War & Peace

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 […]

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 […]

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