Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

S Reza Kazemi

Peace in the Districts (2): Prospects, approaches and an emphasis on a ‘good peace’

S Reza Kazemi

In this second of two dispatches on what people in ten districts across Afghanistan think about prospects for peace, we hear their views on the relationship between a possible high-level peace deal and actual peace in the districts. Interviewees expressed a striking mix of optimistic and sceptical opinions as to the local viability of any […]

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Peace in the Districts (1): A chasm between high talks and local concerns in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

As talks between the United States and the Taleban resume in Doha, we bring you the first of two dispatches on what Afghans in ten districts across the country think about the prospects for peace. The focus of the first dispatch is a theme which emerged from the interviews, the relationship – or lack of […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (14): In Herat, power and comms failure, district insecurity and low turnout

S Reza Kazemi

There was a slight increase in campaigning in the last few days ahead of the poll, especially in the provincial capital, but E-Day itself suffered from electricity and telecommunication failures in many parts Herat province. Worse, the Taleban launched attacks on areas near polling centres in districts across the province with a view mostly to […]

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A still from the documentary showing a young girl wearing the traditional hat called kola-ye topak-dar in Daikundi province. Photo: Nasim Seyamak

Afghanistan’s 2019 Elections (8): Greater insecurity, fewer votes and pre-election politics in Herat

S Reza Kazemi

Security has been deteriorating in the western province of Herat with the government and Taleban continuing to hit each other hard, particularly in districts farther from the provincial capital. Insecurity, together with the disillusionment after the previous mismanaged elections, is likely to result in fewer voters going to the polls on 28 September compared to […]

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Symbolism of a Day: A century of changing independence day celebrations in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

From Amanullah Khan in whose time independence was realised, to Habibullah Kalakani who seemed to distance it from the previous regime, to Nader Shah and Zaher Shah who gave it a regal face, to President Daud who continued the royal tradition, to the communists and the mujahedin who downgraded it, to the Taleban who revived […]

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A still from the documentary showing a young girl wearing the traditional hat called kola-ye topak-dar in Daikundi province. Photo: Nasim Seyamak

A Kaleidoscopic Heritage: New efforts to promote Afghan traditions of art and culture

S Reza Kazemi

A fifteenth-century miniature painting of the prophet Yusuf brought to new life in an animation, puppets telling the modern love story of Siyamoy and Jalali and women’s traditional hats in Daikundi: all are featuring in a festival held in Kabul at the Qasr-e Chehel Sotun – the Palace of Forty Columns. The festival is one […]

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Sudais is in his father, Baktullah's, fruit and vegetable store in Shadal Bazaar village of Achin district. Life is slowly returning to normal after government and US forces pushed ISKP out of most of the district in 2017 and 2018. Public services – education, healthcare and electricity supply – are still patchy, barely-functioning or non-existent. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017

One Land, Two Rules (4): Delivering public services in embattled Achin district in Nangrahar province

Rohullah Sorush S Reza Kazemi

Achin district in the south of Afghanistan’s key eastern province of Nangrahar has been heavily fought over by the Taleban, ISKP and government and United States forces. The delivery of public services has been hampered, helped or abolished depending on who has been in charge at any given time; ISKP banned almost all public services […]

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Speculation Abounding: Trying to make sense of the attacks against Shias in Herat city

S Reza Kazemi

Herat – the generally safe and prosperous city in western Afghanistan – has seen a series of attacks against Shia religious figures and sites, especially since 2016. Fieldwork shows there is little empirical evidence as to who the perpetrators are or why they carried out these attacks. Based on conversations with Shia and Sunni activists, […]

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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 […]

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One Land, Two Rules (2): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Obeh district of Herat province

S Reza Kazemi

The matter of who governs the district of Obeh in the east of Herat province is complicated: control of the district is divided between the Afghan government and the Taleban, and shifts in unpredictable ways. The inhabitants of the district, usually via the mediation of elders, have had to learn how to deal with both […]

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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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Well-diggers in the process of digging a deep well of 100 metres in Taimani neighbourhood of Kabul city. Photos: Author, 2018.

Blue Gold: The quest for household water in Kabul city

S Reza Kazemi

Given growing water scarcity and pollution, increasing numbers of residents in Kabul city are struggling to provide enough safe water for their households. Many are forced to turn to the expanding private water business for their needs: eitherby paying for water from mobile water tankers, subscribing to local private water supply companies or buying bottled […]

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