Author Archives: Martine van Bijlert

About Martine van Bijlert

Khas Uruzgan violence and ISAF press releases

About ten days ago I received news of a nightly ALP raid in Khas Uruzgan, that had resulted in one death, four detainees, several severe beatings, some plunder and a fair amount of local anger. So when I spotted an ISAF press release about a meeting in the district, I assumed it was related to […]

The IMF, Kabul Bank, government salaries and transition (updated)

The IMF and the Afghan government failed to reach an agreement last week on how to deal with the Kabul Bank crisis. The long-simmering controversy, which began months ago, is starting to have far-reaching consequences both for the cash-flow of the Afghan government and for the possible nature of the transition, as donors are making […]

What the US Senate’s report on Afghanistan does and doesn’t say

Last week the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations released its evaluation of US foreign assistance to Afghanistan. The report received a lot of attention, mainly as a result of the power and urgency of its message: that much of US assistance is expensive, unsustainable and based on shaky premises. These issues warrant all the […]

Afghanistan’s Parliament or How to Hold on to Your Seat

Parliament has decided to postpone its regular recess. It was supposed to start today, but the Parliamentarians just don’t want to go yet. They spent most of their last session discussing how they hadn’t properly started their work and how they wouldn’t be able to face their constituents if they went home. And that they […]

The Killing Continues – the Taloqan attack (Updated)

The impact of yesterday’s suicide attack in Takhar, which killed the police commander of the northern zone General Daud and six others, is wide ranging. The international security forces and those counting on a smooth transition have lost an important partner. The Jamiat-based networks have lost a battlefield commander. The (northern) youth have lost a […]

The Afghan War without Osama – seven boiled-down thoughts

So what to add to the cacophony of opinion and analysis that has already filled the airwaves and the internet? Some thoughts, boiled down to their very basic bottom-line. I don’t think the death of bin Laden will directly impact the fighting capabilities of any of the parties engaged in the war in Afghanistan. I […]

The Ongoing Saga of the Parliament and the Special Court

Seven months after the Wolesi Jirga vote, and three months after the inauguration of Parliament, MPs are still not sure who will finally be declared the winners and losers of the election. Rumours surrounding the investigations by the Special Court have been wildly contradictory and have kept them on edge. It is a perfect example […]

The Survival of the Private Security Companies

“As we move towards the transition process, all foreign parallel functions and institutions including private security firms, the PRTs, existence of the militias, detention of Afghan citizens by foreign forces and arbitrary house searches must stop immediately.” – Karzai’s speech on 23 March 2011, announcing the first phase of the Enteqal process. There are a […]

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