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Power to the People (3): Perspectives from Bamyan

The TUTAP commission established by President Ghani following massive protests recently decided in favour of the Salang route for a north-south power line. The commission ruled further that Bamyan should get its own 220KV power line by 2019. This is a balanced solution in the midst of crisis, meant to temper ethnic tensions that arose […]

Power to the People (2): The TUTAP protests

When protesters interrupted President Ashraf Ghani’s speech in London three times on 13 May 2016, the heated controversy surrounding the route of TUTAP, a main electricity grid initiative, received even international attention. In Afghanistan, the tensions have been simmering since January 2016 when Hazara members of the government started trying to prevent a potential rerouting of […]

Before the Paris Conference: The state of Afghanistan’s climate and its adaption capability

Climate change is already having a severe impact on Afghans’ daily lives – but this challenge is often over-shadowed by what seem to be more-urgent problems: war and the economic crisis. Therefore, the reports submitted by the Afghan government for the Paris climate conference starting today, 30 November 2015 (and President Ashraf Ghani speaking in […]

Protecting Beauty: Shah Foladi – a new conservation area for Afghanistan

Afghanistan has a new protected conservation area – the Shah Foladi: 2,700 square kilometres on the north side of the Koh-e Baba range of the Hindu Kush in Bamyan province. This mix of irrigated valleys, upland rangeland and high peaks is important for wildlife (270 species of birds, including many seasonal migrants, and many flowering […]

Bamyan, First Ever Cultural Capital of South Asia: A big party, but what else?

Five months late and almost half-way through its crucial year, Bamyan has finally been inaugurated as the 2015 South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) cultural capital, the organisation’s first ever. Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh, Second Deputy Chief Executive Muhammad Mohaqeq and Minister of Information and Culture Bari Jahani were among the guests who […]

“An attempt to wipe out history”: The destruction of the Bamian Buddha colossi in 2001

On 26 February 2001, the leader of the Afghan Taleban movement, Mullah Muhammad Omar, ordered from his headquarters in Kandahar that “all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the different areas of the Islamic Emirate must be broken” because they were worshipped by people of non-Islamic religious beliefs and were therefore ‘idols.’ This kind of worship, […]

Power to the People: How to extend Afghans’ access to electricity

More than four billion dollars have, to date, been spent on Afghanistan’s power infrastructure. And yet there are still considerable deficiencies, even in the country’s capital, which has seen most of the investment – and most of the progress. At the same time, the demand for electricity is rapidly growing and the supply-demand gap has […]

Elections 2014 (30): Some initial reflections on E-Day II

The counting of second round votes from the presidential elections is still under way in much of Afghanistan, although results are now trickling in from some polling stations. Meanwhile, everyone is trying to assess how well the second round went: the impact of security incidents, level of fraud and, especially importantly, how big the turnout […]