War & Peace

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 […]

What comes after remembering? Some thoughts after National Victims Day in Afghanistan

There are days when Afghanistan’s sadness becomes overwhelming. For us, the Afghan National Victims’ Day was such a day. AAN Senior Analyst Sari Kouvo and Political Researcher Obaid Ali participated in the Afghan National Victims’ Day demonstration and commemoration. Around forty women and men have already gathered when we early Friday morning arrived at Kabul’s […]

Obama’s War Strategy: Stamping out the fire by pouring on gasoline

President Obama’s review of the first year of his war strategy in Afghanistan is extraordinarily upbeat. “The momentum achieved by the Taliban in recent years,” it says, “has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in some key areas… The surge… has reduced overall Taleban influence.”(*) For those of us living in Afghanistan, […]

Guest blog: Peace on Hold

In spring of this year US troops in South East Afghanistan introduced a local peace initiative. It should have been a model for the whole country. Instead, it has ground to a halt, which highlights the huge challenge for the much vaunted reconciliation process. Nangarhar journalist Naqib Ahmad Atal, writing for Afghanistan Today, describes where […]

Gulbuddin ante portas – again (2)

Veteran mujahedin and current no. 2 insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar gave a rare and extensive interview to German TV. AAN’s Senior Analyst Thomas Ruttig thinks that he was trying a walk on the tightrope, responding to the opened doors for ‘reconciliation’ while projecting that he is not too soft on the US and Kabul’s offers […]

Splitting the Haqqanis with NATO Reconciliation Air?

The initial big wave of reports about talks with the Taleban gathering speed and of a possible short-term ‘reconciliation’ have given way for a slower but steady trickle of spicy detail. A detail dropped here, some names there, mixed with half-denials like Richard Holbrooke’s ‘There is less than meets the eye’ line keep the shurwa(*) […]

A Washington Diary: Partition Lite and a lot of hope

Less than two weeks to go to the US mid-term elections with the expected rout of Obama’s democrats, the war in Afghanistan is no issue at all in the campaign. The decision, says everyone here, is taken anyway: The US will pull out most of its troops, re-label the rest as trainers and advisers, keep […]

A Karzai-Taleban coalition won’t survive a few days

Former UN and EU Special Envoy to Afghanistan and the chairman of AAN’s advisory board Francesc Vendrell talked to the Voice of America about the much-reported contacts between the Afghan government and some elements of the Taliban on possible peace negotiations. Here some relatively expansive quotes from the 19 October article. Francesc Vendrell who is […]

Talking to the Taleban: Who’s under pressure now?

The last US plan – to have a more broad-based reconciliation process only after its military would regain the upper hand on the battlefield – has not worked. The surge has not shifted the momentum. Not the Taleban but in reality the US are under pressure, and fundamental questions open about how and where a […]

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