Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Martine van Bijlert

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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Portraits of Ghani and Abdullah. Photo c/o Tolonews.

The National Unity Government’s Elusive Cabinet

Martine van Bijlert

On day seventy-two of Afghanistan’s national unity government, the new cabinet still looks to be weeks away, with the country’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) locked in protracted discussions over who to appoint and how that should be decided. The composition of the cabinet will be a first, crucial test of what Afghanistan’s new […]

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Elections 2014 (54): Provincial council results creaking under the weight of manipulation

Martine van Bijlert

The provincial council vote is finally over. It has been fully overshadowed by the drawn-out and contentious presidential election – as could be expected and has been the case in the past as well. Attention dwindled as election fatigue crept in, which meant that its separate audit and complaints processes were almost exclusively followed by […]

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Elections 2014 (48): Key documents underwriting the electoral audit

Martine van Bijlert

While the Abdullah team has already dismissed both the audit and its outcome, the IEC still needs to finalise the process to arrive at a new result. As a background to the audit and its tumultuous history, AAN has gathered a number of key documents in one place. These include the three main IEC decisions […]

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Afghanistan's electoral audit enters its final, critical phase. Photo: Martine van Bijlert, Kabul, August 2014.

Elections 2014 (47): Audit enters its final precarious phase

Martine van Bijlert

While the two teams are trying to revive the political negotiations, the electoral audit is both nearing its end –with around 95 per cent of the ballot boxes reviewed– and moving into its most critical phase: deciding on the findings and arriving at a new result. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has already convened five […]

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Discussions during the "special audit", while the candidates' agents were still present. Kabul, August 2014 Photo: Martine van Bijlert

Elections 2014 (46): Déjà vu – Abdullah pulls out, process continues

Martine van Bijlert

What has the Abdullah team been playing at, pulling out of the audit again? Hard to say – but it is a risky all-or-nothing gamble, writes Martine van Bijlert. She summarises what has been happening over the past week, looking at the candidates’ behaviour and possible motives behind their strategies, but also at the ‘progress’ […]

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Elections 2014 (45): Solving audit problems by creating new ones

Martine van Bijlert

Afghanistan’s drawn-out election continues to keep a very large number of people very busy. And although there has been progress – both on the political and the technical side – this has mainly been achieved by delaying or isolating key discussion points and contentious decisions. The audit has finally started speeding up, but only after […]

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