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January 23 2014

Goodbye Alexandros Petersen, Prodigious Guide to China in Central Asia

With a sprinkle of humor, Alex slipped seamlessly and gracefully into a region of stories and storytellers, abundance and poverty, toasts and toast-makers. 

The 29 year-old go-to-scholar and commentator was eloquent and big-hearted in everything he did. 

It was with great shock that I comprehended the loss of Alexandros Petersen, co-author of the excellent Eurasian affairs blog, in a suicide bomb attack carried out by the Taliban at a restaurant in central Kabul on January 17, 2014. 

Alexandros Petersen at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Alexandros Petersen at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

This is not an obituary.

Alex was so well-traveled and well-affiliated that compiling his biography would probably be a task beyond any single person, and certainly the author of this post. A great number of people knew Alex in a great number of capacities, all of whom lost something in this brutal, highly coordinated and premeditated attack.

America-born to a Greek mother and a Danish father, he had friends and admirers across the world, with a notable concentration of both in lands sandwiched between the shores of the Black Sea and the sands of the Taklamakan desert.

As an occasional journalist, I had known ‘Alex the source’ – always reliable for an astute and erudite quote – for some time before I knew Alex the person.

While the first Alex will leave a gaping hole in the rolodex of many analysts and reporters covering Central Asia and the Caucasus, it is the second Alex, known by family, friends, colleagues and students, that will be missed even more. 

As a noted expert in energy politics, Alex's scope was global, yet like many that have traveled through, lived and worked in, or wrote about the states of Central Asia and the Caucasus, there was a specific set of countries he found infectious. As he emphasized in his book The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West, and later through the ChinainCentralAsia blog and book project, this is a region that western policy-makers ignore at their peril.

Many people that knew Alex, even as briefly as I knew him, will know that he had an aptitude for anecdotes. Through the warm fuzzy memory of one of several excellent dinner evenings at a well-known Georgian restaurant in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (a dash of the Caucasus in Central Asia) I can still hear his tale of the duplicitous Azerbaijani ambassador that summoned him for a dressing down after he had written a critical article about that country, only to promptly stop, smile, and break out a teapot and tea cups. The dressing down, it emerged, had been recorded for the benefit of a political high-up in Baku, while the teapot and tea cups were symbols of the perennial hospitality with which any visitor to the region rapidly becomes familiar. 

On a good night, Alex could reel off a dozen such recollections from his years traveling through countries in Europe and Asia, nearly all of which were outrageously funny. A Petersen punch line could leave your ribs hurting from laughter, a potent and particular gift that the Taliban stole from the world.

China in Central Asia

Through, one of the most readable English-language blogs covering geopolitics in the Eurasian region, Alex had begun in combination with co-writer Raffaello Pantucci and photojournalist Sue Anne Tay, to document what he was convinced, with good reason, would be one of the stories of the 21st century, namely China's giant economic push through the countries lying west of its own restive Xinjiang province. These countries, cobbled together as “the stans” by the western media, lie at the historical heart of some of the greatest land empires the world has known, but are now isolated states increasingly shorn of options. Hamstrung by geography, corruption and various other internal problems, they have few reasons to reject Chinese largesse, and even fewer means to resist it.

Belatedly the chronicle of exponentially increasing Chinese trade and investment in Central Asia has started to turn heads beyond the region and its regular gaggle of foreign observers. Last September, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping's whirlwind tour through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan raised eyebrows across the world by virtue of the sheer size of the deals struck for oil, gas and other giant infrastructure projects in the region. For Petersen, Pantucci and others, this is a plot that has been bubbling for some time, and one that is increasingly central to the epic that is China's rise towards superpower status.   

While Alex diligently tracked every stretch of pipeline built by the Chinese in the region, he also knew that China's influence in Central Asia could not be measured in kilometers of road, barrels of oil, and cubic meters of gas alone. Many of the articles on are enjoyable to read precisely because they gather the testimonies of ordinary Central Asians being affected by the changes that have accompanied China's expanding clout; from university teachers observing the installation of Confucius Institutes in their places of work, to local businessmen whose bank accounts have been swelled by trade with China, and villagers who believe the roads Chinese companies are building in their country – paid for by cheap Chinese credit – are designed to support the weight of Chinese tanks in a future military invasion.

