Int. Engagement

The End of the Affair? Taleban Suspend Talks

The Taleban have announced that they are suspending talks with the Americans, only six weeks after the opening of their political office in Qatar. In a statement, they described the US approach as ‘shaky, erratic and vague’ and accused the Americans of breaching a memorandum of understanding which had been previously arrived at. This decision […]

The Kandahar Killing: With friends like this… (amended)

After the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier in Kandahar province, Western military and political officials have – duly – apologised again but also called the incident ‘rogue’, a ‘first time’ or a ‘completely out-of-the-ordinary’ event. Thomas Ruttig, a Senior Analyst at AAN, wonders whether this is the case or whether it […]

Guest Blog: The Quran burnings and the German retreat from Taloqan

German authorities announced on Friday, the third day of the Quran burning protests, that they have closed their ISAF base in Taloqan several weeks earlier than planned in response to the protests. Originally, the base had been slated for closure in March. This decision shows the limitations of the assumed international control of particular areas […]

Guest Blog: Karzai and the ‘Imran Khan Factor’ in Pakistan

There is little understanding of Pakistan and its internal dynamics in Afghanistan. A recent example is the visit of President Hamed Karzai to Pakistan last week, during which he met with Pakistani leaders – not only those from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) but also a number of other prominent politicians: the leaders of […]

Talks on Two Channels? The Qatar office and Karzai’s Saudi option

The latest reports about developments on reconciliation – or better: talks with insurgent groups, both with the Taleban and Hezb-e Islami* – have been rather contradictory. Or haven’t they? The main insight from these reports, is that President Karzai has only rhetorically bowed to the unilateral US/German thrust to establish a Taleban liaison office in […]

A Katanga Scenario for Afghanistan? (amended)

When former Northern Alliance leaders met with a group of influential US congressmen and businessmen in Berlin in early January, the meeting made a lot of waves in Kabul, because it created the impression that a broad anti-Karzai alliance was in the making and that it had started to muster support in the US. Furthermore, […]

A Year-Ender: The Dummies’ Guide to the Geneva Conventions

While the Taleban have been stepping up their assassination campaign in the past year, another worrying development occurred: There were several cases of international forces, Special Forces in particular, entering NGO-run clinics on pursuit of alleged insurgents, bullying medical staff for treating insurgents or using clinics temporarily as bases. This clearly violates the Geneva Conventions. […]

An Address for the Taleban in Qatar

The much heralded Taleban office in a third country seems finally about to be opened. The news that this will happen in Qatar, broken by an Indian newspaper on Wednesday* and picked up by Kabul-based Tolo TV a day later, was followed by President Karzai calling back his ambassador in Doha ‘for consultations’ claiming that […]

Bargaining over US bases: Will they stay or will they go?

US intentions – what it wants or plans or thinks it might possibly do in Afghanistan after 2014 – are again in the news. Will Washington want bases? Will US soldiers ‘just’ be training Afghan troops or participate in fighting? And how many soldiers might remain in Afghanistan? On the Afghan side, both President Karzai […]

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