Yearly Archives: 2015

Landai Season: a delicacy and a feast in rural Afghanistan

Many find the arrival of fall and the beginning of winter depressing, but Landai, a traditional food feast in Afghanistan, makes the season something to look forward to. In certain ways, the anticipation of Landai can be compared to the way people around the world prepare for Christmas, with happiness; with one major difference, that […]

Why capturing Helmand is top of the Taleban’s strategic goals

Helmand, in southern Afghanistan, is a strategic goal for the Taleban, who have launched more attacks there than in any other province of Afghanistan this year, making a slow pincer movement towards the provincial capital, Lashkargah. The lure of Helmand goes beyond its opium economy, with the Taleban pursuing a long-term strategy to expand their reach into the […]

Political Cleavages over Pakistan: The NDS chief’s farewell

Rahmatullah Nabil, the chief of the country’s intelligence service, submitted his resignation on 10 December 2015. This now leaves two of the Afghan government’s four major security positions filled by acting officials (the second vacancy, for more than a year, is the defence minister’s position). Nabil’s position had presumably become untenable, after he publicly criticised […]

Afghanistan Breaking Bad: Crystal meth, a new drug on the market

The first methamphetamine seizure in Afghanistan was recorded in 2008, a minor capture of four grams in Helmand province. Now, seven years later, some 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘crystal meth’, were seized in the first ten months of 2015, in 14 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics warned […]

Before the Paris Conference: The state of Afghanistan’s climate and its adaption capability

Climate change is already having a severe impact on Afghans’ daily lives – but this challenge is often over-shadowed by what seem to be more-urgent problems: war and the economic crisis. Therefore, the reports submitted by the Afghan government for the Paris climate conference starting today, 30 November 2015 (and President Ashraf Ghani speaking in […]

Ripping Up the Rule Book? US investigation into the MSF hospital attack

The commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, has said the deadly air strike on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz in the early hours of 3 October 2015 was “a direct result of avoidable human error compounded by process and equipment failures.” The US military investigation, moreover, found […]

Toward Fragmentation? Mapping the post-Omar Taleban

The Taleban movement has entered its third decade with infighting threatening its – up till now ­– remarkable unity. The killing of Mansur Dadullah during clashes between Taleban factions in Zabul on 12 November 2015 highlighted the scope of this unprecedented discord. Dadullah had been deputy leader of a newly-formed, breakaway faction of the Taleban. […]