The practitioners of Beijing's westward pivot, and the protagonists in the emergence of what ChinainCentral has labelled China's “inadvertant empire” are also human beings rather than mere pawns on a chessboard, a fact Petersen captured in an October article in the Atlantic: 

These actors include Chinese owners of market stalls in Central Asia’s largest bazaars. One I spoke to had lived for years in a shipping container he shared with four other men at the back of a clothes market in Kazakhstan’s largest bazaar. A multi-millionaire, he provided for his children’s Western education, multiple apartments in Shanghai, and even overseas property investments. To him, Central Asia is the land of opportunity. These actors also include Chinese teachers sent to staff the many Confucius Institutes sprouting up around the region. Some I spoke with missed home, but many said they preferred the exciting “frontier life.” CNPC engineers across the region know that they are in for the long haul, as their company and its many subsidiaries build imposing structures in every Eurasian capital. The immense pipeline network CNPC is threading through the region consists of infrastructure set to last half a century.

Alex the Guide

Beyond his writing Alex also inspired as a teacher, and it was during his semester-long stint at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, that I got to know him on a personal level. Among the juniors and seniors in the International and Comparative Politics department (many of whom have written articles for Global Voices) that took his elective courses, and freshmen of all departments undertaking the First Year Seminar, Alex was a universally admired guide and friend, as well as a teller of fantastic stories. To both students and colleagues at the university, he was open, approachable, and a great person to bounce ideas off.

We are thinking of his family.  

A man of many temporary homes, Alex was in Kabul to embark on another research and teaching stint at the American University of Afghanistan. Writing to him a few days before he died I told him I was looking forward to a new series of dispatches on the nature and shape of Chinese influence in this fascinating, beautiful, tortured country. Now those dispatches will never be written and the students he was teaching will miss out on the tremendous wealth of knowledge, experience and color he brought to a classroom. When the Taliban cut his life short so brutally, it was fellow Afghans they punished. 

As his friend and writing partner Raffaello Pantucci communicated via email, “a bright light has gone out.”

Chris Rickleton manages the GV Central Asia Interns Project at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

January 05 2014

As Afghanistan Faces a Critical Year, President Karzai Plays a “Risky Game”

As United States combat forces prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of this year, the country's president Hamid Karzai is dragging his feet on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). The document provides a legal framework for a limited presence of American troops in Afghanistan after 2014, mainly to train the country's security forces. 

“Unnecessary” complications

The BSA was negotiated in 2012. In an apparent attempt to share the responsibility for signing the agreement with tribal elders, Hamid Karzai convened a loya jirga, or the grand assembly, in November 2013, to weigh in on his decision to strike the deal with the US. The tribal elders supported the security pact and urged Karzai to sign the document promptly. The Afghan president, however, has chosen to ignore loya jirga's recommendation, telling the elders that he would not sign the BSA until after the presidential elections due in April 2014.

Interestingly, the chair of loya jirga has called the four-day gathering of the assembly “unnecessary,” saying that Karzai should have signed the security pact without the tribal elders’ approval.

Concerned over the controversies within the Afghan government, Samira Hamidi tweeted:

“Risky game”

Karzai's decision to postpone the inking of the agreement has been interpreted as a “risky game of brinkmanship” ahead of the elections. The “game” has created an atmosphere of uncertainly among Afghan netizens. 

Hamid Karzai addressing the joint meeting of US Congress on June 15, 2004. Image by the White House, part of public domain.

Hamid Karzai addressing the joint meeting of US Congress on June 15, 2004. Image by the White House, part of public domain.

