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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (11): Electoral reform and the preparations for the 2018 elections – a summary

Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for 20 October this year, three and a half years late. They were delayed so that the electoral system could be reformed – although what that delay achieved in terms of reforms, is questionable. The country’s first district elections are also still scheduled for the same day, although the Independent Election Commission […]

The Insecure Spring of Ghazni: Results of third-grade treatment by the centre?

Ghazni is one province where the Taleban have long-established significant influence. Actually, they dominate it militarily, with the exception of the provincial capital, all but one of the 18 district centres and some larger areas in three districts. Over the spring of 2018, the Taleban – although not capturing more territory –, have significantly expanded […]

How to End the Afghan War? A new publication on peace reviewed

A new short book-length report, “Incremental peace in Afghanistan” looks at what is needed to end the Afghan conflict. It explores the many drivers towards the war continuing – external backing for both sides, the war economy and basic persisting disputes about power-sharing – but also details what could drive a peace process – the […]

Bracing for Attacks on Ashura: Extra security measures for Shia mourners

The Afghan government is arming local civilians and strengthening the police presence across the country to try to protect Shia Muslim places of worship in the run-up to Ashura. The commemoration will take place this Sunday (1 October 2017). With these last-minute measures, the government is reacting to demands from the community and criticism that […]

The Bride Price: The Afghan tradition of paying for wives

Weddings are hugely expensive affairs in Afghanistan, with excessive costs for wedding halls, lavish meals and usually a bride price. The bride price is the money paid by the groom’s family for the bride to her family. It is a contested tradition that is viewed as having no foundation in Islamic law and does not […]

The Attack on the American University in Kabul (2): Who did it and why?

The attack on the American University in Kabul on 24 August 2016 was unprecedented in many respects. For the first time, a ‘complex attack’ – often reserved for high-profile and well-guarded targets – hit an educational institution. It also came in the wake of an ideological campaign by circles in the Taleban movement that had […]

Operation Omari: Taleban Announced 2016 Spring Offensive

The Taleban made their yearly spring offensive announcement on 12 April 2016. The statement attributed to Taleban leadership council (Rahbari Shura) named the offensive “Operation Omari,” in honour of the movement’s late leader and provides clues with regard to both the Taleban’s plans and the way they wish to present themselves. Of particular note are the […]