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Afghanistan

Can aid win hearts and minds?

A recent Christian Science Monitor article reported that USAID is “losing hearts and minds” in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakshan province because of failed and shoddy projects, corruption, secrecy and waste.
Given how much of the US aid budget is spent trying to make the world a safer and more secure place for Americans, you might think there would be plenty of studies testing the hypothesis that aid funds can reduce terrorism or shift hostile public opinion. In fact, there is startlingly little evidence that we know how to use aid for this purpose.

Presidential Decree De-Fangs Afghanistan’s Election Watchdog

A move by Hamid Karzai threatens to undermine the Afghan election process. A view from our correspondent in Afghanistan.

Eleven days ago, I heard a rumor that the office of President Hamid Karzai had re-written Afghanistan’s Election Law in ways that would deal a blow to the country’s beleaguered democrats. The changes had gone into force through a presidential decree, I was told.  While the international press was still quiet, ripples of alarm were already spreading through Kabul-based civil society.
The story is out now, and the worst has been confirmed.

"My Camera is My Gun"

Frontline embeds a journalist with insurgents attacking the northern supply route into Afghanistan. The results are breathtaking.

Last night, on Frontline, Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi gave us a peek at the inner workings of insurgents operating in northern Afghanistan.

CEDAW Committee: Protect Rights and Involve Women in Afghanistan Negotiations

United Nations human rights experts share the unease Afghan civil society representatives voiced in London last week about the protection of women’s human rights during peace negotiations with the Taliban.

United Nations human rights experts share the unease Afghan civil society representatives voiced in London last week about the protection of women’s human rights during peace negotiations with the Taliban.

Did UN Envoy Actually Meet With the Taliban?

According to the Washington Post, the Taliban leadership council in Quetta is denying that United Nations’ special representative Kai Eide met with any of its members in Dubai last month.

According to the Washington Post, the Taliban leadership council in Quetta is denying that United Nations’ special representative Kai Eide met with any of its members in Dubai last month.

War Not Cause of Self-Immolation Suicides in Afghanistan

The current situation in Afghanistan --the foreign troops, the insurgency, the Afghan government, roll it all in together-- doesn't affect all Afghan women exactly the same way.

Alex DiBranco at Change.org's Women's Rights blog recently wrote a post titled

Former UN Afghanistan Head Calls for Political Solution to Conflict

A former top UN official reflects on the past eight years of international engagement in Afghanistan and calls for a new peace process to bring an end to the long-running conflict.

In a keynote speech delivered at a major civil society conference in London Tuesday, former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi reflected on the past eight years of international engagement in Afghanistan and called for a new peace process to bring an end to the long-running conflict.

UK Government Supports Effort to De-List Some Taliban from UN Sanctions List

A British diplomat tells UN Dispatch that the UK government would support an effort to de-list some Taliban from a UN sanctions list.

In an interview with the New York Times on Sunday, the UN's top official on Afghanistan, Kai Eide, expressed support for removing some Taliban and Al Qaeda members from targeted individual sanctions imposed by the Security Council. From the Times:

Afghanistan Moves Parliamentary Elections to September, UN Welcomes Delay

Afghanistan’s electoral body announced yesterday that parliamentary elections originally scheduled for May 22 will be delayed until September.

Afghanistan’s electoral body announced yesterday that parliamentary elections originally scheduled for May 22 will be delayed until September. The announcement was welcomed by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), whose head Kai Eide said the delay “provides time to make improvements to the electoral process based on lessons learned during the presidential and Provincial Council elections in 2009.”

Afghanistan : UN Dispatch Goes to the London Conference

Check back regularly as the London conference gets underway and I bring you updates from the people and events discussing, debating and shaping the way forward in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. That sentence has become cliché, but it is no less true for being so.

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