Afghanistan. While Afghanistan went politically in the right direction in 2005, the security situation deteriorated significantly. The country seemed to consist of two unrelated realities. In September, general elections were held for a new parliament and local councils in the 34 provinces. As no party lists existed, there was great uncertainty about what many of the approximately 5,800 candidates stood for. There were strong suspicions that several of those elected to the various congregations were connected to militias or narcotics. According to countryaah, Kabul is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Afghanistan. The absence of party groupings was also feared to lead to fragmented and difficult-to-manage congregations. One positive side of the election process was that women were guaranteed just over a quarter of the seats and that more than that were elected by their own power. Earlier this year, Habiba Sarabi had written history by becoming Afghanistan’s first female provincial chief when she was appointed governor of Bamian. However, the interest in the election was rather weak; only about 53% of voters participated. The election process ended in November when the 34 provincial assemblies appointed members of a newly created Senate.
In April, the government presented a budget that was financed by foreign aid to 9%. Of that proportion, about 75% were completely controlled by foreign organizations. The government requested, until now in vain, that a larger part of the development projects should be handled by domestic companies, as several foreign organizations were suspected of engaging in unfair competition by virtue of tax and duty exemption.
The United States and other Western countries have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against drugs. The cultivated area for opium also declined by close to one-fifth, but due to favorable weather conditions, production decreased by only a few percent.
On a visit to Washington in May, President Hamid Karzai signed a “strategic partnership” agreement, which secured the United States long-term control over a number of Afghan military bases and free hands to wage the “war on terror” at its discretion. Karzai’s request that the US troops be placed under Afghan command was resolutely rejected. Despite the government’s close ties to the United States, no warmer feelings toward Americans prevailed among the population. That two American soldiers escaped with 2-3 months imprisonment for the mistreatment of two arrested Afghans caused anger, as well as information on violations of the Koran at the US Guant芍namo base in Cuba. The opposition to the United States prompted President Karzai to appeal for fewer bombs and house searches in the search for terrorists.
During the year, Taliban and other resistance movements were increasingly successful in their attacks and also carried out several suicide attacks. The year became the bloodiest since 2001 with over 1,400 deaths, of which about 90 are Americans.
The NATO-led international peacekeeping force ISAF decided to expand its force and take over some of the tasks from the United States, so that the US troops could concentrate more on the terrorist hunt. Among other things, ISAF was expected to expand its operations to several provinces in the south. Sweden also took on a greater burden. Sweden takes over the command of the ISAF company in Mazar-e Sharif in early 2006, expanding its squad from about 90 men to nearly 200, with the possibility of further reinforcement. The Swedish effort came in the eye of the public in November, when two Swedish soldiers were killed in a blast attack in Mazar-e Sharif.
In November, Afghanistan joined the South Asian Cooperation Organization SAARC.
Several murders of journalists and activists
A wave of murders aimed at well-known journalists and human rights activists sweeps across parts of the country. On December 24, 29-year-old women’s rights activist Freshta Kohistani was shot dead north of Kabul by unknown perpetrators passing by on a motorcycle. Kohistani’s brother is killed in the same attack. A day earlier, the pro-democracy advocate Mohammad Yousuf Rashid was shot dead in the capital along with his driver. Rashid was the head of an independent election observation organization. The murders follow a pattern seen in recent weeks when a number of reputable activists were murdered in the middle of the day. That same week, the well-known Afghan journalist Rahmatullah Nekzad was shot dead on his way to the mosque in the eastern city of Ghazni. It was the fourth journalist murder in two months and the seventh media worker to be murdered in 2020.
Many killed in fighting in Kandahar
13th of December
During the night, Taliban fighters attack several military posts in the southern province of Kandahar. According to the government, about 50 Taliban are killed in the fighting that is raging around the city of Kandahar. It is not clear how many government soldiers are killed. Both ground troops and fighter jets are involved in the fighting. The province of Kandahar is one of the strongest strongholds of the Taliban. The resistance movement has recently made similar offensives in the neighboring province of Helmand.
Railway between Iran and Afghanistan inaugurated
Tons of agricultural products are in the cargo when a railway line between Iran and Afghanistan opens. The line between Khaf in Iran and Rozanak in Afghanistan is the countries’ first joint and it will carry both passenger trains and freight trains. The route measures 150 km, but it will eventually be expanded to Herat, Afghanistan’s third largest city. The goal is also a further extension to railway networks in Central Asia and China.
Female news anchor murdered
Journalist and women’s rights activist Malalai Maiwand is murdered along with her driver when their car is shot at by unknown perpetrators in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, reports Enekaa’s TV for which Maiwand worked. Violence between the military and the Taliban has escalated in Jalalabad and the surrounding area in recent months, but the Islamic State (IS) is also active there. In November, Aliyas Dayi was killed on Radio Liberty by a car bomb in Lashkar Gah. In the same month, former TV presenter Yama Saiwash was killed in a similar car bomb in Kabul. Murder of journalists, religious leaders, politicians and human rights activists has become more common during the recent wave of violence in Afghanistan.
Sluggish government formation
Parliament’s lower house approves 20 of the 25 people nominated by President Ghani for his new government. The approvals come over a year after the presidential election and almost nine months after Ghani’s inauguration as president. It has been seven months since Ghani and Abdullkah agreed on the prevailing division of power between them.
The High Council for National Reconciliation is inaugurated
The High Council for National Reconciliation, chaired by Abdullah Abdullah, is formally inaugurated following pressure from the outside world. The Council’s task is to lead the negotiations with the Taliban.
The forms for the peace talks are clear
After months of negotiations, the Afghan government and the Taliban agree on the principles and forms of peace talks between them. The highest priority will now be to achieve a long-term ceasefire.