Stories written by Giuliano Battiston

Afghans Look Beyond Elections

With protests erupting Thursday over alleged voter fraud during Afghanistan’s first-ever democratic transfer of power, and presidential hopeful Abdullah Abdullah announcing his intention to boycott the electoral process, ordinary Afghans are beginning to despair that they will ever start to feel a sense of normalcy in their country, ravaged by years of civil war.

Afghanistan Turns a Political Corner

The Afghanistan presidential election is turning out to be a tale of two narratives. The more positive and democratic one could be winning the day.

Misgivings Rise Over Afghan Poll

“If Abdullah will become president, the will of [the] Afghan people will be respected. Otherwise – especially if Zalmai Rassoul will be indicated as the winner – a new conflict will start and our country will become more insecure.” The remark by Abdullah Abdullah supporter Qazi Sadullah Abu Aman is typical of the uncertainties and accusations rising as election day draws close on Saturday.

Afghans Set to Vote on Ethnic Lines

Ethnicities will come to the fore in the Afghan elections due Saturday this week, even though it appears that the young are beginning to break away from such loyalties.

Past Crimes Haunt Afghan Progress

As Afghanistan heads for presidential elections Apr. 5, people are asking if the country’s massive legacy of human rights violations will be swept under the carpet yet again by the new government.

Afghans Want Justice Before Elections

Will we get justice? That is the question many Afghans are asking as their war-ravaged country heads for presidential polls in April. For, the list of candidates includes several warlords who have been accused of heinous crimes and who are yet to be brought to justice.

When NATO Leaves Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s 30 million people are deeply divided over whether President Hamid Karzai should sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington that will allow U.S. military operations to continue in the conflict-ravaged country after NATO forces leave in 2014.

The Afghan Dead Find a List

“My relatives and I tried many times, again and again, to find out what happened to my father. I searched constantly for 35 years, without success. Just a few days ago, I found out from the ‘death list’ that my father had been executed.”

Afghan Families Want Accountability, Not Apologies

The dusty cemetery in Saracha village hosts three new graves: small hills of soil shielding the bodies of Sahebullah, Wasihullah and Amanullah, three of the five boys and young men killed by an ISAF-NATO airstrike on late Friday, Oct. 4.

Afghans Caught Between Terror and Corruption

The threat to the stability of the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan arises not so much from outside as from within. And the one thing that is eating into its edifice is the malaise called corruption.

Afghanistan Faces New Uncertainties

What happens after 2014? That is the question people on Afghanistan’s streets are asking as the deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops draws near.

Civil Society Fears Taliban Return

While United States President Barack Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai scramble to solidify a peace process ahead of the 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, fears that the Taliban will use the drawdown to seize power hang like a dark cloud over civil society.

Culture Becomes Latest Front in Afghanistan’s War

Another kind of war, less explosive than bombs and more subtle than night raids, is taking place in the Central Asian country of Afghanistan: a war of cultural influence. Its means are financial sponsorships and other support for cultural and artistic events.

Peace in Afghanistan, the Civil Society Way

More than a decade after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan is still in the midst of an irregular war. Talking peace is difficult because no one quite knows who to talk to.

To Aid Afghanistan, Offer Less Aid

It is customary to focus on the amount of money the international community offers Afghanistan: the higher the sum and the longer the commitment, the lower the risk of further destabilisation. And so the 16 billion dollars pledged by the donors for the next four years at the Tokyo conference earlier this month has been widely welcomed. But such aid may not be quite the virtue it seems.

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