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Bracing for Attacks on Ashura: Extra security measures for Shia mourners

The Afghan government is arming local civilians and strengthening the police presence across the country to try to protect Shia Muslim places of worship in the run-up to Ashura. The commemoration will take place this Sunday (1 October 2017). With these last-minute measures, the government is reacting to demands from the community and criticism that […]

At the End of a Long Curve: The fall of Janikhel

The temporary capture of Janikhel district centre by Taleban forces in late July 2017 stands out in the relatively static, mountainous and geographically and tribally fractured region of eastern Paktia and Khost. There, most district centres continue to be in government hands, while many areas outside of them are more or less under Taleban control. […]

The ‘Ankara Coalition’: Opposition from within the government

Over the past two years, the National Unity Government (NUG) has been challenged by internal power struggles, protest movements and now an ‘opposition’ coalition made up of influential officials from within. It is the first time, however, that leaders of three mainstream political parties from three major ethnic groups have joined forces – at least […]

A Black Week in Kabul: Terror and protests

It has been an incredibly difficult week for Kabul. In four days, over a hundred people were killed and several hundreds injured – most of them in a massive terrorist attack in central Kabul on 31 May 2017. Two days later, as angry protests threatened to become violent, the police opened fire killing and injuring […]

Voluntary and Forced Returns to Afghanistan in 2016/17: Trends, statistics and experiences

While hundreds of thousands of Afghans sought protection in Europe throughout 2015/16, an increasing number have been returning to Afghanistan, both voluntarily and involuntarily. The number of voluntary returnees from Europe picked up significantly throughout 2016, with additional returns in the first four months of 2017, reaching a total figure of over 8,000. By contrast, […]

Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (3) – case study Germany

Germany led in Europe in almost all categories of incoming refugees and asylum applications in 2015 and 2016, both in absolute and relative figures. Roughly six out of ten migrants who came to Europe ended up in Germany. Afghans were strongly represented in all those categories. This prompted the German government to change its 2015 […]