Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

“Förstå Afghanistan“: AAN contributed to Swedish Committee’s Afghanistan reader

Thomas Ruttig

The new “Förstå Afghanistan“ (Understanding Afghanistan) reader by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SAK) is out. It covers everything from Afghanistan’s history, its people, state and culture to Afghan-Swedish relations (in Swedish). It has an extensive reading list and scores of good photos. The book’s three dozen contributors include renowned Afghan, Swedish and other authors, […]

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Getting to the Steering Wheel: President Ghani’s new set of peace proposals

Thomas Ruttig

President Ashraf Ghani updated peace plan, presented at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on 28 November, the 13th international Afghanistan conference since 2001, built on the February 2018 Kabul Process proposals. Ghani foresees a five-phase approach to consultations and five years of implementation. At the same time, these proposals represent an attempt to reassert the Afghan government’s […]

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The 2018 Election Observed (5) in Nuristan: Disfranchisement and lack of data

Jelena Bjelica Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

Organising elections in Nuristan, one of the most remote, under-served and unknown provinces, presents a severe challenge. Most villages are far from their nearest district centre and all of the districts are under some degree of Taleban control or influence. In two districts – Mandol and Du-Ab – people were fully deprived of their right […]

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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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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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Voters queue in Nili, provincial capital of Daikundi. Photo: Ehsan Qaane

Election Day One: A rural-urban divide emerging

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s third post-Taleban parliamentary elections have started slowly, with a lot of technical chaos and significant fighting in a number of provinces. Polling hours have now been extended. Even in many areas of Kabul, polling centres had not opened by 9:30am. There are widespread reports of a lack of polling material, electoral staff being unfamiliar […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

The Killing of Razeq: Removing the Taleban’s strongest foe in Kandahar, an indirect hit at elections

Thomas Ruttig

An attack in Kandahar city has left the province’s governor, NDS chief and police commander, the unrivalled strongman of southern Afghanistan, General Abdul Razeq, dead. The commander of United States and NATO forces, General Scott Austin Miller who had just been meeting the three, was unharmed. The attack mimics earlier assassinations of officials and strongmen. […]

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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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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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Flash from the Past: Kabul security handed back to Afghans in 2008

Thomas Ruttig

Ten years (and a few weeks) ago, in August 2008, a process started that would later become known as enteqal (transition), namely of security responsibility from NATO to the Afghan forces. (*) This process was supposed to be finalised by the end of 2014. Full troop withdrawal was never fully achieved, though. NATO troops’ “watchful eye […]

International Engagement Read more

El Borak, N. Ullah and The Way to Turkestan: An AAN Context and Culture Eid Reading List

Thomas Ruttig

After the fighting in Ghazni and the atrocity at the learning centre in Kabul’s Dasht-e Barchi neighbourhood, this is another of these Eid holidays into which many go in a subdued if not even depressed mood. We at AAN share these feelings, and our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, their friends and […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Afghanistan Election Conundrum (12): Good news and bad news about district numbers

Thomas Ruttig

Afghan authorities have solved one of the most long-standing and consequential problems in the country‘s complex election system: the number of districts. It is 387. This is pending a final decision by parliament, as there are some so-called ‘temporary’ districts that could boost the number. If parliament takes this issue up, however, there is a […]

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