Twitter user Watan Dar offers an explanation for Karzai's unwillingness to sign the pact:

A recent survey suggests that the majority of Afghans support the new security pact with US. Many prominent Afghan politicians are also in favor of the deal. Mahmoud Saikal, the country's former deputy foreign minister stated that Afghanistan needs the BSA. Amrullah Saleh, a former national security chief, tweeted:

Karzai's reluctance to ink the security agreement has found support from the Taliban leaders. Reacting to loya jirga's approval of the BSA, a senior Taliban leader pledged that the group would continue fighting as long as the foreign “infidel” troops remain in Afghanistan. He also stated that the Taliban did not have any hope left for peace with the current regime.

Other opposition parties in the country have a more favorable view of the new security agreement. The Cooperation Council of Political Parties and Coalitions of Afghanistan (CCPPCA) proposed to sign the BSA immediately, noting that the delay might compromise the fragile security and jeopardize the 2014 elections.

Courting neighbors

After refusing to finalize the BSA by the end of 2013, Karzai spent his energy during the last weeks of the year visiting Iran, Pakistan, and India. Interestingly, Iran urged Karzai not to strike the deal with US, warning that a continued presence of American troops was a threat to the region. 

Concerned about the possible consequences of Karzai's “games”, Afghan netizens tweeted:

Some netizens, however, believe that the new security agreement with the US is not actually such a big deal:

“Playing with fire”

In a bid to convince Karzai to finalize the security agreement, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari visited Kabul in December 2013. Zebari claimed that the security pact was in Afghanistan's best interests, pointing to a deterioration in security in Iraq after its refusal to ink a security agreement with the US.

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel and US National Security Advisor Susan Rise have warned Karzai that his unwillingness to sign the BSA might lead to a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. In addition, James Dobbins (US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan) warned Afghanistan of civil war if the agreement was not signed.

Arif Rafiq tweeted:

2014 is a critical year for Afghanistan as the US and NATO troops are leaving the country, handing over the responsibility for maintaining security to the fledgling national security forces. Hamid Karzai who has served as Afghanistan's president during the past twelve years will be replaced in elections due in less than four months. While he refuses to finalize the security pact with the US, other presidential hopefuls have remained silent on the issue. Therefore, what is awaiting Afghanistan and its people in the near future remains a mystery. 

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December 17 2013

Empowering Women in Afghanistan: Interview with Anita Haidary

Anita Haidary is an Afghan women's rights activist and co-founder of Young Women for Change (YWC), a non-governmental organization aiming to empower and improve the lives of women in Afghanistan. She is now studying Film Studies at an American college, while continuing to advocate for Afghan women's rights. Global Voices has interviewed Anita about her activism and her views on the role of women in Afghanistan after the 2014 elections.

Anita Haidary. Photo provided by Anita, used with permission.

Global Voices: What inspired you to start Young Women for Change?

Anita Haidary: Every detail in my life, my family, and religion, the classes I took, and the school I went to have made me the person I am, with the values I have. The equality taught by my religion and the experience of seeing this equality practiced in my family made me stronger and nurtured certain values in me. Seeing inequality and insult at school invoked resistance in me, and I have been resisting injustice since the eighth grade. I didn't always know that what I was fighting against was gender inequality. I was rather unwilling to accept something that I thought was wrong. Later this grew into a bigger struggle for the Afghan women.

GV: Why did you choose to campaign for women's rights?

AH: Many people think that you have to be a victim to feel the pain. But I am not campaigning for women's right because I was a victim. Instead, I was always told that I was a strong, capable, and smart person. Teachers in my school used to tell us that we, girls and women, were vulnerable, and I decided to speak up against this view. I continued doing so when seeing harassment against women and our limited role in society. This all has led me to work for women's rights and become a co-founder of the Young Women for Change.

GV: Is it dangerous for you to advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan?

AH: Any attempt at social change and any challenge against the mainstream is dangerous. That’s exactly why this work should be done. It has to start somewhere. On the other hand, I do not agree with statements that activists should be “made of steel” and should be fearless. We are human beings, and it is in our nature to have fear. The important thing is that we continue fighting despite the dangers we come across. I have to remind myself from time to time that as a woman, I have the right to security. Therefore, while the determination to continue the struggle is important, it is also important to be smart in order to survive and be able to keep the struggle alive.

