September 19, 2017

Concern Over Polling in Afghan Schools and Clinics

A young boy in a doorway at Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar, October 2010, after a male civilian was brought in - dead on arrival. (Photo by Kate Holt/IRIN)

The recent spate of Taliban-led attacks against electoral targets in Afghanistan, with the presidential vote just days away, has increased concerns in the aid community about the use of schools and health clinics as polling stations.   According to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), half of the 3,410 polling centers are in schools; 668 more schools are being used as polling ... Read More »

What the Polls Say About Afghan Presidential Election

(Photo via Afghanistan Times)

Is it possible to predict the upcoming Afghan elections on the basis of polling data? There are severe methodological challenges in collecting accurate survey data in a country like Afghanistan, and, given how young the country’s democracy is, not much past data on how well those predictions turned out. But surveys during the 2009 presidential election did prove to be ... Read More »

Critical Year Ahead for Afghanistan

A displaced family near Herat set-up camp at a new IDP site after fleeing drought and insecurity in central Afghanistan.  (Photo by  John James via IRIN)

In under four weeks’ time (5 April) Afghanistan’s 12 million voters will get the chance to elect one of 11 candidates to replace President Hamid Karzai, in what observers hope will be the country’s first ever peaceful and democratic handover of power.   It will be one of the biggest challenges in a vital year of transition for the country, ... Read More »

Lessons India Draws From Afghan War

A view of Soviet troops withdrawal from Afghanistan (Photo by Socialism Expo, Creative Commons License)

  Twenty-five years ago last month, Marshal Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov walked the last few meters over the bridge from Afghanistan to the Soviet Union, at the very tail of the army he had commanded. Mr. Gromov’s son, Maksim, had stood watching as the great convoy of tanks and armored personnel carriers thundered by, waiting for his father with a fistful ... Read More »

Why the Durand Line Matters

The Friendship Gate in the city of Wes, Afghanistan, is the local border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Photo by lafrancevi, Creative Commons License)

Afghan officials have at times accused Pakistan of being less than honest in pushing the Afghan Taliban for talks with Kabul. Before making such statements, those same officials should also try to understand Pakistan’s deep concerns about Afghanistan’s stance on their common border. At present, Afghanistan does not officially recognize the international border with Pakistan. Instead, it has territorial claims on areas ... Read More »

Afghanistan’s Karzai Problem

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai offers a brief cultural exchange discussing tea etiquette back in his country as he gestures with a Pentagon cup in hand as Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta hosts him in a working luncheon at the Pentagon Jan. 10, 2013. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett, Creative Commons License)

On January 25, 2014, President Hamid Karzai announced at two different events in Kabul that he would not sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States unless Washington meets his preconditions. Keeping up his anti American rhetoric, he declared that Bagram (the Afghan airbase used by the U.S.-lead forces) had become a production line of Taliban. He denounced ... Read More »

Spozhmai; the Minor Suicide Bomber

War has traumatized Afghan children for over three decades but they were never used as human bombs. (Photo by 101st CAB, Wings of Destiny, Creative Commons License)

During their rule, the Taliban had banned female education but now they have gone one step forward, utilizing children including girls for launching suicide attacks. This sickening trend continues, although such disgusting acts have no place in the principles of Islam.   On Monday (jan 6), police officials in Helmand province said they had detained a ten-year-old girl wearing suicide ... Read More »

Reality of Afghan-Pakistan Covert War

A US Army/Afghan Army post near Pakistan border. (Photo by Zoriah, Creative Commons License)

When American special forces plucked the second in command of the Pakistani Taliban from the hands of Afghan officials this October, they laid bare the extent of a largely covert war between Afghanistan and Pakistan that has been going on for several years. With a drawdown – perhaps even to zero – of U.S. troops from Afghanistan next year, the ... Read More »

Widening Trust Deficit Between U.S. And Karzai

President Hamid Karzai with Secretary of State John Kerry in Kabul. (Photo by U.S Embassy Kabul Afghanistan)

America is in its year-end holiday mode, while a potentially explosive situation is building up in faraway Afghanistan. President Barack Obama is on a fortnight-long family vacation in Hawaii. Holidaying elsewhere are his Secretary of State John Kerry and some other big guns of his administration. Clearly, one of their top priorities on return to Washington will be to bring ... Read More »

Afghanistan-US Long-term Partnership: What’s at Stake?

President Karzai has been dragging his feet on signing the BSA. (by World Economic Forum, Creative Commons License)

With President Karzai’s persistence in his refusal to sign the bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the US, the opponents of the agreement are finding a louder voice in opposing the much crucial security agreement between Kabul and Washington. In recent weeks, as the standoff over a timely signing of the security pact has continued, the militant groups have lauded ... Read More »