War & Peace

‘Zoom In and You’ll See the Faces of Taleban’

Michael Yon travelled to Uruzgan to see what he could see. He is by his own description on “a long tour of Afghanistan” to discover what is going on in places where international forces have fought and died. Not a bad idea. These places are indeed “(n)ames that mean almost nothing to most people, but […]

A Taleban ‘Shock and Awe’ Campaign

The recent string of attacks, seemingly aimed at hitting in the heart of Afghan cities in a spectacular and murderous manner, continues. Starting from the battle at the Kandahar central police station on 12 February, in a ten-day span four more attacks – unlike the former aimed at soft, largely civilian targets – hit population […]

The Start of Impunity: the killing of Dr Abdul Rahman

Everyone has their watershed moments when alarm bells started ringing over the post-2001 political settlement in Afghanistan. For AAN’s senior analyst, Kate Clark, one pivotal moment took place nine years ago in February 2002, when the minister for civil aviation, Dr Abdul Rahman, was murdered in public at Kabul airport. The newly deployed ISAF did […]

The Great Talqaida Myth

Al-Qaida and the Taleban are basically the same, they are fanatical Islamist extremists who hate the West and are an imminent danger for all of us. This, at least, is what one influential school of terrorism experts says – which informs the latest US policy on Afghanistan which, on paper, concentrates on ‘disrupting’ al-Qaida while, […]

Tactical or genuine? The Taleban’s ‘new education policy’

This time, the Times Education Supplement (TES) has the latest scoop about the Taleban. The article with the headline ‘Taliban “backs girls’ education”’ has already been picked up around the world. But it is worth to look at the source of the sensational statement. It is not from Mulla Omar’s ‘Quetta shura’ but from Kabul’s […]

Flash to the Past: … but not without snow

Ten years ago, AAN’s senior analyst Kate Clark was reporting on the first snow of the 2000/2001 winter for the BBC from Kabul which, then, was still ruled by the Taleban; people then were hoping a horrific drought would finally be breaking. An estimated twelve million Afghans had been hit by crop failure, many were […]

Building for Eternity? The Issue of the US Afghan Bases (amended)

Will the US really withdraw (most of its) its troops – those who will not be rebranded ‘trainers’ and advisors’ like in Iraq – by 2014? Is general Petraeus following his own timeline? For sure, the US is planning to keep (some of) its bases in Afghanistan, and it is expanding them rapidly. A US […]

Figure of the Day: US$ 100 m. (in destroyed orchards)

An Afghan government delegation has reported that ‘Afghan and foreign forces have caused more than US$ 100 million damage to fruit crops and homes during security operations in southern Kandahar province’. AAN’s senior analyst Thomas Ruttig remembers an episode last summer. When a young Afghan visited our office last summer and told us about US […]

Because the Night Belongs to Raiders: Special ops in Nangrahar

The first days of 2011 have already been dotted with reports of renewed night raids by US special forces turning lethal for civilians, as the ones in Ghazni and Kunduz apparently were. The resentment these operations stir up among Afghans countrywide seems likely to wipe out any possible military benefit deriving from them. The negative […]

For a Handful of Dollars: Taleban allowed to join ALP

It’s official: reintegrated Taleban will be able to join the Afghan Local Police (ALP) – referred to more commonly by civilians as militias or arbaki. This is according to the head of ISAF’s Regional Command North (who also said such Taleban might become teachers). In flat contradiction, the MoI told AAN today that Taleban will […]

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