War & Peace

Before Ashura: Extra security measures in place for second year running

This year, the ten-day commemoration of Muharram by Afghanistan’s Shia Muslims follows a wave of bloody attacks directed against them, most claimed by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). In 2017, the government armed and paid guards at some mosques and other religious buildings in an attempt to thwart attacks. Those guards have stayed […]

New Confusion About ISKP: A case study from Sar-e Pul

After the defeat of a self-proclaimed ISKP group in Jawzjan in July 2018, focus has shifted to neighbouring Sar-e Pul. Russian media in particular have alleged that there are more pro-ISKP groups active in this province. AAN’s Obaid Ali (with inputs from Thomas Ruttig) has looked into Sar-e Pul’s insurgency landscape and found no indication […]

Hitting Gardez: A vicious attack on Paktia’s Shias

Afghan Shia Muslims are feeling increasingly beleaguered after two massacres targeting their community this month. Both were claimed by the Afghan ‘franchise’ of Daesh, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). On 3 August, gunmen killed at least 38 men and boys during Friday prayers at a village mosque in the outskirts of Gardez city. […]

Qari Hekmat’s Island Overrun: Taleban defeat ‘ISKP’ in Jawzjan

 The Taleban have eliminated the self-proclaimed Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) group that had been holding an enclave of territory in the isolated districts of Qush Tepa and Darzab in Jawzjan province for the last three years. It was the only ISKP-aligned group with territorial control outside the east of Afghanistan. The group failed to […]

“The Eid ceasefire helped our efforts well”: Helmand peace marchers keep up the pressure

Although the Eid ceasefires have been and gone, they have rekindled hopes across Afghanistan that peace is possible. Helmand’s peace movement is keeping up the pressure. It has staged sit-ins in front of embassies in Kabul and sent letters to countries participating in or supporting the war effort. The movement has also reached other parts […]

The Insecure Spring of Ghazni: Results of third-grade treatment by the centre?

Ghazni is one province where the Taleban have long-established significant influence. Actually, they dominate it militarily, with the exception of the provincial capital, all but one of the 18 district centres and some larger areas in three districts. Over the spring of 2018, the Taleban – although not capturing more territory –, have significantly expanded […]

Enemy Number One: How the Taleban deal with the ALP and uprising groups

It is one of the few ‘truths’ of the Afghan insurgency that the Taleban hate arbaki– their term for locally-recruited defence forces, primarily the Afghan Local Police and uprising groups.These forces have always been a mixed bag, with some abusing the local population or captured by ethnic, factional or criminal interests. However, especially where they […]

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