Yearly Archives: 2011

Ashura Attacks (3): A new type of violence in Afghanistan

One of the last taboos of violence in Afghanistan was broken by yesterday’s suicide attacks on the Ashura commemoration in Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif. Historically, sectarian tensions or conflicts have occasionally been seen in Afghanistan, but they have usually been stirred up and leveraged by politics or war. Sectarian hatred has never enjoyed public recognition […]

Ashura Attacks 2: Flash from the Past, Ashura 2002 (amended)

The bombs which ripped through Ashura processions in Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif and likely targeted – futilely – a ceremony in Kandahar killed dozens, raising the spectre of sectarianism in Afghanistan. Every year since 2001, says Kate Clark, the Ashura ceremonies have become larger and more public as the Afghanistan’s Shi’a communities have grown in […]

Ashura Attacks (1): Playing with Fire

Attacks have targeted Shi’as in two of Afghanistan’s major cities as they gathered for Ashura, to lament the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and members of his family in Iraq in 680 AD. The attack in Kabul was particularly serious and left dozens dead. Such violence is a new phenomenon, says Kate Clark, deeply troubling and […]

AAN Live: Reading between the lines of Bonn 2

The Bonn 2 conference was huge – with 100 delegations, it was quantitatively the biggest ever on Afghanistan. Yet expectations had grown progressively more limited over the past few months and the speeches, this morning, from the main protagonists delivered few surprises. President Karzai was particularly bland, repeating again his ‘continued’ commitment to fighting corruption […]

From Bonn 1 to Bonn 2: Afghanistan’s missed opportunities

Francesc Vendrell, served in Afghanistan as both the Personal Representative the UN Secretary-General and the EU Special Representative. He looks back on the past decade, describing the pre-Bonn attempts at a political settlement, the first Bonn conference and the opportunities that were missed since then. Prolonged conflicts are particularly difficult to resolve, often depending on […]

Afghan Civil Society Forum in Bonn (2): A Day of Messaging

The discussion about a possible peace process that would include the Taleban dominated the discussions on day 2 of the Afghan Civil Society Forum in Bonn on Saturday. While it became obvious that the Afghan organisations still have to do some homework, they professionally reacted to a smear campaign at home declaring that they do […]

Afghan Civil Society Forum in Bonn (1): Occupy the JCMB?

The tone makes the music, we say here in Germany – ie: it is not only what you say but how you say it. Despite plenty of efforts by the organisers, four German political foundations, to make the 34 elected Afghan delegates to the Bonn Civil Society Forum feel comfortable there were a number of […]

The New National Front: A Dark Horse Returns – with Three Riders

Two months after the death of Burhanuddin Rabbani, his old coalition, the National Front of Afghanistan (Jebha-ye Melli Afghanistan), has been revived. The new grouping is calling for radical political reform in order, as they see it, to re-enfranchise the Afghan voter. They want decentralization,a proportional voting system and a prime minister. At the same […]

The Thin Red Durand Line

The air-strikes that hit two Pakistani check-posts on the border between Mohmand Agency and Kunar province, killing 24 (some sources still report 25 or 26) Pakistani security forces and injuring a dozen more, have triggered, as expected, a strong reaction from the Pakistani authorities. As of now, Pakistan, ISAF and the Afghan military have very […]