War & Peace

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 […]

Until you get the wrong Ahmad…

Recently, I participated in a discussion in Washington where I drew a lot of anger when I said that ‘kinetic’ house searches still alienate many Afghans – if they don’t push them into Taleban ranks. That’s not correct, I was told, the US and NATO forces have changed their approach. Here a first-hand story that […]

Ghosts of Najibullah

With President Obama’s release of the new Afghanistan strategy ahead on Tuesday and first details coming out, parts of the puzzle fall into place. As it looks it will be less than the US 40,000 troops desired by Gen Mc Chrystal that will be sent to Afghanistan – probably some 30,000. The gap is to […]

Surveyed: The Cost of War

The war-destroyed Dar-ul-Aman palace in the South of Kabul was the perfect venue for the presentation of the report ‘The Cost of War’ to the Afghan and international public. The palace, designed to house the first Afghan parliament established under King Amanullah (ruled 1919-29), never served its aim. Amanullah was toppled by a mulla-led and […]

AAN Guest Blog: Some ANSF Maths

The following blog is contributed by A FRIEND of AAN in Kabul who – for a good reason which in the media is usually described as that she/he is not authorized to speak about the subject – does not want to see her/his name printed here. After following the recent discussions about number increases in […]

Hollow Excuses

We apologize. It was a mistake. We regret the loss of innocent life.’ How often have I heard these sentences after operations of NATO troops had caused – what a horrible trivialisation – ‘collateral damage’. How often have I heard these sentences after operations of NATO troops had caused – what a horrible trivialisation – […]

Another Day without an Orange Revolution

Quite some people here in Kabul – maybe internationals more than Afghans – had been looking forward to the day that just passed with mixes feelings. It was 9/9 – and eight years ago Ahmad Shah Massud, the leader of the Northern Alliance mujahedin was killed … … during a fake interview in Khwaja Bahauddin […]

UNODC Sees Afghan Drug Cartels Emerging – With One Eye Closed

U.N. Sees Afghan Drug Cartels Emerging’, reads a headline in the 2 September issue of the New York Times. Now the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) got it. Or did it? The headline reminds of a 2008 World Bank paper (William A. Byrd, Responding to Afghanistan’s Opium Economy Challenge, The World Bank, South Asia […]

Germans at the Front

“It couldn’t have come worse. It is mid-August 2009. American pilots bomb an Afghan village, many women and children die. The target for the attack was provided by the Germans.” [The German parliament is currently in the decision-making process about sending AWACS surveillance planes to Afghanistan.] “Two days later, three German Bundeswehr soldiers publicly brag […]

Theatre about conflict – and how we all have to relate to it

Mid-June, I had the opportunity see the revival performance of a play entitled ‘AH 7808’ that toured most Afghan regional capitals in 2008. The play is an adaptation of an Irish script addressing conflict and each individual’s responsibility to overcome it. Through the play, the audience gets to take part in one man’s struggle to […]

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