Archives

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (11): A first look at how E-Day went

The Independent Election Commission has given its first rough estimation of turnout in Afghanistan’s 2019 Presidential Elections. It was low, with fewer than two million voters out of 9.66 million registered, about a quarter, coming out to vote. The Taleban only managed to conduct one large-scale attack, in Kandahar city, but committed 400 other, mainly […]

The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (2): The cultural history of hashish consumption in Afghanistan

Hashish or chars is a fairly common substance in Afghanistan. Its use, without ever attaining the levels of mass consumption that characterise other lightly-intoxicating substances in other war-torn countries, like the chewing of qat in Yemen or Somalia, for example, has remained relatively widespread. This does not mean that it is condoned by society: hashish-users, known as […]

Election Day One: A rural-urban divide emerging

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 […]

Before Ashura: Extra security measures in place for second year running

This year, the ten-day commemoration of Muharram by Afghanistan’s Shia Muslims follows a wave of bloody attacks directed against them, most claimed by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). In 2017, the government armed and paid guards at some mosques and other religious buildings in an attempt to thwart attacks. Those guards have stayed […]

How to End the Afghan War? A new publication on peace reviewed

A new short book-length report, “Incremental peace in Afghanistan” looks at what is needed to end the Afghan conflict. It explores the many drivers towards the war continuing – external backing for both sides, the war economy and basic persisting disputes about power-sharing – but also details what could drive a peace process – the […]

Still under the IS’s Black Flag: Qari Hekmat’s ISKP island in Jawzjan after his death by drone

In April, Qari Hekmatullah, the self-proclaimed commander of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), was killed in a US airstrike. Under his command, a local affiliate of the Afghan-Pakistani Daesh affiliate, ISKP, had challenged both the government and the Taleban and established almost full control over two remote districts of Jawzjan province, Darzab and Qush […]