Dispatches

Remembering Nancy Hatch Dupree 2: Nancy in the words of others

It is 40 days since the historian, archivist and activist on behalf of Afghans, Nancy Hatch Dupree, died, aged 89. She had spent decades of her life in Afghanistan or, like many Afghans, in exile in neighbouring Pakistan. She was the author of guidebooks on Afghanistan and a publisher of books. Then, first with her […]

Remembering Nancy Hatch Dupree 1: Nancy in her own words

It is 40 days since the historian, archivist and activist on behalf of Afghans, Nancy Hatch Dupree, died, aged 89. As a tribute to this remarkable woman, we are publishing two pieces. The first is an interview which Nancy gave in 2007 to Markus Hakansson for a book authored by Nancy and published by the […]

Jihadi Commuters: How the Taleban cross the Durand Line

The Taleban use Pakistan as a sanctuary: most of the movement’s leaders are settled there and it is the movement’s preferred place for training, meeting and as a rear base. It is also the prime destination for ‘rest and recuperation’ (R&R) and the rehabilitation of wounded fighters. But how do the Taleban move between the […]

Working in a ‘Grey Zone’: ICRC forced to scale back its work in Afghanistan

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it has “no other choice but to drastically reduce its presence and activities in Afghanistan, in particular in the north of the country.” The decision follows three attacks on its staff in less than a year, including the worst suffered by the organisation worldwide in […]

Expanding Afghanistan’s Special Operations Forces: Doubling their success or further diluting their mission?

One of the key elements of the Afghan government’s Road Map for pushing back the insurgency is increasing the fighting capabilities of Afghan government forces. This includes the expansion of the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) praised special operations forces. However, this expansion is spurring already existing tendencies that are turning these units into shock troops, […]

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 […]

The New Kabul ‘Green Belt’ Security Plan: More Security for Whom?

Following the devastating 31 May 2017 bomb attack in the Afghan capital, President Ashraf Ghani commissioned his security experts to develop a new security plan for Kabul. Although apparently not officially approved or fully funded yet, the plan called the ‘Zarghun Belt’ (Green Belt) was announced in mid-August. Jelena Bjelica and Kate Clark (with input […]

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