parliamentary elections. The elections were supposed to be held in April but have been delayed. The Afghan parliament's five-year mandate expired on June 22. "ELECT II" is a donor funded program run by the United Nations Development Programme that is due to end in December; however, it may shut down prior to December if the Afghans don't get their act together. The history of elections - presidential and parliamentary - is rife with corruption, meddling, violence, and vote-rigging. The latest presidential election held in the spring (and then summer) of 2014 did little to polish up the Afghan election image. In fact, it threw the Afghan government into chaos and impeded important progress in the conduct of Afghan military operations until it was finally resolved with the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG).
Governance in Afghanistan. An author provides us with his perspective on government, governance, and legitimacy in Afghanistan. Read "Inducing Cooperation: Building Governance in Afghanistan", Small Wars Journal, June 29, 2015 by Aaron W. Miller.
4th Oversight and Coordination Body. Coalition partners from 17 donor nations met with CSTC-A and others at the Afghan Ministry of Finance in mid-June to coordinate donor commitments for the ANSF in 2015 and beyond. (Army.mil, June 23, 2015).
National ID Card Program. It appears that the long-sought-for but never implemented national ID program is still a ways from being put into place. The computerized digital ID program was to be rolled out years ago but corruption and miss-management has taken its toll.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Friday, January 2, 2015
Thomas Ruttig, a long-term observer of all things Afghanistan and co-founder of the Afghan Analysts Network (AAN), provides his comments on the 2014 elections, democracy, and governance in Afghanistan. Listen to the podcast here (AAN, Dec 26, 2014, 9 minutes).
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Afghanistan is entering the new year with a host of new challenges; and they will be getting less help in meeting those challenges. The cabinet has still not been formed up by Ghani and Abdullah, the insurgency is intensifying, attacks in Kabul have increased, and the Afghan National Security Forces are still experiencing capability gaps in logistics, aviation, and intelligence. The drug trade and corruption hampers development and governance in the rural areas. While the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan government officials are issuing confident messages about the "National Unity Government", "transition", and "Afghan security forces in the lead" - others are more wary about the future. One of those expressing concern is Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN). Read more in "After Pivotal 2014, Afghanistan Faces New Challenges With Less Help", Voice of American, December 22, 2014.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The Afghan "National Unity Government" is having trouble getting its Cabinet up and running. In the meantime deputy ministers are running many of the important ministries such as the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Defense (MoD). Both Ghani and Abdullah are locked in a protracted struggle to pick the cabinet. The international community is hoping that the cabinet will be picked soon; as that would be a sign of some real progress in governance and reform. Afghanistan Analyst Network's ". . . Martine van Bijlert takes a closer look at what might be holding up the discussions, where they may be going and how the government has fared so far". Read more in "The National Unity Government's Elusive Cabinet", Afghanistan Analysts Network, December 9, 2014.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has posted a video (2 hours November 29, 2014) of a National Seminar entitled "Ten Years of Constitution". (Not in English).
Thursday, November 20, 2014
The new president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, is taking more time than expected to form his cabinet. He is at odds with Abdullah Abdullah (new CEO) on the appointment of cabinet ministers. Read more in "Long-troubled Afghan government undergoes overhaul", Stars and Stripes, November 17, 2014.
Friday, November 14, 2014
The Afghan cabinet has yet to be named because of a power struggle between President Ghani and the Chief Executive Officer Abdullah. It has been a couple of months since the "National Unity Government" has been formed but not much headway has taken place in naming cabinet positions. Of the upmost importance is selecting the Minister of Interior and Minister of Defense. Read more in "Afghan power struggle seen delaying formation of new government", Reuters, November 13, 2014.
