Dossier: Afghanistan’s Transition in the Making? People, Perceptions and the Politics of 2014

Dossier: Afghanistan’s Transition in the Making? People, Perceptions and the Politics of 2014

Grid image Photo: Afghanistan Matters/ USAID Afghanistan/ Collage: Monique Meyer Creative Commons LizenzvertragThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

2014 is viewed as one of the most important years since the Afghan transition process began, over a decade ago. Step by step, over the last decade, the war-torn country has progressed towards sovereign democracy. Now, and ongoing until the end of the year, security will become an Afghan responsibility, as Western troops are being drawn down. More importantly, the first presidential and provincial elections autonomously organised within the country, will present a further important step within the political transition process.

The end of 2014 is meant to mark the beginning of Afghanistan’s next period of transformation. However, what is the true meaning of this crucial year 2014 for Afghans themselves?

Will the upcoming elections result in the consolidation of traditional hierarchies – or will they be a step towards greater participation and more public involvement in democratic decision-making processes? Will the withdrawal of foreign troops lead to the return of insecurity and the hardening of old rivalries – or will the outcome be an Afghanistan that is a sovereign player within its region? Will the decrease of international funding result in the collapse of the Afghan state and economy – or will it be the first step towards less corruption, less mismanagement? Finally, will the lessening of international political interference cause the decline of democratic values – or will it trigger the rise of a confident young and politically active group of Afghan political actors?

The Heinrich Böll Foundation's new dossier on Afghanistan will provide analyses, profiles, interviews, as well as studies that will shed light on the events of what is an important year for Afghanistan and the region as a whole. Through their analyses, comments, and insights, Afghan, German, and international civil society activist, scientists, journalists, and politicians will provide critical and nuanced information about the political project underway in and for Afghanistan.

From Transition To Transformation

Grid image Photo: US Botschaft in Kabul/ Afghanistan Matters / Collage: Monique Meyer Creative Commons LizenzvertragThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.
Nooria Amiri

Young people are an energetic portion of a society. They can get involved in political activism. They can also contribute to the fight against corruption, insecurity, and factors such as nepotism to establish a better government.

The main victims in the fight to reach peace and security are young people. Nonetheless, in government decision making, the role of young politicians is negligible; this shows what the government’s motivations actually are.

Karzai Portrait
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This year’s election is not the first fraudulent election the country has experienced. An assess of the structure of power and the behavior of Afghanistan's elites vis-à-vis democratic forms of power.

Construction Work Afghanistan
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Development projects and construction work around military bases make up an overwhelmingly large part of Afghanistan’s economy. With foreign troops withdrawing and declining aid, the country is looking for its future economic path.

Afghanistan Election Day
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What can we make out of a deadlocked electoral result, with seemingly contradictory stories from the candidates? A graphical analysis shows: Ghani's second round numerical victory was brought about by finding 1.3 million new votes and depositing them in key spots.

Veiled women in the streets of Kabul
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Officially there are no legal obstacles to women participating in politics in Afghanistan. However only one woman registered as a presidential candidate among many men, making discrimination against women in Afghan politics obvious.

President Karzai
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The Karzai era has been given a moderate appraisal. But the Afghan president alone isn't responsible for everything he's being accused of. The West must take part of the blame too.

Young protesters Kabul
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The youth in Afghanistan is demanding a change. With social media, arts, newly established organizations and initiatives young Afghans are mobilizing against war and corruption in their country.

Boy planting a tree
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Days before the presidential elections in Afghanistan much is discussed amongst the candidates: foreign policies, economic development and reconstruction of the country. No or little attention is being paid to environmental protection, neither from the candidates nor from the people.

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11 candidates were approved by the Afghan Election Commission to compete in the presidential elections in Afghanistan on May 3rd. Here's an overview on the three candidates with the highest chances of winning.

Women at a Election.
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The international community will play an important but secondary role in Afghanistan’s future as Afghans work to create a more sustainable state through strengthening their political consensus, , building their economy, and increasing security.

An Afghan boy looks at a British Royal Marine with Lima Company, 42 Commando, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, December of 2009.
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Afghanistan is on its way to becoming a forgotten and irritating issue. Nevertheless, we should think again about how it all began and to what extent the expectations in the military intervention of 2001 have been fulfilled.

Afghan election in 2009
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Even though Afghanistan has a long track record of ballot stuffing, electoral fraud, and general impunity for well-connected and well-armed lawbreakers, there are limits to the lengths to which a candidate may go in seeking victory. To win in an Afghan election, one must engage in large scale vote-buying, collusion or corruption.

Moeed Yusuf giving an interview at the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Berlin in March 2014

Moeed Yusuf is director of the South Asia programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace and have been engaged in expanding the institute’s work on Pakistan/South Asia since 2010. In this interview he talks about his publication "Getting it Right in Afghanistan" and the difficult relationship between Afghanistan und Pakistan.

Natural ressources, conflict and development

Grid image Photo: Afghanistan Matters, Collage: Monique Meyer Creative Commons LizenzvertragThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.
Chinese Mining Company MCC Kabul
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Afghanistan has a new mining law that aims to tap the potentially lucrative sector to fund the country's post-war development. Critics say, it falls short of international standards and could encourage further conflict and corruption.

Resources and water in Afghanistan
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The country’s natural resources, especially its abundance of water, could bring great benefits to the Afghans – but only if the right conditions can be achieved. A summary of "Afghanistan's Transition in the Making?"

Khwaga Kakar is Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan and Researcher on Water Issues. In this interview she explains the situation of Afghanistan concerning its water management.

Renard Sexton

Renard Sexton is an International Expert on Resources and International Development. In this interview he explains the intimate and complex relationship of natural resources and conflict in Afghanistan.

Archive: Afghanistan-Dossier 2011

After ten years of international involvement in Afghanistan, a second conference will take plan in Bonn this December 2011 to discuss the country’s future. Since 2002, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has actively supported the development of civil society in Afghanistan and has promoted exchanges between the German and Afghan public. The following dossier provides a venue for comments, analysis and debate ahead of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

Dossier: Afghanistan‘s Transition in the Making

2014 is viewed as one of the most important years since the Afghan transition process began, over a decade ago. Western troops are being drawn down and more importantly, the first presidential and provincial elections autonomously organised within the country, will present a further important step within the political transition process. This dossier provides analyses, profiles, interviews, as well as studies that will shed light on the events of what is an important year for Afghanistan.

Interviews

Rahe-Madanyat (Civilization Way Weekly) is a non- partisan and independent weekly magazine established in 2012 by a group of young talented journalist, writers and university lecturers in Afghanistan. Since January 2014, Rahe Madanyat is conducting a series of weekly interviews to portrait young political leaders. This web dossier will publish English and German translations of the interviews regularly until December 2014.

Publications

Cover:Policy Paper: Traditional Elites between Bullets and Ballots

Successful elections and political transition in 2014 are crucial for the future relationship between Afghanistan and the international community. Traditional elites are somewhat ambiguous regarding the elections.

Cover: Policy Brief: Afghanistan's Parliament in the Making

After more than a decade of an international intervention and close to the proclaimed second post-2014 transition phase, women's political participation remains precarious and volatile in Afghanistan despite inroads made. Women activists and lawmakers demand due diligence for promises made, inroads built, spaces carved out and steps to be taken to ensure a more peaceful post-2014 Afghanistan.

cover: Afghan Women Vision 2024

On March 8th, 2014 the Afghan Women's Network (AWN) in Kabul and in all 34 provinces has launched the "Women Vision 2024" paper. The paper has been developed through consultation meetings of leading women rights activists and has been consulted with women in all 34 provinces of the country.