Afghan Vote Threatened By Fraud Allegations

August 24th, 2009

KABUL — Reports of fraud and intimidation from election-monitoring groups are mounting, undermining the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s presidential vote and posing a challenge for the U.S. and its Western allies, who initially declared the vote a success.
A linchpin of the international community’s strategy here, Thursday’s election was supposed to shore up the credibility of the [...]

Attacks Shake up Afghan Balloting

August 21st, 2009

By Matthew Rosenberg, Anand Gopal and Yochi Dreazen
KABUL — Amid dozens of election-day Taliban attacks that claimed 26 lives, Afghans voted for president Thursday — but reports of low turnout and fraud made it unclear whether bombs or ballots would ultimately emerge the day’s victor.
Counting Ballots
Taliban militants had stepped up attacks for a week and [...]

Young Candidates Spar in Mock Afghan Election

August 15th, 2009

KABUL — Slipping by his rivals with a platform of security and reconstruction that resonated with war-weary voters, a new president of Afghanistan was elected this week: the baby-faced, 20-year-old Munir Farahmand.
That, at least, is how things unfolded on “The Candidate,” a reality TV show that pits young Afghans against each other in a mock [...]

Karzai Befriends Rivals to Improve Polls Odds

August 8th, 2009

The unpopular Afghan President’s talent for deal-making and conciliation are expected to pave way for another 5-year term.
By Matthew Rosenberg and Anand Gopal
KABUL — When the U.S. and its allies first anointed Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan’s president nearly eight years ago, he was seen at home and abroad as an adept politician uniquely suited to [...]

Afghan Democracy Bares Rough Edges

July 23rd, 2009

by Peter Wonacott and Anand Gopal
KABUL — Afghanistan is expected to put its rough-edged new democracy on display in a televised debate between candidates vying to lead one of the world’s poorest, most turbulent countries.
But only three of the 41 presidential candidates were asked to appear for the event Thursday evening, and only one looked [...]

Afghanistan’s Divided Opposition Boosts Karzai’s Election Bid

May 5th, 2009

Though unpopular, the president has more national reach than the shrinking pool of contenders.
Kabul, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s unpopular President Hamid Karzai just registered Monday for his reelection bid. But already, he looks poised to easily win the August polls, as leading contenders drop out of the race and others fail to form viable opposition tickets.
The [...]

In remote Afghan valley, a rare peace sprouts with insurgents

April 27th, 2009

Promises of cash and jobs–rather than ideological pledges–help prompt fighters to lay down their arms. But questions remain about the program’s efficiency.
Alasay, Afghanistan – Deep in a mountain valley north of Kabul, Gulab Shah and his fellow insurgents were under siege. It was mid-March, and a French-led military offensive had been pounding their village night [...]

Afghanistan’s Controversial Law Emboldens Women’s Rights Activists

April 16th, 2009

Hundreds in Kabul staged a rare rally Wednesday, defying counterprotesters’ stones and insults.
Kabul, Afghanistan – As Fatima Fedayee clutched a banner that read “Equality Is Our Right,” an angry man charged toward her and knocked her to the ground. As soon as she picked herself up, another man hurled stones at her. Then a group [...]

Briefing: Who Are the Taliban?

April 16th, 2009

The umbrella organization includes many different groups fighting the Afghan government and Western forces.
Kabul, Afghanistan – As the Obama administration ramps up focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, insurgents from both countries have teamed up to confront the rising US troop presence. While the insurgents often get labeled as the “Taliban,” in reality there are [...]

Smog Adds to Kabul’s Hazards

April 15th, 2009

KABUL, Apr 15 (IPS/IFEJ) – On any given day, a pall of smog and dust hangs over Kabul’s streets. It clings to the face, burns the eyes, and stains the hands. It bathes the cars, often stuck bumper-to-bumper in traffic, and occludes the view of the distant mountains.
“My friends and I prefer to stay [...]