War & Peace

An Offensive Foretold

When I checked the BBC website last night after watching the world premiere of the reconstructed famous 1927 German silent movie ‘Metropolis’ (a ‘don’t miss’ for all cineasts), the red ribbon for breaking news flashed: NATO and Afghan troops have started ‘Operation Moshtarak’ (Together) in Helmand. In Afghanistan, it was already after 2 am on […]

On Commander Razeq again

AAN member JOANNA NATHAN draws attention to the recent “mistaken” killing of civilians by Kandahar’s border police, which has gone largely unnoticed. So Commander Razeq is once again in the news with dead civilians on his men’s hands. TheNew York Times reports that seven people mistakenly thought to be insurgents were shot by the border police […]

Are We Afghanistan-Driven in London?

While the 70 or so delegations to the London conference are already sitting in Lancaster House, here some first thought about what is being discussed and what not. No claim to be exhaustive here. Let me start with the German discussion because it points to one of the core problems. What mainly is looked at […]

Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake

With this op-ed by NICK GRONO and CANDACE RONDEAUX* originally published in the Boston Globe we continue our discussion of the warlord issue in Afghanistan. As Washington rolls out its latest troop surge in Afghanistan, all eyes are on the violent south and east of the country to see whether the additional military muscle will […]

Caught between the Taliban and the Special Forces

It is an all too familiar story, but beautifully told. How elders seek out foreign strangers, hoping to find solace from the Special Forces’ search operations. Leaving a population not feeling very protected, despite all the recent population-centric military rhetoric. An excerpt from ‘Captain Cats Diaries’. Am I taking crazy pills? How difficult is it […]

On Kunar’s Salafi Insurgents

Usually one needs two sources at least, but this one I find too interesting: A few days ago, on 9 January, the Taleban website Shahamat (which means ‘bravery’) reported that one of the smaller insurgent groups – the Salafi from Kunar – has pledged allegiance to Mulla Muhammad Omar. The Taleban gave its name asJama’at […]

Beheaded by the Taleban? No, this time it was about sex

In Afghanistan, things are often more complicated than they look like at the first glance. Some armed fighting, for example, is motivated by local conflicts. But there are always people who are interested to present this as ‘Taleban’-driven. Our guest author Bette Dam*, a Dutch journalist, pleads for more accuracy in reporting such incidents. On […]

Response to: ‘Time to Work with Warlords? What?’

The following response to my blog ‘Time to Work with Warlords? What?’ (30 Dec. 2009) came from the author of the original op-ed, GERARD RUSSELL, who criticizes that I did not pay sufficient attention ‘to what I actually said in my article’. Here his remarks: For one thing, I propose the same thing as you: […]

What the Lakki Marwat Carnage Shows

With horror and disgust I was watching over the last days how the number of victims of a car-bomb detonated at a volleyball match in Shah Hassankhel village (Lakki Marwat area), close to South Waziristan, in Pakistan was steadily rising: 22, 32, 60, 75, 89, up to 93 Saturday afternoon. (No further reports from Sunday […]

Aid Workers and the Military

Let’s start 2010 with something positive: German chancellor Angela Merkel commended the work of civilian aid workers in Afghanistan in her New Year address, before mentioning policemen and soldiers. That was an interesting and long overdue accent in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s New Year TV address: She commended the ‘many civilian helpers, the policemen and our […]

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