War & Peace

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 […]

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 – […]

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