Yearly Archives: 2012

Qatar, Islamabad, Chantilly, Ashgabad: Taleban Talks Season Again? (amended)

There has again been movement in the positions marking the landscape of ‘reconciliation’ or, more precisely, of contacts and possible negotiations with the Taleban seem to be moving again. A track II meeting, labelled as ‘intra-Afghan’ talks, was held in France and, before that, the so-called ‘HPC roadmap’ leaked, indicating a more active role of […]

The ‘Afghanistan 1400’ Movement: Changing Youth Politics in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan 1400, a new civic-political youth organisation, recently declared its existence in what is, in practice, a scattered and largely manipulated youth landscape in Afghanistan. Established by a number of highly educated and diverse young people, the group pursues an ambitious and forward-looking agenda of contributing to the emergence of a ‘prosperous and democratic Afghanistan’ […]

The Refugees and the Christmas Tree: Afghan Asylum Seekers Protest in Berlin

German asylum law has been under fire from human rights campaigners for years, for what its critics call the unfair limitations imposed on refugees. Only in July this year, the German Constitutional Court threw out the German government’s current provisions for social services for refugees as ‘evidently insufficient’ and unconstitutional because they are under the […]

Protecting Freedom at the Hindukush: Source of Famous Afghanistan Quote Dies

On Wednesday, former German defence minister Peter Struck died, he who coined the controversial sentence that Germany’s security needs to be defended even ‘at the Hindukush’. Almost no other statement has shaped the Afghanistan-related discussion in Germany like this one. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig looks back at this debate and finds it being more of a […]

A Potential Afghan Spill-Over: How Real Are Central Asian Fears?

Afghanistan is bracing itself for its transition. Most foreign troops will be gone by 2014 and Afghanistan’s already controversial elections have been fixed for early April that year while peace with the armed opposition remains elusive. Afghan domestic politics aside, how is the transition in Afghanistan perceived in its northern neighbourhood, which is under-explored, compared […]

Transfers and Torture: The British Army halts transfers of detainees to the NDS

President Karzai has warned British forces that they must hand detainees over and may not hold any detainees themselves. The warning follows a British government decision to stop all transfers after a former UK detainee, Sardar Mohammed, challenged their legality, given the risk of torture by the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS). Sardar Mohammed […]

No More Complaints? The ECC’s Uncertain Fate

The cabinet of ministers is finally sending its draft electoral law to parliament, and a preview of its content is already proving a bombshell. According to the draft, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is to be replaced by a special court appointed by the Supreme Court. Waiting to see what the future of the ECC […]

After the Executions: What approach to the death penalty?

After the execution of 14 prisoners last week, Afghan civil society has rightly ridiculed the Taleban who demanded an end to executions. But it has not taken up the question of the death penalty in Afghanistan in general. Capital punishment is legal under both the Afghan penal code and sharia. Even so, the well-known problems […]

New Commissioners for Human Rights: An End to the Standstill, or an End to Human Rights? [Amended]

A reshuffle of the commissioners of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) seems to be moving closer. However, the criteria along which new candidates are chosen remain unclear and subject to (factional) politicking. There is a grave danger that human rights concerns will fall victim to these unrelated considerations. At least four new appointments […]

The Rise and Fall of the Kabul Bank – making the details public

Much has been written about the Kabul Bank crisis. A series of confidential investigations and audits have described the legal violations and technical processes involved in the bank management’s fraudulent operations, and most of these reports were fairly widely leaked. Media appearances by the various protagonists and representatives of government institutions involved in the follow-up […]