Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle

31 July 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”

In the Aftermath of Karzai: Any Improvement for Women and their Rights in Afghanistan?

June 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

Today, one must state that most women in Afghanistan find themselves in a similar repressive situation as during the Taliban regime. Besides some initial positive developments in the fields of education, political participation, health care and employment thanks to the armed intervention of the international community, not many aspects have improved in a substantial manner for most Afghan women and girls. According to several observers and human rights organisations, women in Afghanistan continue to be among the worst off within and beyond South Asia. Despite relevant commitments of the former Karzai government, women are facing all kinds of social atrocities, political limitations and sufferings from traditional practices, which are neither in line with the Afghan constitution, nor with national and international laws. The situation further deteriorated after the withdrawal of the bulk of international troops, which paved the path for the comeback of the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalist groups, as well as the growing influence of religious clerics within the Afghan state and society. Having this in mind, the article attempts to shed some light on the most significant trajectories contributing to the worsening of the status of Afghan women. Continue reading “In the Aftermath of Karzai: Any Improvement for Women and their Rights in Afghanistan?”

Constitutional Assembly Elections in Nepal 2013: Some Pre-Poll Reflections

14 November 2013; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Source: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium.

Having witnessed decades of political imbroglio, Nepal is once again set to go to the polls on November 19. After 2008, it will be the second time that the electorate has to cast their ballots for a Constitutional Assembly (CA) – the country’s national parliament. However, instead of gleefully looking forward to what is meant to be a ‘feast of democracy’, sentiments of concern prevail among Nepalese and international observers. On the face of it this might seem odd because the call for an election is the logical next step now that a new constitution has been drafted. What is more, this constitution provides for higher empowerment of the people and a more stringent observance of the rule of law, which is a crucial prerequisite for national stability. However, as the polling day approaches the political situation in the country is turning increasingly murky.

Source: Deutsche Welle

Continue reading “Constitutional Assembly Elections in Nepal 2013: Some Pre-Poll Reflections”