Ghosts of Najibullah

With President Obama’s release of the new Afghanistan strategy ahead on Tuesday and first details coming out, parts of the puzzle fall into place. As it looks it will be less than the US 40,000 troops desired by Gen Mc Chrystal that will be sent to Afghanistan – probably some 30,000. The gap is to […]

A meaningful Afghanistan conference needs civil society involvement

It apparently has been decided that the next international Afghanistan conference is to be held on 28 January in London. It might be followed by a second one in spring – perhaps March or April – in Kabul. But the latter is far from clear. The UK – with the Prime Minister under immense pressure […]

Kabul Diary (2): A Ring of Steel Sheets

Finally, the long expected rain is falling in Kabul. But what’s good for next year’s crops makes life miserable for people in the cities. And for the first time, there were hours-long complete traffic break-downs in Kabul yesterday and today afternoon. Although President Obama today announced that he plans ‘to finish the job’ in Afghanistan […]

A Suicide Attack in Uruzgan (UPDATED)

13 people killed by a suicide bomber. But who did it? Finding out what really is behind incidents like this one is extremely difficult. Facts are rare, versions and opinions, however, ample to find. While a suicide attack in a bazaar in Western Farah province on 20 November that claimed at least 16 lives made […]

Militias – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Genies (2): A Look Forward

The case of Abdul Razeq’s police-unit-cum-militia (see our recent blog ‘Militias 1’) should send a stark warning to those planning envisaging a new version of ‘community-based’ defence forces. It is not clear yet how this exactly will look like but it seems to be sure that it will come. A few titles, names and concepts […]

Corruption, corruption, corruption

Karzai’s international backers have made no secret of what their priorities for his new administration were: transfer of security responsibilities, reconciliation, economic development, relations with the neighbours, and corruption, corruption, corruption. They were well served by Karzai’s inaugural speech: everything was included – reason for a (small) collective sigh of relief. Another potential confrontation, with […]

Surveyed: The Cost of War

The war-destroyed Dar-ul-Aman palace in the South of Kabul was the perfect venue for the presentation of the report ‘The Cost of War’ to the Afghan and international public. The palace, designed to house the first Afghan parliament established under King Amanullah (ruled 1919-29), never served its aim. Amanullah was toppled by a mulla-led and […]

AAN Guest Blog: Influenza politica

The following blog about a government-made swine flu hysteria is provided by CHRISTOPH REUTER, a reporter with ‘Stern’ magazine in Germany who is currently in Kabul. On 28 October, Afghanistan‘s Minister of Public Health issued a press release that did not receive much attention: Currently there were 58 cases of H1N1, better known as swine […]

Militias – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Genies (1): A Look Back

When I read Matthieu Aikins’ brilliant reportage in Harpers (‘The Master of Spin Boldak’) about the mutation of a 1980s tribal militia into a drug trafficking network that survives to the day, I was reminded of an episode in 1988. I was living in Wazir Akbar Khan then. Around the corner was the house of […]

AAN Guest Blog: Some ANSF Maths

The following blog is contributed by A FRIEND of AAN in Kabul who – for a good reason which in the media is usually described as that she/he is not authorized to speak about the subject – does not want to see her/his name printed here. After following the recent discussions about number increases in […]

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