Attah Mohammed Noor, one of Abdullah’s leading allies and a divisive figure in the Afghan political scene, has warned of an impending “civil uprising” should the results of the ongoing recount of votes cast in Afghanistan’s elections go against Abdullah. Noor, who has previously acted as governor of the influential northern province of Balkh and as the leader of anti-Soviet militia, had been thought to have fled Afghanistan due to pressures placed on him during the election recount, though his recent appearance in Kabul was preceded by a statement declaring his absence to be due to medical treatment the Afghan politician sought abroad.
Statements made by Noor come on the heels of declarations released by Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah’s chief rival, refuting the proposed “unity government” in Afghanistan and stating that there can only be one leader of Afghanistan. Both announcements bode poorly for an Afghanistan already in dire straits due to Taliban resurgences throughout the southwestern part of the country, and increasing violence in non-traditional Taliban attack points, such as in Herat and in protected areas of Kabul. The Afghan government has made progress recently by completing a large-scale infrastructure project with the Asian Development Bank, but it will remain to be seen whether or not the results of the recount lead to the country’s first ever peaceful transition of power, or if will devolve into an armed struggle that cuts the country in two.
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- Fears of a direct confrontation between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries were stirred yesterday as the convoy approached separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, stated emphatically that “any attempt to introduce any convoy without the permission of Ukraine would be considered an act of open aggression.” The convoy is composed of 260 trucks, purported to be carrying humanitarian aid – and stopped just short of the Ukrainian border near the town of Kamensk Shakhtinsky. Updated: Reporting from Bloomberg and the WSJ says that Andriy Lysenko has announced that Ukrainian troops attacked and partially destroyed part of the armed aid convoy from Russia that was set to be crossing the border today. Details are sparse, but the WSJ reports that Ukrainian artillery destroyed part of the column and President Poroshenko provided confirmation in a phone conversation with British Prime Minister David Cameron. We would like to stress that as of yet, these reports are uncertain.
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is coming to Kazakhstan on his first official visit next month, according to a statement from the office of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He further noted that economic and political ties between the two countries have been steadily increasing every year – referring to the upcoming launch of the Kazakhstan-Turkemnistan-Iran railway, as well as ongoing maritime agreements in the Caspian Sea.
- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is visiting Turkmenistan in the autumn, reports Tengrinews. He will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, who recently arrived in Astana for an official visit for the first time. Issues on the agenda to be discussed are transportation/logistics, and regional dilemmas.
- Tajikistan plans to increase up its fruit and vegetable exports to fill supply gaps in the Russian market due to the import ban on food related goods from the United States and European Union. Local government officials said that produce shipments would increase up to five times over. With most of Russia’s food being imported, it has been scrambling for alternative bread baskets and sources of food from elsewhere in the world, including its own backyard in Central Asia, as well as Latin America.
- Outgoing President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai stated ominously on Thursday that a new government with a new president would be installed within the next two weeks. Karzai was confident that election results should be released as per the schedule that was decided when Mr. Kerry brokered a deal to audit all 8.1 million votes cast in the June runoff election. The statement came during a joint commission comprised of candidates Abdullah Abduallh and Ashraf Ghani, the first meeting to discuss the formation of a unity government.
- A South Korea cotton distribution company, Daewoo, admitted that its cotton is produced by child and forced adult labor in Uzbekistan. The company has said it has asked the government to cease the practice, but indicated they have no plans to stop purchasing cotton. The human rights activist network called the Cotton Campaign has crafted a media expose that has garnered several other followers such as anti-slavery group Walk Free and Advocates for Public Interest Law. The Uzbek embassy in Seoul, like the rest of the Uzbek government, has been completely silent thus far on the matter.