Guest Blog: Modernisation Stress – Kabul and Mazar Revisited

During his tenth trip to Afghanistan since 2003 dedicated to research on micro-social development and general political perceptions, after an interval of two and a half years, our guest blogger Michael Daxner(*) was ‘little surprised at the first glance – but at a closer look, much has changed’. Glimpses on social stratification, discussions about federalism, […]

Watching the government and waiting for the fighting season

While the Washington Whispers asks where the news on Afghanistan has gone (it’s not there because it is all good* in case you were wondering), and Parliament suddenly elects a speaker after weeks of intrigue, and the Special Court continues to reopen ballot boxes to see what they might find, and diplomats shake their heads […]

A Taleban ‘Shock and Awe’ Campaign

The recent string of attacks, seemingly aimed at hitting in the heart of Afghan cities in a spectacular and murderous manner, continues. Starting from the battle at the Kandahar central police station on 12 February, in a ten-day span four more attacks – unlike the former aimed at soft, largely civilian targets – hit population […]

Even the Upper House does not listen to the President

In an unusual development in present-day Afghanistan, the Meshrano Jirga (also called Senate, the upper house of the Parliament) achieved a fully operative status. The recent introduction of the appointed senators by President Karzai, although delayed, has made it one of the few state institutions with no missing, expired or unapproved (acting) members. It even […]

The Start of Impunity: the killing of Dr Abdul Rahman

Everyone has their watershed moments when alarm bells started ringing over the post-2001 political settlement in Afghanistan. For AAN’s senior analyst, Kate Clark, one pivotal moment took place nine years ago in February 2002, when the minister for civil aviation, Dr Abdul Rahman, was murdered in public at Kabul airport. The newly deployed ISAF did […]

Carla Grissman, Defender of the Kabul Museum Remembered (amended)

Carla Grissman, one of the great defenders of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, has died in her eighties at her home in London. From 1969 she was involved in supporting the National Museum in Kabul. From its pre-war glory days as one of the best ‘small’ museums in the world(*), through to the worst of times – […]

Baseless Words – or: A Little Coaching for Christopher Hitchens

A reply to Chistopher Hitchens’ under-researched rant against what he calls the human rights ‘activists’ community that ‘finally notices the Taliban’s war crimes’. AAN’s senior analyst Thomas Ruttig points to some reports that show how far this is from truth. There we get it: ‘The human rights community finally notices the Taliban’s war crimes. […] […]

A Tahrir Effect in Kabul?

Tunis, Cairo. Mass demonstrations in Sanaa, Amman and Algiers, smaller ones in Damascus, Nouakschott and Khartum. Even in Azerbaijan people started protesting after they realized that they had a Mubarak statue in the Azeri-Egyptian Friendship Park in their capital Baku. Many people have been asking: Is this the fifth wave of democratization now? And some […]

Wolesi Jirga, Next Movement: Andantino con Blackout (amended)

Another two inconclusive sessions – when it comes to the election of the speaker – of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House in Kabul, have been held over the Western weekend. But they were worth following, nevertheless, since they brought interesting, ‘anti-authoritarian’ decisions: new candidates will run and not the two main contenders, Sayyaf and […]