Political Landscape

Another Hezb-e Islami U-Turn – with more to follow? (amended)

When the second largest insurgent group, Hezb-e Islami (1), suspended talks with the Afghan government, three weeks ago, it cited dissatisfaction with the signing of the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) on 1 May 2012. Kabul has now gone public, accusing Hezb-e Islami of telling it a different story immediately after the talks, which were […]

Guest blog: The question of succession

Along with the withdrawal of foreign troops, a crucial political transition is on the cards for Afghanistan in 2014. Hamid Karzai nears the end of his second term, the only two he is constitutionally allowed to serve. While rumours of Karzai playing with the constitution to allow himself a third term were rife months ago, […]

Transition Phase Three: A Big Leap Forward

A new phase of the security transition, the third, has been announced. Every Afghan province is now going to be involved, at least partly, in the transfer of security from ISAF troops to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). This is the case even in areas where foreign troops are no longer present or where […]

Another Hit at the High Peace Council: Arsala Rahmani Killed (amended)

One of the leading reconciled Taleban, Arsala Rahmani, who was also a senator and, until last month, acting head of the High Peace Council, has been shot dead in Kabul. On 3 May, the Taleban declared they would be targeting High Peace Council members in their ‘Spring Offensive’, but a spokesman has said they did […]

A young leader lost: Sebghatullah Sanjar

Sebghatullah Sanjar, leader of Afghanistan’s Republican Party, an advisor to President Karzai, an ambitious politician of a younger, democratically leaning generation and a good friend, lost his life in a traffic accident in Kabul on Saturday. Thomas Ruttig, a Senior Analyst and Co-Director at AAN, first met Sanjar in 2000 when he was working with […]

Flash to the Past: Power play before the 2002 Emergency Loya Jirga

Ten years ago, Afghans were preparing for the Emergency Loya Jirga (ELJ) with high hopes. The chairman of its preparatory commission had dubbed it the ‘Peace and Democracy Loya Jirga’(1), reflecting the aspirations of a majority of Afghans. But the country was already in the grips of political posturing. There were attempts to prevent the […]

Farah (1): An island of secularism in the midst of troubled waters

Farah is the fourth largest province in the country and yet a frequently forgotten expanse in the Afghan Far West. It is also a doggedly contested battleground of insurgents and government, as recently shown with a spat of attacks on supply convoys and security forces that inflicted heavy casualties between the end of March and […]

A second Rabbani takes the helm at the High Peace Council

The competition for a successor to the late former president Burhanuddin Rabbani at the head of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) is over: Rabbani’s eldest son Salahuddin has been appointed by President Karzai. But is this appointment a real attempt to get a peace process on track, or is it instead, simply an alliance-building manoeuvre […]

Farewell to the Boss? Mujaddedi resigns

It is still not clear whether the resignation of Hazrat Sebghatullah Mujaddedi from all government positions last week was meant to be permanent, or a political manoeuvre planned to improve his chances in moving to lead the High Peace Council. Nevertheless, it is worth a closer look, argues Thomas Ruttig, Senior Analyst at AAN (with […]

On the Way to Chicago: Fighting Corruption – and Condoning It?

Networks of corruption in the Afghan administration are like the tentacles of a hungry octopus entangling its prey. It is difficult to make them let go. But is the Afghan government really trying? Despite the uncovering of various graft scandals in recent years, it has failed to bring their investigations to a satisfactory end. Meanwhile […]

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