around the money he makes from customs taxes, his withdrawal from the presidential race in 2009 has also proved particularly contentious. It was widely thought that he had made a deal with Karzai in exchange for another post in government. The governor’s interference in property disputes in the land-poor province are also the source of significant contention.
In response to these issues, 13 PC members have formed an anti-Sherzai bloc, and apparently criticise him on many issues including trade, reconstruction and land disputes. Unlike in other provinces, the Nangarhar PC is an influential body and commands a certain respect among the people. For this reason, the delay in PC results in 2009—and the perceived altering of these results in between the polling station and the announcement of official results—was extremely significant in its effect on local politics.
Ghazni Province is situated in the centre of Afghanistan, to the southwest of Kabul. The provincial centre of Ghazni City is under- resourced, with little electricity and few essential services. This pattern is reflected across the province, which has limited access to education and healthcare facilities.48 The province is ethnically diverse, with large Pashtun and Hazara populations and a small minority of Tajiks. Ethnic tension is generally low, but the increasing levels of insurgent activity in the province have led to the further segregation of different groups and a pervasive sense of insecurity in most areas of the province. One Wolesi Jirga candidate was killed in Qarabagh District, apparently by Taliban, six weeks before the 2010 parliamentary election.49
Power is centred in the hands of commanders and political factions in Ghazni. Current Governor
48 Government of Afghanistan, “Provincial Development Plan: Ghazni Provincial Profile” (Kabul: Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, 2008).
asp?lng=eng&id=99816 (accessed 21 April, 2011).
Deconstructing “Democracy” in Afghanistan
Faizanullah Faizan is a former Hizb-i-Islami commander who espouses a policy of inclusion, making public overtures to the Taliban and mujahiddin to join the reconciliation process of the Karzai government. However, this has led to suspicions that he is taking money from a number of different sources and may even be facilitating some of the insecurity in the province. The Taliban also have a considerable influence over some parts of the province, most notably in rural areas. While they seem to enjoy a substantial degree of support, reports of Taliban coercion and intimidation of the local population are not uncommon, and they regularly use communities as bases for raids on ISAF or government forces
Given this level of insecurity, it is interesting that the institutions of government exist and to some degree function in Ghazni. In 2010, 11 Wolesi Jirga members were still in post after a five-year term, and in the parliamentary elections of the same year 84 people contested these positions. Between 2005 and 2010, five of the 11 Ghazni representatives were Hazara, reflecting quite accurately their percentage of the population in Ghazni, although not necessarily the perceived structure of power between ethnic groups. However, in the 2011 elections, Hazara MPs secured all 11 seats. This was party due to insurgent groups’ apparently successful attempts to boycott (or at least scare people into avoiding) elections in Pashtun areas, and was the subject of considerable political debate in the months
following the election.
Situated on the border with Iran, Nimroz is the most remote of all the provinces studied for this project. Its huge geographical area contrasts with a tiny population, though refugees returning from Iran have contributed to significant growth in recent years. Ethnically the province is diverse: Pashtun, Baluch, Tajik and Barahawi communities form the bulk of the population, and tension between these groups is minimal. Economically, the province is dependent on Iran with cross-border trade making up most