Dispatches

Stanakzai Goes from Peace to War: For Afghanistan, finally a defence minister?

The national unity government is making its fourth attempt to appoint a minister of defence. On 24 May 2015, the presidential palace announced the nomination of Masum Stanakzai who has been the head of the Joint Secretariat of the High Peace Council and Afghanistan Peace and Reconciliation Programme since 2009. Members of Parliament will still need […]

The Park Palace Attack: More losses for Afghanistan (updated with a list of the dead)

The Taleban attack on a Kabul guesthouse which killed 15 people (not 14, as earlier reports said) on 13 May 2015 was aimed, the Taleban claimed, at “invaders”, specifically an “important meeting” of “important people from many invading countries, especially Americans.” In this update of our earlier dispatch, AAN’s Kate Clark identifies all the dead: […]

Covering for Each Other in Zanabad: The defiant widows of the hill

On top of a hill in Kabul’s southeast is a unique community. It is locally known as Zanabad (“Women’s Town”) and has survived all turmoil of the last decades. A group of widows started building homes there for themselves as far back as the 1990s. Initially, the people of the neighbouring communities looked down on […]

ANSF Wrong-Footed: The Taleban offensive in Kunduz

The Taleban’s first major onslaught in their ‘spring offensive’ this year took the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by surprise. But after a few days, they were able to react and push the insurgents back in some areas while the latter held their ground in others. Although the ANSF kept control over Kunduz city and […]

The Killing of Farkhunda (2): Mullahs, feminists and a gap in the debate

From ultra-conservative Salafis to secular-minded feminists, an astonishingly diverse range of voices have found their heroine in Farkhunda, the young woman who was lynched by a mob in Kabul on 19 March 2015. She has become the rare victim of violence to be almost unanimously called a shahid, a martyr. The consensus on her status, however, […]

Hazaras in the Crosshairs? A scrutiny of recent incidents

Eight abductions of groups of people have been reported since late February by officials, activists or media as having targeted ethnic Hazaras. The first was also the biggest: the abduction of 31 bus passengers in Zabul on 23 February 2015. Other crimes ‘against Hazaras’ have been reported from Ghazni, Farah, Daikundi and Balkh. AAN’s Qayoom […]

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