hostage in Zabul province about a month ago. The demonstration, which continued well into the night, became an amalgam of emotions and agendas: grief and horror over […]

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Trouble in Khas Uruzgan: Insults, assaults, a siege and an airlift

Martine van Bijlert

After three months of near non-stop fighting in Khas Uruzgan, a mixed Pashtun-Hazara district in northeast Uruzgan, the Taleban decimated the district’s Afghan Local Police (ALP) and forced most of the other security forces back into the district centre. The attack was not just part of a wider, concerted effort by the Taleban to put […]

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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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Electoral Reform, or rather: Who will control Afghanistan’s next election?

Martine van Bijlert

President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah, in the September 2014 agreement, agreed to electoral reforms “to ensure that future elections are credible.” The details of these reforms, when they should take place and who should design them are, however, proving contentious. Meanwhile, parliament has been working on relevant laws, while commissioners of the Independent […]

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Balloons for the cabinet inauguration are still available. Photo: Martine van Bijlert.

After the Rollercoaster Comes What? Afghanistan in 2015

Martine van Bijlert

2014 was a rollercoaster of a year. The transition was completed. It did not tear the country apart or fragment the security forces, but it sometimes felt close. Afghanistan now stands at the beginning of the optimistically named Decade of Transformation. The country has a new leadership, both fuelled by confidence and ambition and bogged […]

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