Context & Culture

Flamingo Watching in Dubai

‘Listen to the birds. That’s where all the music comes from.’ (The first of Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing) ‘If you can’t listen to them, watch them at least. It gives you some peace of mind after watching the war.’ (AAN Senior Birdwatcher Thomas Ruttig) No, the Emirates are not only megahigh-rises, never-ending […]

What comes after remembering? Some thoughts after National Victims Day in Afghanistan

There are days when Afghanistan’s sadness becomes overwhelming. For us, the Afghan National Victims’ Day was such a day. AAN Senior Analyst Sari Kouvo and Political Researcher Obaid Ali participated in the Afghan National Victims’ Day demonstration and commemoration. Around forty women and men have already gathered when we early Friday morning arrived at Kabul’s […]

The Muhammad Omar everybody should listen to

In this Pashto Mashto blog, Fabrizio Foschini goes for a stroll in Kabul’s musical scene, according to his own, rather personal experience of it. I have always been a lazy student. When, on some Fridays, my ustad wakes me up shouting over the phone ‘Ahmad where the hell are you? Come, and today don’t bring your rubab! […]

Afghan Government Declares Kabul Smog Holiday

From tomorrow, 1 December, until the end of the Afghan year (20 March), Kabul will enjoy a proper, two-day weekend. Every Thursday, government offices will be closed and workers asked to stay at home. But it is not a social achievement – it is a smog-induced extra holiday, an attempt to give this polluted city […]

Nine Years and Fifty Days

Unfortunately, I do not have much time to follow the Afghan press – and even less the many Afghan TV and radio stations. But it is worth tuning in – and if it is only to be reminded of a historical coincidence. So, here a few impressions on what I picked up over the past […]

Giving Thanks on Black Friday

Parental advisory: Attention, attention! The following blog is satirical. People without a sense of humour are strongly advised to stop reading here. Thank you to Imroz TV for displaying the moral rottenness of the West through its misidentification of one previously unknown individual as a representative of the world community. Thank you to Mark Sedwill […]

Five Things Worth Watching

In early November several of AAN’s analysts and members gathered in Stockholm, to brainstorm, exchange ideas and participate in the annual SCA conference. We started the discussions by doing a quick round, asking everyone what the one or two issues were that are likely to be central, or that should not be forgotten, as we […]

Birding for Survival

Our Dutch ex-soldier-cum-birdwatcher HG Scheltema from Kandahar (see his bird list here(*) has a friend, a US National Guardsman from Connecticut who served in Iraq for a year in 2004/05: Birding Babylon. His name is Jonathan Trouern-Trend who wrote a blog on his bird-watching (see it here, it seems to be continued by other bloggers). Meanwhile, […]

Flash to the Past: Missed Opportunities for Reconciliation

Our guest author Anand Gopal (*) looks back how chances for integrating Taleban into Afghanistan’s past-2001 political system were squandered and how the alienation of leading former commanders in Kandahar became a key motivating factor in sparking the insurgency. Therefore, the original article had the following sub-line: ‘The Victor’s Hubris and the Failure of Reconciliation’. […]

Who wants peace, needs to get serious about justice

The current ineffectiveness in Afghanistan’s justice sector is a legacy of three decades of war and factionalism but not of an historical absence of a formal system of independent adjudication of disputes through courts of law. That it has not been rebuilt, is less due to an inherent inability but to a lack of political […]

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