Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

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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

Thomas Ruttig AAN Team

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 […]

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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 […]

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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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Helmand peace marchers in front of the Russian embassy. Photo: People's Peace Movement/2018

“The Eid ceasefire helped our efforts well”: Helmand peace marchers keep up the pressure

Thomas Ruttig Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Although the Eid ceasefires have been and gone, they have rekindled hopes across Afghanistan that peace is possible. Helmand’s peace movement is keeping up the pressure. It has staged sit-ins in front of embassies in Kabul and sent letters to countries participating in or supporting the war effort. The movement has also reached other parts […]

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Chai ne-khorda, solh ne-mesha. Photo: Thomas Ruttig

Understanding Hurdles to Afghan Peace Talks: Are the Taleban a political party?

Khalilullah Safi Thomas Ruttig

Following his February 2018 offer of peace talks to the Taleban, President Ashraf Ghani proposed that they run as a political party in the upcoming elections. In 2011, his predecessor, Hamed Karzai, had offered something different, that the government would support the Taleban’s recognition by the United Nations Security Council as a “party to the […]

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Why Farah?  A short history of the local insurgency (II)

Thomas Ruttig

The Taleban have been a persistent and growing force in Farah since 2001, rebuilding their strength quietly after the US invasion and then seizing territory in remote districts. Insurgents now challenge pro-government figures for control of valuable trade and smuggling routes, assisted by the disarray among their opponents as the provincial government is hobbled by […]

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