War & Peace

New UNAMA Civilian Causalities Report: US targeting of alleged drug labs goes against international humanitarian law

UNAMA released a special report on Wednesday 9 October, which examines in detail the United States airstrikes against alleged methamphetamine processing facilities in Bakwa district of Farah province. The report concludes that the operation, which took place on 5 May 2019, “did not meet the definition of legitimate military objectives under international law.” It is […]

Taleban attacks on Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri: Symbolic operations

In the last week Taleban have attacked and entered three provincial centres, Kunduz city, Pul-e Khumri in Baghlan and Farah city, before being pushed back. This dispatch focusses on the offensives against Pul-e Khumri and Kunduz, considering them in the context of the regional security of northeastern Afghanistan. It finds that key lessons from earlier […]

Trump Ends Talks with the Taleban: What happens next?

United States president Donald Trump has called off talks with the Taleban and cancelled signing of an agreement with them. The trigger, he said, was a suicide bomb which killed one US soldier and “11 other people” carried out “seemingly [to] strengthen their bargaining position.” However, voices against the ‘agreement in principle’ deal had already […]

One Land, Two Rules (8): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected insurgent-controlled Zurmat district

The Taleban’s military dominance in Zurmat district of Paktia province has allowed them to assert their will over how government and NGO-provided public services are delivered. Their motivation varies from ideological control (education and media) to revenue generation (taxes on telecommunications and public infrastructure projects). In this district, the Taleban have expanded into tax collection […]

US-Taleban talks: An imminent agreement without peace?

News coming out of the latest round of US-Taleban negotiations suggest that an agreement is imminent, but that in the desire to meet the White House’s 1 September 2019 deadline, the US have made concessions that may well complicate an actual peace agreement in Afghanistan. It appears that the US have dropped the “nothing is […]

“Murder Is Always”: The Kulalgo night raid killings

On the night of 11 and 12 August, what seems to have been a mixed US-Afghan commando raided several homes in Kulalgo, a large village in Zurmat district, Paktia. Eleven people were killed, civilians who had nothing to do with the insurgency, according to family members and local elders. They were ‘Taleban’ according to official […]

Kandahar from Razeq to Tadin (2): The collapse foretold that did not happen

After the assassination in October 2018 of Kandahar’s powerful police chief and ruthless anti-Taleban strongman, General Abdul Razeq, it was feared that the security regime he had installed in central parts of the province might break down without him and the Taleban might capitalise on this. Although fighting has since increased, the feared collapse has […]

AAN Q&A: What came out of the Doha intra-Afghan conference?

Representatives of Afghanistan’s warring parties and civil society met at a peace conference in Qatar’s capital Doha on 7-8 July 2019. They all participated ‘in their personal capacities’ in order to circumvent the Taleban’s rejection of direct talks with the Afghan government. The conference that took place behind closed doors ended with a joint final […]

Before Doha 7: Afghanistan peace efforts recovering from a lull?

The seventh round of United States-Taleban talks in Doha is imminent. But US-Taleban negotiations in Doha for a negotiated solution to the Afghan war have been stalling in recent rounds, after some initial progress. So far they also still exclude the third key actor, the Afghan government. Parties in the so-called intra-Afghan dialogue have also […]

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