Dispatches

Afghanistan’s National Unity Government Rift (1): Crisis averted (for now), back to appointing commissions

Just weeks before the upcoming donor conference in Brussels on 5 October 2016, the two leaders of Afghanistan’s National Unity Government (NUG) erupted into a fierce, public argument. Chief Executive Abdullah accused President Ghani of unilateralism and called him “unfit” for his office; the president hit back implying that the rival camp was merely trying […]

The Attack on the American University in Kabul (2): Who did it and why?

The attack on the American University in Kabul on 24 August 2016 was unprecedented in many respects. For the first time, a ‘complex attack’ – often reserved for high-profile and well-guarded targets – hit an educational institution. It also came in the wake of an ideological campaign by circles in the Taleban movement that had […]

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 […]

From Guantanamo to the UAE: A scrutiny of the three Afghan transfer cases

Three of the eight remaining Afghans detained by the United States in Guantanamo have been transferred to the United Arab Emirates. The three had each spent 13 or 14 years in detention. None were captured on the battlefield, but detained after tip-offs or were handed over to the US by Afghan forces. Their files reveal […]

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 […]

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 […]

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