War & Peace

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 […]

Are Talks with the Taleban Snow-Balling?

There has been a lot of excitement lately in the press about the supposedly snow-balling talks with the Taleban leadership and what this could mean for the prospects to end the war. The major news outlets have been trying to outdo each other in terms of talking up details provided by spokespeople and unnamed officials. […]

Another Militia Creation Gone Wrong

In March 2010, heavy fighting broke out in the northern Baghlan province between Hezb-e Islami fighters and the Taleban. On 7 October 2010, a German soldier was killed by a suicide bomber in the same area. The connection between both events is another example how the establishment of ‘militias’ (even though they are not called […]

Afghan Reactions to the High Peace Council

The establishment of the High Peace Council (HPC) by President Hamed Karzai on 18 September has created a lot of attention. Finally, the competition about who will chair the body has been decided in favour of 1992-96 Interim President Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani. Also, the still missing members have been appointed which let the HPC become […]

Who wants peace, needs to get serious about justice

The current ineffectiveness in Afghanistan’s justice sector is a legacy of three decades of war and factionalism but not of an historical absence of a formal system of independent adjudication of disputes through courts of law. That it has not been rebuilt, is less due to an inherent inability but to a lack of political […]

Talk about Talks Again (updated)

‘Bazaar du-bara garm shud’ – the market has become hot again. That’s how many Afghans reacted to the breaking news of ‘high-level talks’ between Taleban leaders and the Kabul government (and possibly some US actors) as well as about the not-so-secret-anymore talks in the Kabul Serena. But look at the small print: The talks were […]

Warlords’ Peace Council

After a series of announcements that the members of the High Peace Council would soon be announced, and a considerable delay reportedly about who should chair the council – a question that is still open – the names of 68 members were finally released today (with apparently two more still to be added). Looking at […]

General Petraeus about Taleban contacts (updated)

Reconciliation – a.k.a. talking to the Taleban – is a hot issue. Anything new is picked up quickly by the media world-wide, in particular when it comes from someone with a political weight like Gen. Petraeus. But please also read the small print. So, here is what Gen. Petraeus said: ‘There are very high-level Taliban […]

Losing people in Afghanistan

Living in Afghanistan means losing people. It’s a steady trickle. Usually not close enough to uproot your life, but there are all these people whom you have gotten to know over the years, whom you have become fond of, who you have to admire for how they managed to preserve sanity and dignity and humour, […]

Ten Dead in Badakhshan 7: An Afghan aid worker speaks up

Belquis Ahmadi(*) is an Afghan aid worker who had known, cooperated and traveled with Tom Little under the most difficult conditions of the 1990s civil war. Read her warmly commemorating the slain aid worker in this guest contribution to our blog. My heart began to ache when I saw the name – Tom Little – […]

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