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To Say It Like It Is: Norway’s evaluation of its part in the international intervention

Norway has published the first comprehensive evaluation of one country’s contribution to the international intervention in Afghanistan. The evaluation was conducted by a government-appointed commission led by Bjørn Tore Godal, a former foreign and defence minister. However, most commissioners were independent researchers. The ‘Godal report’, as it has become known, is a candid and sharp […]

Far From Back to Normal: The Kunduz crisis lingers on

The Taleban’s recent takeover of both Qala-ye Zal and Dasht-e Archi’s district centres is the latest episode in the long-running battle for possession of Kunduz province. It follows the spectacular takeover of Kunduz’s provincial centre by insurgents in late September 2015, the hard-won recapture by pro-government forces two weeks later and the government’s unsuccessful counter-offensive […]

Chechens in Afghanistan 2: How to identify a Chechen

Researchers focusing on Chechen issues point to clear evidence that many Chechens are fighting in Syria, but roundly reject the notion of a Chechen presence in Afghanistan. In the first part of his special two-parter, Christian Bleuer looked at how Chechens became a battlefield myth for western soldiers and a tool for Afghan and US […]

Chechens in Afghanistan 1: A Battlefield Myth That Will Not Die

 In 2001, as the United States and other allied military forces attacked Taleban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, numerous soldiers, journalists and Afghans allied to the Americans relayed stories of a fearless and deadly opponent, incomparably worse than any other enemy: the Chechen. Such reports have never gone away, despite no Chechen having ever been […]

Happy Nawruz! A blessed year 1395 to our readers

Dear readers and friends, the AAN team wishes you a blessed, healthy and hopefully more peaceful Afghan year 1395. This year spring has come early and many trees are already in full bloom. But this is no reason to abandon the tradition of getting some pink tulips from the north, Afghanistan’s new year flowers, to mark the beginning […]

Helmand (2): The chain of chiefdoms unravels

In Helmand in the second half of 2015, the ‘dominos’ started to fall, with successive areas of the province coming under Taleban control. During the United States surge, a line of ‘chiefdoms’ was created, where Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan Local Police (ALP) and militia commanders managed to consolidate control of local areas. In 2015, […]