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“Our Lives Changed”: Afghans remember the coming of the Soviet troops

Forty years ago, Soviet forces entered Afghanistan, killed then President Hafizullah Amin from the Khalq faction of the ruling communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) on 27 December 1979 and brought to power Babrak Karmal, who was from the rival Parcham faction. The move was meant to be a relatively short-lived, regime change operation, […]

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (22): Glances at Kunduz, Baghlan, Samangan

Kunduz, with its eponymous capital as the centre of one of the seven multi-province regions in Afghanistan (the northeast), had the lowest turnout of all Afghan provinces in the 28 September 2019 presidential election. This applies to  absolute and relative numbers – the latter a meagre 6.4 per cent. Baghlan had the second-lowest numbers. Bad […]

Taleban attacks on Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri: Symbolic operations

In the last week Taleban have attacked and entered three provincial centres, Kunduz city, Pul-e Khumri in Baghlan and Farah city, before being pushed back. This dispatch focusses on the offensives against Pul-e Khumri and Kunduz, considering them in the context of the regional security of northeastern Afghanistan. It finds that key lessons from earlier […]

One Land, Two Rules (5): The polio vaccination gap

While researching the delivery of health, education and other services in districts affected by the insurgency, we found that three of our featured districts, in Helmand, Nangrahar and Kunduz provinces, had seen cases of polio leading to paralysis in the last five years. There is no cure for polio, but there is an effective vaccination, […]

One Land, Two Rules (3): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Dasht-e Archi district in Kunduz province

Dasht-e Archi, a district in the northeastern corner of Kunduz province is almost entirely controlled by the Taleban. They have established shadow sub-national governance structures in the district, while most local government officials are absent and work remotely from the provincial capital. Although the Taleban do not provide any services themselves, they have co-opted government […]