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The Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North: A case study from Badakhshan

The Taleban movement is winning ground in the northern province of Badakhshan, a province that was never conquered when the Taleban were in power in the 1990s. Over the past two years, a new generation of largely Tajik Taleban has come to pose a serious challenge for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) : a […]

Taleban in the North: Gaining ground along the Ring Road in Baghlan

The Taleban have made significant inroads in a number of strategic areas in the northern province of Baghlan over the past two years. They now pose a greater threat than ever to the Baghlan-Balkh highway, part of the Ring Road which here links Kabul to the north. The Taleban know that by blocking highways, they […]

The 2015 Insurgency in the North (3): The fall and recapture of Kunduz

It took 15 days of fierce fighting for Afghan government forces and their US allies to push the Taleban back out of Kunduz city. Clashes continue in the surrounding districts. The Taleban onslaught on 28 September should not have come as a surprise, given how much territory in the province the group was already controlling. […]

The 2015 Insurgency in the North (2): Badakhshan’s Jurm district under siege

The foreign fighter communities are growing, their recruitment is speeding up and the national security forces deployed to fight them are regularly beaten back – or they give up their bases before, as some claim, “a single bullet has been shot.” Badakhshan, once a province almost free of insurgency, has become contested. AAN’s Obaid Ali […]

Fire in the Pashai Hills: A two-district case study from Kapisa

The Taleban are making further headway towards Kabul. In Kapisa province, 80 kilometers northeast of the capital, they have already established an administrative system governing one of the districts, Alasai. An uprising staged against them last summer by local Jamiati commanders failed,  largely due to lack of support from government forces. At the same time, […]

Battleground Kankur: Afghan students’ difficult way into higher education

For some hundred thousand Afghan high school graduates, the university entry tests, known as kankur, have started. The first to sit the exam, from December onwards, were students in more-remote provinces, for example Badghis, Bamyan, Daikundi, Nuristan, Wardak, Logar and Sar-e Pul. Pictures of rows of students sitting on city squares  or mosques taking the […]