GV: How does YWC help to stop violence and discrimination against women in Afghanistan?

AH: YWC focuses on grassroots work. We ran several school projects that focused on preventing harassment and addressing women's rights issues in general. We also organized demonstrations against honor killings and street harassment, and disseminated posters calling on people to stop these practices. We also write blogs to raise awareness. Besides, YWC organizes open lectures to raise people's awareness about women's rights in Islam and in international law.

GV: How close do you think YWC is to reaching its goal?

AH: We have started. YWC’s goal is to start the conversation about Afghan women’s rights, find solutions to most common issues within our society, and use the forces of society to implement those solutions. I think we have been successful in approaching our goal so far, particularly in recruiting volunteers, generating fruitful discussions, and finding collective solutions that respect the diversity of Afghan society. 

We are currently working to give YWC a formal structure which is important as we are planning to grow and extend our geographic coverage in Afghanistan. We will soon be launching a street harassment report. We will also extend our work with schools and private courses.

GV: What are the main challenges YWC faces?

AH: We are a grassroots movement which depends on volunteers rather than paid employees. Volunteers face many challenges in Afghanistan, and this makes our work challenging too. Financial issues and social problems such as street harassment add up to our problems.

Besides, people know little about our cause and often resist what we do in some areas of Afghanistan. There are strong views against women and men working together in parts of Afghan society. But we include men in YWC's work because we firmly believe that it is important that men learn about women's rights and join our struggle for these rights.

GV: What is your view on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law? [Drafted by civil society, EVAW was enacted by a presidential decree in 2009. The Afghan parliament has recently refused to endorse the law].

AH: I think EVAW law is one of the most important steps that have been taken towards elimination of violence against women in Afghanistan. The law runs against multiple local laws which are not favoring women.

GV: Why do you think the Afghan parliament did not endorse the EVAW?

AH: Political parties in the parliament have their own agendas. They vote against laws that do not serve their goals. Some lawmakers stated they could not approve the law because it “contradicted” Islamic norms. But such statements are questionable because the law has been there and has been partly implemented since 2009. Why wasn't the questions of the law being “un-Islamic” was not raised when the law was made?

GV: How can the EVAW law be improved?

AH: I think the law should incorporate Afghan women's perspective. The government of Afghanistan also needs to remain aware of the international human rights norms when dealing with women's rights.

GV: How do you see the role of women after 2014?

AH: I am concerned about the sustainability [of the gains that have been made] because of the possible deterioration of security. But I think women will remain very active. The lack of security will limit their activism. But at the same time, it will lead women to continue the struggle for their rights. The government should open up even more to women to ensure a greater representation for them, not only at lower levels but also in in major decision-making positions.

GV: There are no women candidates in the 2014 presidential elections. What is your take on this?

AH: I think this is very sad because we did have a female candidate during the previous presidential elections. I think it would be a very positive step if we had women in the presidential race. It would give other women courage to come forward. At the same time, the reality is that our society is dominated by men. People firmly believe that women are incapable of holding high-level governmental posts. Therefore, I cannot comment on whether a woman could really win the elections, but I definitely think that having a female presidential candidate would send a positive image to everyone in Afghanistan and the international community.

GV: As an Afghan women's rights activist, what advice do you have for the young people of Afghanistan?

AH: I would advise them not to give up. It is just the beginning. If we keep fighting, we will get there. The rest of the world also had to struggle through hard times, and this is our time to start. We need to remember what divided our society in the past. We need to embrace and respect our diversity, and build tolerance between men and women, as well as among Afghanistan's different linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups. We are a diverse society and nothing can change this fact. Now it is up to us whether we accept this and learn to live with each other and work together – or we can follow the path that we have long followed and face the grim consequences.

Global Voices also interviewed Noorjahan Akbar, another Afghan women's rights activist and co-founder of Young Women for Change, earlier this year.