The new leaders elected in Afghanistan have provided a glimpse of hope to the people of Kabul. President Ghani is bringing some sorely needed changes to the Afghan government that are welcomed by the city's residents and others throughout the country. Read more in "A new government brings hope of change in Afghanistan", BBC News Middle East, November 10, 2014.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
A commentator provides us with an update and analysis on how well the new Afghan government is doing and identifies challenges it is facing over the short and long-term. Jason Campbell is an associate policy analyst with the RAND Corporation in Washington, D.C. and just completed a NATO-sponsored trip to Afghanistan that featured meetings with senior NATO and Afghan officials, members of Parliament, and others. Read his report in "What's the Plan? The Afghan Government", War on the Rocks, November 10, 2014.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
The sub-governor of Kandahar, Abdul Qadim Patyal, was assassinated while he was attending a night class on Afghan literature. He embodied the hope of many who saw a youthful public servant who was not tied to a warlord or specific "tribal family" that would help bring Afghanistan out of the 14th century and into the 21st century. Read more in "Slain Afghan official, a poet, embodied hope of youth", Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2014.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
A deputy provincial governor was killed in an attack in southern Kandahar while attending a university class. Read more in "Attacks Kill Afghan Deputy Governor, Judge", The New York Times, November 3, 2014.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
There are many perspectives on the future of Afghanistan and the challenges that the new government faces. One such perspective is given to us by Dr. Alexander Knyazev, a prominent Russian Orientalist, member of the Russian Geographic Society, and a professor at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. In his article "Afghanistan: A Dangerous Projection of Presidential Inauguration", Centre for Research on Globalization, October 20, 2014 he worries that the ethnic divisions within Afghanistan may soon surface, the current power arrangement between Ghani and Abdullah may fail, and points to weaknesses in the Ghani presidency.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Jordan Olmstead has wrote a piece entitled "Will AfPak Democracy Survive?" posted on The South Asia Channel of Foreign Policy on October 14, 2014. He looks back at the Afghan elections and examines the rise in political violence that young democracies experience.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
D. Suba Chandran has identified four major challenges for the new president of Afghanistan. They are listed as "One Country, Two Executives", "The Shifting American Focus Towards Iraq", "Advantage Taliban-Pakistan", and "It's the Economy, Stupid". Read the article in "The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani - Analysis", EuraisaReview.com, October 13, 2014.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
It appears that President Ghani is making some very strong initial strides in establishing good governance in Afghanistan. He has made some excellent decisions in streamlining the governmental process. Thomas Ruttig provides a detailed analysis of Ghani's first days. Read The Start into the Better Governance Marathon: Ghani's first days", Afghanistan Analysts Network, October 11, 2014.
Monday, October 13, 2014
An observer and analyst of events in South Asia, Sharif Azami, has posted a post mortem on the Afghan election. He makes some great observations and draws some interesting conclusions in "The Ballot Stuffing Equilibrium and a Messy Compromise: Winners and Losers of the Afghan Elections", The Huffington Blog, October 10, 2014.
Secretary of State John Kerry seems optimistic about the future of Afghanistan. He says the resolution of the election crisis and the formation of the national unity government are signs of hope that the country can get on track. Read the news story in "Kerry: Afghan Unity Govt. Could Prove Turning Point", Voice of America, October 11, 2014.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
There are three challenges facing the newly formed Afghan government (according to one observer). The first challenge is the question of legitimacy of the new government. The disappointing results of the presidential election (not in numbers of voters but in how the votes were tallied and the fraud committed) puts the validity of the government at stake. A second challenge is the relationship between the President and his appointed "Prime Minister". The PM job is not authorized under the constitution and it will be a few years before any amendments to the constitution are approved by a Loya Jirga. The third challenge is the redefinition of Afghanistan's foreign policy. It is dependent upon foreign aid and needs to keep the international community engaged in Afghanistan's future. Read more in "The Afghan Unity Government's Three Perils", The Diplomat, October 6, 2014.
Monday, October 6, 2014
According to one recent post online the National Unity Government (NUG) is ". . . a band-aid solution to deeper corruption and ethnic tensions". But the article acknowledges that the band-aid stopped the possible slide to a parallel government and escalation to a civil war between ethnic groups and buys time for the new government to continue the security mission against the Taliban and to . . . start acting like a government. Read "Afghanistan: a band-aid and a way forward", The Strategist, October 2014.