War & Peace

PEACE JIRGA BLOG 4: Who’s come to town… and who’s staying away

The peace jirga has begun today without President Karzai’s main rival in last year’s presidential elections, Dr Abdullah, who has announced that he and his supporters are not attending. Abdullah’s party comrade, head of Jamiat-e Islami and former president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, however, looks set to chair the jirga – a move which is seen as […]

PEACE JIRGA BLOG 3: Preparing the Delegates

The long-anticipated and twice-delayed ‘consultative peace jirga’ is about to happen. Delegates from across Afghanistan have been arriving in Kabul and the press corps of the world is arriving to report on them. Journalists are here in such numbers that AAN is wondering if there will be more reporters than delegates. Diplomats are also excited […]

The Kuchi-Hazara Conflict, Again

As every year around this time, violent clashes have erupted between local Hazaras and incoming Pashtun Kuchis in the pastures of Eastern Hazajarat. Houses were burnt down, people and animals killed, many fled the area. Hazara MPs boycott the parliament’s sessions. But the level of violence seems to be higher than ever. Fabrizio Foschini. Junior […]

An Honest Transfer or ‘The Devil May Care’?

‘Transfer of Security Responsibility’ is one of the latest buzzwords in Afghanistan. It is part of the NATO strategy also sometimes described as ‘Afghanisation’. But, maybe, the latter resounds too closely with the term ‘Vietnamisation’. So, it is more probable that we will have to get used to yet another acronym: TSR. The ‘TSR’ concept […]

Counterinsurgency in Kandahar: what happened to the fence?

A short visit to Kandahar, as it has been a while. In the afternoon there is a donkey cart bomb several blocks away. It kills three children, destroys a police post and rattles the office I am visiting. The blast of moving air tells the body something about vulnerability that it had forgotten. In the […]

How ‘neo’ were the ‘Neo-Taleban’?

Since the Taleban’s quick resurgence after the fall of their regime in 2001, their insurgency often is described with the term ‘Neo-Taleban’. Here it is argued, though, that there was more continuity than change from the pre-9/11 to the post-9/11 Taleban movement. The real ‘neo-Taleban’ might emerge now – after the arrest of accommodation-inclined Taleban […]

Don’t Call That Warlord a Warlord

In Afghanistan, some feel insulted when they are called a ‘warlord’. Some rather call them, euphemistically, ‘local power brokers’ or ‘strongmen’. The author of this blog thinks that the term still is useful – but that it should not be used randomly and proposes a sharper definition. By Antonio Giustozzi. This blog first appeared on […]

Finding Kabir

Arresting the former deputy ‚prime minister‘ of the Taleban apparently needed less than rocket science. Pakistani intelligence sources also confirm that the arrests of Maulawi Kabir and Mulla Baradar foremost serve Pakistani interests, both with regard to urgently needed financial resources and possibly to the strengthening of an old ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. A guest blog […]

Some Birds with One Stone

Pakistan is establishing a new Taleban leadership that is more aggressive, less inclined to talk and primarily follows the instructions of its ISI minders, says Christoph Reuter(1). With this aim, it manipulates different leaders of militant groups, using targeted arrests and ‘invitations’ into ‘guesthouses’. When it became known on 16 Februar that the number three […]

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