November 08 2013

Images propres, guerres sales

Irak, Libye, Mali : la communication des militaires en temps de guerre s'est professionnalisée. Les militaires veulent établir leurs règles du jeu. La consigne est de ne pas mentir, pour échapper aux accusations de manipulation et de désinformation. / Afghanistan, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), (...) / Afghanistan, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), France, Armée, Audiovisuel, Censure, Communication, Conflit, Défense, Désinformation, Information, Médias, Photographie, Presse, Mali, Infoguerre, Guerre d'Afghanistan 2001 - - 2013/10

November 04 2013

Rester en vie à Karachi

Si, depuis cinq ans, le Pakistan n'a connu aucune secousse politique ni coup d'Etat, la campagne pour les élections législatives du 11 mai prochain se déroule dans un climat de grande tension. A Karachi, les assassinats font désormais partie du quotidien. / Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, (...) / Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Criminalité, Économie, Élections, Immigrés, Islam, Minorité nationale, Pauvreté, Religion, Terrorisme, Ville, Violence, Fondamentalisme - 2013/04

October 11 2013

Afghan Netizens Debate Presidential Candidates

A total of 27 candidates have registered for Afghanistan's presidential elections, which will take place on April 5, 2014. Along with the warlords who have dominated Afghanistan's political space for decades, there are also a few technocrats running in next year's ballot. As language and ethnicity play crucial roles in Afghan politics, candidates have tended to select their two vice-presidential picks from different ethnic groups in order to increase their electability. Fawzia Koofi, a famous female politician, has withdrawn from the ballot, leaving only one female presidential candidate. 

October 6, 2013, was the last day of registration for the presidential nominees. The candidates were required to submit the names of their would-be-vice-presidents, 100,000 signatures of support for their nomination and $20,000. Candidates currently part of President Hamid Karzai's government have resigned from their posts. As soon a the list of the candidates became known, Afghans began to debate the candidates and their VP picks on Twitter:

Naseh (@Mann_Naseh) tweeted:

#Afghanistan opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah will certainly be in the #election run-off if he can't win outright.

Hafiz Hamim (@HJalalzai) took note of those who had resigned from their ministerial positions with the hope of claiming the presidency. 

Wahidullah Shahrani is among the three Afghan ministers who have resigned to run for 2014 presidential elections.


Candidate (@candidatepaw) added on Twitter: 

The Afghan Minister of Mines resigned today. He will be running as a Vice President for Qayom Karzai in the coming Presidential Elections.

While Ekram Shinwari (@EkramShinwari) flagged the participation of another Karzai regime heavyweight:

Gen.Abdul Rahim Wardak former Afghan defense minister also filled his nomination papers for running in upcoming presidential elections today.

The candidates’ files will be reviewed and approved by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and a final list will be announced by November 2013. Farzad Lami, an Afghan journalist and blogger, (@FarzadLameh) confirmed the number of candidates, tweeting:

27 candidates file nomination papers for #Afghanistan presidential elections scheduled for April 5th, 2014.

Prominent Candidates: 

  • Qayum Karzai: President Hamid Karzai's older brother, a former Afghan MP and presidential advisor who owns businesses in Baltimore, Maryland.

VP picks: Wahidullah Shahrani (former minister of mines from Uzbek ethnic group) and Ibrahim Qasemi (a lawmaker from the Hazara ethnic group).

VP picks: Mohammad Khan, Hezb-e Islami's deputy leader and Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, an MP, lawmaker and one of the recognized leaders of the Hazara ethnic group.

  • Abdul Rasul Sayyaf: Accused of war crimes himself, Abdul Rasul Sayyaaf has fought to enact a law granting amnesty to people accused of war crimes. He is also known as the man who brought Osama Bin Laden to Afghanistan. 

VP picks: Mohammad Ismail Khan, a former water and energy minister and Abdul Wahab Irfan, an Afghan senator.

  • Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai: President Hamid Karzai's top advisor, who placed fourth in the 2009 presidential election and is well-known among Westerners, especially in Washington. Ghani also consults for the World Bank.

VP picks: General Abdul Rashid Dostum (popular among ethnic Uzbeks) and Sarwar Danish, a former justice minister (supported by former ethnic Hazara warlord and vice president, Karim Khalili,). 

