War & Peace

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 […]

The Quran burnings and the different faces of anger

Yesterday’s thoughtless and avoidable burning of several Qurans at Bagram air base has sparked a second day of protests across Afghanistan. The repercussions are expected to reverberate for several more days, at least. The demonstrations are a combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration and groups wanting to stir trouble. It is difficult to predict how […]

Quran Burning on Bagram Base

This blog can be very short, thinks Thomas Ruttig, a Senior Analyst at AAN, and doesn’t require any Afghanistan expertise: Books and other reading material, Islamic or otherwise, do not belong in the garbage. If you stick to this basic rule, Quran burnings and retaliatory riots can be avoided. For an alternative to dispose of printed […]

Are the Taleban talking to Karzai (and does it matter)?

When little is clear, all clues seem relevant. And so it can happen that a handful of fairly vague sentences by the President are taken as proof of a significant new step towards negotiations in Afghanistan. A closer look at these claims of emerging “three-way talks” shows that this reading is rather premature, as is […]

Talks Have Not Stopped Killing of Afghan Civilians

The number of Afghan civilians being killed in the war has risen yet again, according to UNAMA’s yearly assessment of civilian casualties for 2011. The eight per cent increase since 2010 (25 per cent increase since 2009) is largely due to the actions of ‘anti-government elements’, as the UN refers to the insurgents who are, […]

The Emperor’s New Clothes: The leaked NATO report on the Taleban

The BBC and The Times have obtained a classified NATO assessment of the Taleban. The leaked report, which has made headline news, has informed us that NATO thinks Pakistan is supporting the Taleban, that the Taleban are defiant and enjoy widespread support, that Afghans frequently prefer them to their corrupt government and that Afghan government […]

Talking and Killing in Early 2012

A series of suicide attacks have left dozens of people killed and injured in the last few days in southern Afghanistan. There was inevitable carnage among civilians when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowded bazaar in Helmand on Wednesday (18 January) and at the entrance to the NATO base in Kandahar on Thursday. […]

Striking at Kabul, now and then

The start of a new year is always an opportunity for reflection. 2011 was not the first and will probably not be the last year that drew to a close amid violence in Kabul. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini takes a historical look at how the conflict has reached inside the gates of the Afghan capital in […]

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