Int. Engagement

Afghanistan is (still) not Iraq

One of the monsters thought to be slain has raised one of its ugly heads again: the ‘let’s replicate our Iraq success in Afghanistan’ discussion, seasoned with ‘yes we know Afghanistan is not Iraq but…’ attachments. See the surge that supposedly has brought a decrease of violence in Baghdad and elsewhere and has been replicated […]

Wikileaks, Strategic Communications and (Im-)Plausible Denials

Wikileaks, with its publication of some 75,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan on Sunday, has brilliantly made use of the summer slump. Instead of escaped crocodiles at lakes popular with swimmers (a favourite of the German media in former years) or silly ideas of backbenchers, we have been given the chance […]

Kabul Conference (4): Don’t Mention the War

The Kabul Conference has ended, the foreign ministers have left, the roads have reopened for traffic. Most Afghans seem unimpressed. Several of the ‘big speeches’, and probably quite a few of the ‘smaller’ ones, impressed upon the audience that it was actions, not words that would ultimately count. They are of course right and I […]

Kabul Conference (2): How to spend three quarters of a billion dollars

AAN has seen and studied the – not yet public – Afghan government’s plan to reintegrate Taleban who lay down their arms. We also took a look at an earlier draft (see an earlier blog) and have been following the process since well before the London conference. Now comes the moment, at the Kabul Conference, […]

Kabul Conference (1): Outsmarted and made to pay

For weeks I have dismissed the Kabul conference as yet another conference – as something diplomats do, when they don’t know what to do. It was, as usual, preceded by a merry-go-round of pre-meetings and document-drafting-sessions and discrete enquiries (who is coming from your side? are you pledging?), which made it look like simply more […]

Congratulations, Francesc!

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) conveys its best wishes to Ambassador Francesc Vendrell, Chairman of its Advisory Board, former Special Representative of the UN and the EU to and in Afghanistan, on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Find below some of his selected statement, predictions, warnings – and also some regrets for misjudgements. General […]

GUEST BLOG: The Story of ‘M’: US-Dutch Shouting Matches in Uruzgan

In a reply to a recent article in the New York Times, our guest author discusses different approaches of how different NATO countries deal with what could be labeled ‘allied illegitimate armed groups’. By Bette Dam (*) Last weekend the New York Times wrote an interesting pieceabout the head of a private army in Uruzgan province, Matiullah Khan, […]

German President’s Resignation (Not) Afghanistan-Linked

More News from the German Front: In a surprise move, without precedence in German post-war history, head of state (Bundespräsident) Horst Köhler stepped down from his office with immediate effect today after noon. His step was triggered by remarks he made on the return of his first trip to Afghanistan (after six years in the […]

News from the German Front: The West’s Afghan Policy ‘has failed’

Five German institutes draw a condemning conclusion about the West’s policy in Afghanistan +++ Another institute alleges that the German government hides the larger portion of its Afghan military mission’s cost +++ Germany’s Minister of Defence does not know what happened to Afghans taken into custody and handed over to Afghan authorities +++ The ‘German […]

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