  • Zalmai Rassoul: Former foreign minister, popular in the West and supported by President Karzai.

Vice presidents: Ahmad Zia Massoud, brother of Ahmad Shah Massoud (ethnically Tajik) and Habiba Sarabi, Bamiyan's provincial governor (ethnically Hazara).


Karzai the elder, Sayyaf, Rassoul, Abdullah and Ghani are viewed as the strongest candidates in the 2014 vote. (Wiki commons photos remixed by author)

Karzai the elder, Sayyaf, Rassoul, Abdullah and Ghani are viewed as the strongest candidates in the 2014 vote. (Wiki commons photos remixed by author). 

Razaq Mamoon, an Afghan journalist and blogger, blogged [Dari] about Dr. Abdullah's incorrect choice of vice presidents. 

ائتلاف جمیعت اسلامی با بخش انشعابی حزب اسلامی، و یک بخش حزب وحدت اسلامی ( به رهبری آقای محقق) یک ائتلاف فوق العادهکم توان است وچانس پیروزی شان نیز کمتراز بیست وپنج درصد خواهد بود

Coalition of Hezb-e Islami and Hezb-e Wahdat (partially led by Mr. Muhaqiq) is an extremely weak alliance and its chance of winning might be less than 25%.

As Afghanistan's politics has long been associated with corruption and civil war, its politicians are commonly viewed as being either corrupt,  war criminals or both. Samira Hamidi (@HuriaSamira), disappointed with the lack of choices for 2014, posted on Twitter:

With the Presidential candidates all mixed faces of democrats and extremists, whom to trust and vote [for]??

Will the winner be an alleged war criminal?

Much netizen attention was focused on Abdul Rasul Sayyaf's controversial candidacy. Sayyaf, who has been blamed for the death of thousands and credited with training insurgents, may have trouble garnering sufficient support to win the vote, but will be able to fall back on his own constituency of hardcore conservatives.

Farzad Lami (@FarzadLameh) tweeted of Sayyaf's candidacy: 

The person who invited Osama to #Afghanistan is now running for president. 

A blogger, Shami Witness’ (@ShamiWitness) ironic tweet reads

Some more hilarity in #Afghanistan. Abdul Rasul Sayyaf going to run for the presidential elections.

Samira Hamidi (@HuriaSamira) echoed the ridicule:

What a joke! Sayyaf as a next #AFG President? We don't need Taliban, he is enough for making women's life miserable.

Subel Bhandari, a journalist covering Afghanistan and Pakistan, highlighted the fact that with candidates like Dr. Abdullah, who has the backing of highly-placed officials in the Karzai regime (Marshal Fahim and Ismael Khan), it will be difficult for Sayyaf to achieve victory. 

Momentum grows for Dr Abdullah. Marshal Fahim & Ismael Khan to support him for presidency … Puts Sayyaf out of picture.

NilofarMassoud (@NilofarMassoud), complaining about the process of candidate registration, tweeted:

What a crazy day in #Afghanistan with the presidential candidates registration for the #elections

Sayed Salahuddin (@sayedsalahuddin), referring to the ethnic balancing tactic, tweeted

afghan elections: sayaaf apparently wants to nominate for presidential bid & has picked up ismail khan & an uzbek as his two deputies. 

Massoud Hossaini (@Massoud151) tweeted about the only woman candidate running in the presidential race:

Mrs. Khadija Azizi registered her name as the first #Afghanistan female presidential #elections candidate. 24 persons registered till now. 

Fawzia Koofi, who was planning to run for presidency, changed her decision. In one of her tweets (@FawziaKoofi77) she stated:

and finally my team and I decided not to run in upcoming election due to many reasons,one the hectic political situation we prepare for 2018.

Also expressing her concern regarding the decline of female presence in the presidential elections, she tweeted:

Glad some candidates included women in their tickets, but still decline of women presence as comparing to 2009 elections.

