Abdullah says all the right things, but Rashid’s not so sure

Abdullah is saying al the right things about the deal with Ghani, giving some hope that the inauguration may actually go forward next week, which we certainly doubted at a few points.  Tolo quoted Abduallah as saying:

“Together, we, the government of national unity, will be able to address the problems of the country. “We’ve come together, hand in hand, to work toward a better tomorrow.”

He even went so far as to apologize somewhat for his role in the electoral chaos and attempted to somewhat justify the drawn out process (though nothing along those lines from Ghani yet): “I apologize to the nation that the election process was not completed sooner.  All our negotiations in the past months have been to ensure the interests of the nation.” (See the entire article on Tolo here)

Not everyone, however, is convinced and yesterday noted analyst Ahmed Rashid wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, which is a scathing (to put it mildly) critique of Continue reading

Discontent Grumbling or the Beginning of the End

Over the past days both analysts and Afghan voters have been trying to sort out what Ghani and Abdullah’s agreement will mean for the political future of Afghanistan.  One of the things that is clear is that the agreement will only work if supported by the vast majority of key political players in the country.  There is particular concern about some of Abdullah’s hardline supporters.  As these leaders, however, begin to respond to the agreement, the crucial question is whether their complaints are simply political positioning or whether they signal genuine dissent which could lead to an unraveling of the deal.  Already Governor Atta, a key Abdullah supporter, has come out stating that Ghani is not actually the president (see excerpts from an interview on Khaama here) and some parliamentarians are suggesting that Election Commission officials should actually be put on trial (see the Tolo article here).

There are two important things to keep in mind here: First of all, no one should be surprised by Continue reading

What they are saying about the deal: Part II

We had a previous post on what prominent actors were saying about the lack of a decision (see here).  This is a follow up piece on responses to what is hopefully the decision that resolves the current crisis.

  • Ashraf Ghani: “Peace is our demand and, God willing, it will come…I and Dr. Abdullah are committed to the commitments we have made before the people.” (from The Washington Post here)
  • The White House (see Reuters here) : “This agreement marks an important opportunity for unity and increased stability in Afghanistan.  We continue to call on all Afghans – including political, religious, and civil society leaders – to support this agreement and to come together in calling for cooperation and calm.”
  • The Taliban spokesman in a Continue reading

Continued Economic Decay (Updated)

While it’s very difficult to assess the economic costs of the stalled election process, here’s a growing list of the increasing number of anecdotes about the costs of the crisis:

Sept 17 update

Khaama reports on a Ministry of Finance official’s statements on the dwindling funds in the Afghan treasury: Afghanistan in urgent need of $537m as government is nearly broke

Here’s a Tolo piece on the drop in revenues from mining:  Afghan Energy Watchdog Reports Steep Drop in Extraction Revenues

Sept 16 update

A Fiscal Times piece Continue reading

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From Tolo News, see the full article here:

Physical Brawl at IEC Injures Three

By TOLOnews.com
19 August 2014

A physical brawl broke out at the Independent Election Commission (IEC) headquarters in Kabul between IEC personnel and a member of a presidential electoral team on Tuesday evening.

Reports indicate that those involved in the fight used scissors and knives on one another.

The cause behind the clash is not known, but initial reports indicate that brawl occurred after controversy over some ballot boxes.

Since the start of the auditing process there have been numerous fights over the technicality and procedure of the audit.

Countdown to the NATO Summit

With NATO leaders meeting September 4 and 5 in Wales, the pressure is growing on the auditing process.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently told Reuters: ‘”Soon we will have to take tough decisions because if there isn’t a legal basis for our continued presence in Afghanistan, we will have to withdraw everything by the end of this year and to do that we will have to start planning … very soon,” he said, without giving a firm date.’

In a different interview Ashraf Ghani remained optimistic that a new president will be inaugurated by the end of September and in fact suggested that the results would be ‘clear’ within the week (See Khaama Press here).  This certainly seems like the declaration of a candidate who is fairly certain of his victory and rumblings on the Abdullah side of things certainly do not suggest that such a timeline is feasible at all.

On the more technical side of things of a total of 22,828 ballot boxes, only 8,867 have been audited so far with a special audit of 6,000 concerning boxes beginning on Sunday (see Tolo here).  Given this rate of progress, it certainly seems like the end of August deadline is unrealistic.  That being said, it is clear that Continue reading