November 23, 2017

Afghanistan’s Unending Ballot Test

Millions of Afghans once again proved on June 14 – the day run-off elections for the country’s presidency were held – that despite terrorist threats and widespread low-level violence, they are vested in a democratic future.   However, the entrenched elites affiliated to the two contending camps backing Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani are at odds over ballot tallying, irregularities and procedural ... Read More »

Lessons from Afghan Presidential Elections

When, Nadir Khan, the father of Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan and Father of the Nation, decided to draft a constitution for his absolute monarchy, the sycophants in his court opposed the idea. They advised him that while his majesty king was alive Afghanistan did not need constitution. They said that the will of the king is law ... Read More »

What Next After Historic Afghan Vote?

Voters in Afghanistan turned out in record numbers on April 5th to elect a new president and provincial councils. Estimates put the voter turnout at nearly 60 percent. The high turnout was significant for many reasons — the top being people coming out of their homes despite Taliban threat and the exclusion of Afghan refuges in Pakistan from the voting process. ... Read More »

Concern Over Polling in Afghan Schools and Clinics

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

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

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

  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

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

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

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 »