International correspondent, Lucy Kafanov (@LucyKafanov) was concerned about the possibility of delays to the vote, tweeting:

Nominations for #Afghanistan‘s presidential elections close today, though it's still a question whether vote will take place as planned

Finally, disappointed by the lack of improvements in the country after the last presidential vote, Sayed Salahuddin (@sayedsalahuddin) tweeted:

afghan man says no enthusiasm to vote in coming presidential poll as “no voters expectations” were addressed in past elections 

This post is part of the GV Central Asia Interns Project at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

September 25 2013

Pour une analyse profane des conflits

Peut-on comprendre la guerre au Mali si l'on fait l'impasse sur la difficile survie des tribus qui peuplent le vaste désert du Sahara ? Que le drapeau des rebelles soit celui de l'islamisme radical ne change rien aux données profanes, économiques, sociales et politiques qui constituent le terreau (...) / Afghanistan, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), Iran, Israël, Palestine, Proche-Orient, Conflit, Géopolitique, Histoire, Idéologie, Islam, Relations Nord-Sud, Politique, Religion, Relations internationales, Conflit israélo-palestinien - 2013/02

September 19 2013

Au Mali, l'inusable refrain de la guerre au terrorisme

La guerre déclenchée par Paris au Mali le 11 janvier 2013 reçoit un soutien international d'autant plus mitigé que les objectifs fixés restent flous. Comme les Etats-Unis en Afghanistan, et faute d'une vision stratégique, la France risque de s'enliser dans de vastes zones désertiques propices à la (...) / Afghanistan, France, Armée, Guérilla, Islam, Pétrole, Terrorisme, Fondamentalisme, Mali, Sahel, Afrique de l'Ouest - 2013/02

August 29 2013

Home and Away : Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualties -

Home and Away : Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualties -

Cette infographie a reçu le 2012 award du site « information is biutiful »

Déjà signalé ici
par @odilon

C’est techniquement bien fait, je suis d’accord, une exploitation efficace de la base de données, mais sur le fond, je ne sais pas quoi en penser. Ou alors c’est très incomplet (photo et nom de chaque soldat de la coalition tombés au combat), et ça provoque un gros malaise : il faudrait en plus cartographier les morts civils. Ils sont mentionnés en introduction (more than 8 000 soldiers died in Irak and Afghanistan and thousands of civilians. ça sera la seule mention.

#visualisation #infographie #irak #afghanistan #cartographie #états-unis

August 15 2013

August 05 2013

From Afghanistan to Norway : Norway is Winning the Race | Flyktning i Norge پناهنده در ناروی

From Afghanistan to Norway: Norway is Winning the Race | Flyktning i Norge پناهنده در ناروی

via @cdb_77

Norway is winning the race of deporting Afghans back to Afghanistan despite the worsening security situation all around Afghanistan and especially Kabul. Another 6 people were deported from Norway and arrived in Kabul yesterday. Kabul has witnessed more than a dozen suicide attacks on the most important national and international offices in just the past couple of months.

#migrations #asile #norvège #afghanistan

July 30 2013

Al-Qaeda Backers Found With U.S. Contracts in Afghanistan - Bloomberg

#Al-Qaeda Backers Found With U.S. Contracts in #Afghanistan - Bloomberg

Supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been getting U.S. military contracts, and American officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, according to an independent agency monitoring spending.
The U.S. Army Suspension and Debarment Office has declined to act in 43 such cases, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said today in a letter accompanying a quarterly report to Congress.
Attachment: Inspector General’s Summary
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract,” Sopko said.

voilà qui devrait plaire à @nidal :)

July 25 2013

*Mazloom, une pièce théâtrale* ❝Mazloom is a portrait of a young refugee, Asef, alone in London,…

Mazloom, une pièce théâtrale

Mazloom is a portrait of a young refugee, Asef, alone in London, whose life is being torn apart by the impending prospect of deportation to Afghanistan.

The script came about as a result of an 8 month project run by Kieran Sheehan Dance Theatre in collaboration with Merton and Wandsworth Asylum Welcome. Sara Masters (writer) and Kieran Sheehan (director/choreographer) worked with a group of six young Afghan asylum seekers to create a piece of performance. This explored their experiences both before and after coming to the UK and their responses to turning 18 and losing their protection - their right to remain - in the UK.

