Author Archives: Thomas Ruttig

About Thomas Ruttig

Direct US-Taleban talks and the Bonn 2 conference (amended)

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the US have ‘speeded up’ direct talks with the Taleban. According to this report, such talks have been ‘initiated several months ago’ and that ‘at least three meetings in Qatar and Germany, one as recently as “eight or nine days ago,” with a Taliban official considered close to […]

Al-Qaeda headless – Taleban unaltered

The symbiotic relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taleban had been over-emphasised. Therefore, the impact on them by OBL’s death will remain limited, argues AAN’s Thomas Ruttig – in part 2 of a series of still raw thoughts on the Abbottabad raid. ‘Bin Laden had mostly taken on a symbolic role and his removal doesn’t directly […]

The Easter Egg Question in the Light of Orientalism

This (Easter Sunday) morning I was listening to my local German radio station where an expert on religion was explaining how certain ‘European’ Easter traditions – like painting and hiding eggs for children – were increasingly adopted elsewhere. He linked this to the spread of television and children’s books and opined that ‘a majority of […]

One Week in Vain: An operation in Nerkh

In March, US troops carried out an operation to secure the volatile district of Nerkh, just south of Kabul. They thought it will take them less than a week to bring ‘visible improvements’, establish a couple of shuras and ‘local police’. A Spanish journalist witnessed this operation and found that nothing of this finally materialised […]

Smoke signals about a new Afghan cabinet in the making

Kabul’s rumour mill is up to speed again on the issue of a possible – and necessary – cabinet reshuffle. President Karzai has for months been working with a rump cabinet with seven acting ministers. It has now been confirmed from within the parliament that four names have been submitted for a new vote, all […]

The Dead of Mazar

Today, our thoughts are with the UN colleagues who were killed in Mazar-e Sharif yesterday and also with the Afghans killed there(*), not knowing whether they had just been using their constitutional right to demonstrate or indeed had murder in their hearts. And we hope that Pastor Jones in Gainesville, Florida, had a sleepless night, […]

Flash to the Past: An Alternative to the Taleban?

A former Pakistani general pulled new strings in Afghanistan’s conflict in the summer of 2000, trying to set up a Pakistani-controlled ‘anti’ or ‘neo-Taleban’ force. It was to get rid of the increasingly discredited Mulla Omar, safeguard the alliance with the US – and Pakistan’s influence on Afghanistan. The plan failed, or was abandoned – […]

White mountains, White City

On his first day in Kabul again after some time in Europe, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig finds spring scents and dust on the tongue in the Afghan capital, and the two universes – that of Afghans and that of the expat community – fully intact: one picknicking, the other one in ‘White City’ lock-down. Back to […]

It Needs Two to Talk: Reading the Century Foundation report

Today, the US-based Century Foundation (TCF) came out with a comprehensive report containing a set of proposals on ‘Negotiating Peace’ in Afghanistan. It is not the first – and won’t be the last – paper of this kind but, with Brahimi and Pickering as co-chairs of this Task Force and Vendrell, Guehenno and others on […]

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