Fearful of their fragile positions in the UK and terrified of what life would be for them in Afghanistan, Mazloom is an intimate portrayal of an isolated young man on the brink. This was workshopped and performed at The Old Vic Tunnels and went on to be seen at a variety of venues, raising awareness of the dangers unaccompanied asylum-seeking children face, as they turn 18.

Mazloom - having been further developed by the Media Arts and Drama departments of Royal Holloway, University of London, and with new film footage and sound track by film-maker Sue Clayton (Hamedullah: the Road Home) - is now going on a national tour. Playing the part of Asef is actor Priyank Morjaria.

The tour has been made possible through the financial support of RHUL, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, Dover Detainee Visitor Group and Kent Refugee Action Network.

Mazloom is touring as part of Young People Seeking Safety Week 2013, the third annual week of celebration and action of the YPSS network.

For more information, contact

#théâtre #spectacle #migration #réfugié #asile #Angleterre #Grande-Bretagne #Afghanistan #Londres

July 18 2013

*« Une expulsion collective vers l'Afghanistan se prépare », l'Office des étrangers dément*…

« Une #expulsion collective vers l’#Afghanistan se prépare », l’Office des #étrangers dément

#BRUXELLES - Quelques centaines d’#Afghans se sont rassemblés ce lundi matin dans l’église du Béguinage à Bruxelles. Ils craignent de faire l’objet d’une expulsion collective vers leur pays touché par la guerre.

#renvoi #migration

June 26 2013

Afghan Presidential Palace Targeted by the Taliban

An attack on the presidential palace in downtown Kabul on the morning of June 25 has terrified Afghans and cast a huge cloud over the future of negotiations between the government, the Taliban, and the United States. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. (more…)

June 22 2013

Retour sur l'expérience communiste en Afghanistan

En 1978, un mouvement communiste autonome prenait le pouvoir en Afghanistan. Indocile et divisé, il a précipité l'engagement de Moscou dans un conflit meurtrier. / Afghanistan, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), URSS, Communisme, Histoire, Islam, Fondamentalisme, Guerre d'Afghanistan 1979-1989 - (...) / Afghanistan, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), URSS, Communisme, Histoire, Islam, Fondamentalisme, Guerre d'Afghanistan 1979-1989 - 2012/08

June 20 2013

As Kabul Gets a Bomb Attack, the Taliban Gets an Office in Dubai

A suicide bomb explosion shook a western district of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 18, killing at least three and injuring more than twenty. The explosion took place shortly before the international coalition (ISAF) forces were due to officially transfer responsibility for security of the remaining districts of eastern and southern Afghanistan to the Afghan national security forces. As Afghans reeled from the news of the attack, the Taliban opened a smart new Headquarters in Qatar. (more…)

June 13 2013

Afghanistan's Elections: First Female President or a Family Affair?

The search for the next democratically elected president of Afghanistan is underway. Last fall, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) slated presidential elections for April 5, 2014. Voter registration started at the end of last month and will continue until two weeks before the day of the vote. Although a list of candidates is still yet to be finalized, some of the names expected on the ballot are already the source of intense discussion. (more…)

May 31 2013

Central Asia's ‘Weird, Sad’ World Records

As Turkmenistan celebrates a recent Guinness World Record award for the highest density of white marble buildings, Caravanistan writes about the “weird, sad, and revealing” world records held by other countries of Central Asia.

May 11 2013

Il était une fois l'Amérique

L'histoire de leur pays, ancienne et récente, inspire plus que jamais les cinéastes des Etats-Unis. Examiner les héros de leurs films, leur traitement, éclaire la façon dont se décline aujourd'hui la « légende » américaine. Novembre 1979 : dans Argo — de et avec Ben Affleck —, un agent de la Central (...) / Afghanistan, États-Unis, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), États-Unis (affaires intérieures), Iran, Pakistan, Audiovisuel, Cinéma, Conflit, Culture, Histoire, Services secrets, Terrorisme, Guerre civile, Guerre d'Afghanistan 2001 - - 2013/04
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