Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – April 2011

6 min

Afghan military pilot kills 9 Americans in Kabul
Los Angeles Times, 28 April 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert comments that such attacks are part of a Taliban strategy to undermine the Afghan population’s faith in NATO troops and their own security forces as the U.S. prepares to begin drawing down its forces this summer: “The image they’re portraying is, ‘We’re everywhere,'” she said of the Taliban. “‘We’re the one who are staying and we can go wherever we want.'”

‘Taliban jailbreak could hit Nato efforts’
The News, 27 April 2011
AAN’s Kate Clark is extensively quoted on the Kandahar jail break: “I don’t think this is just an issue about extra numbers or the fact that you have got experienced commanders going back out. There’s also the issue of the huge morale boost that this has given to the Taliban.”

As Petraeus exits, US interests in Afghanistan far from secured 
Christian Science Monitor, 27 April 2011
Article quotes Kate Clark’s recent blog in the light of shooting at the airport: “Whether the Taleban are now changing their strategy – or just their messaging – is not yet clear. However, his [Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s] threat … will be a major worry for the international and Afghan armies, as they race to get boots on the ground and have enough Afghan security forces ready to start taking over security, beginning with three provinces and four cities in summer 2011. The rapidity of the recruitment and training helps make forces vulnerable to such attacks.”

Plan rolled out to rescue troubled Afghan bank
Los Angeles Times, 21 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on the background of the Kabul Bank case which he calls ‘just the tip of the iceberg of an economy that stands on shaky ground. Because there is a lack of rule of law — or more precisely, the powerful often are able to put themselves above the law — there is a deep lack of transparency’.

Kabul Bank might be too big to fail. But its shareholders too powerful to prosecute?
Global Post (blog), 21 April 2011
Martine van Bijlert on the Kabul Bank scandal: “Given how institutions function in Afghanistan today, and given the way corruption investigations have been done so far, it seems very unlikely (that there will be prosecutions for the Kabul Bank scandal),”

Pak military strives to secure Afghan role
Gulf Times, 21 April 2011
But before Pakistan can play a major role, it must overcome distrust in Afghanistan, and a belief that it will always see the Taliban as its long-term allies in achieving its aims, including keeping India at bay, analysts in Kabul say. “One thing is clear,” said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. “Pakistan needs to play a more constructive role in Afghanistan. I don’t see signs that Pakistan has given up its ideas of using the Taliban as an asset for post-2014 Afghanistan.”

Ethnic Militias Fuel Tensions in Northern Afghanistan 
The Wall Street Journal, 21 April 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the proliferation of (non-ALP) militias in the North: “Nobody wants to be the weakest one around, when the insurgency is consolidating itself and rivals are getting stronger.”

La battaglia delle vittime delle guerre afghane
Il manifesto, 17 April 2011
The Italian newspaper quotes AAN Sari Kouvo’s remarks: ‘ Ten years after the fall of the Taleban regime, no official Afghan institution has dealt with the victims yet.’

Talk Of Peace In Afghanistan Is A Matter Of Trust
National Public Radio, 18 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that Afghan society is hardly unanimous in supporting a deal with the Taliban: ‘You also need a real national consensus on the Afghan side that negotiations are really what most of the people want,” he says. “I see a lot of misgivings amongst a lot of groups — some of the former mujahedeen, some of the political parties, pro-democracy elements, the organized women, civil society in general — who think that what is discussed in the moment is not about peace and reconciliation, but about a shortcut political deal that will put in danger the few things that have been achieved since 2001.’

Afghan and Pakistani Leaders Meet in Peace Bid
New York Times, 16 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as cautioning expectation of the new Pak-Afghan commission: ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’, adding that for any negotiation to be successful over the long term, Pakistan would have to be a strong backer.

German Army Criticized For Failing to Protect UN Workers
Spiegel, 11 April 2011
The German army has come under criticism for not deploying when the 1 April riots in Mazar broke out – because their was no official request by the Afghan authorities and because it could have sent ‘a wrong signal’ during the transition. “In emergencies, one should expect that they will do something’, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted in the article.

Anti-Western messages grow among Afghanistan’s imams
Reuters, 11 April 2011
This article – with the picture of a man holding up a sign reading ‘we don’t want American bases in Afghanistan’ – quotes from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog about the Mazar killings, referring to the growth of anti-Western feelings in the population in general.

[Round Table on Talks with the Taleban, in Dari]
Tolonews, 11 April 2011
Watch a video of Tolonews TV round table on Afghan government’s attempts for reconciliation with the Taleban, featuring AAN’s Thomas Rutiig, former Afghan deputy foreign minister and opposition politician Mahmud Saiqal and HPC secretary Aminuddin Muzaffari

Ombre di Transizione
il manifesto, 9 April 2011
The article (in Italian) gives voice to the concerns of the Afghan civil society regarding the peace process and the Afghan Local Police, and quotes AAN’s analyst Fabrizio Foschini comments on the perceived lack of neutrality and transparency of the High Peace Council.

Kandahar, i Talebani seminano ancora morte
Terra, 7 April 2011
The Italian newspaper reports on the recent attack against the ANP in Kandahar and discusses several weak points of the security transition, mentioning conversations with AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini as a source.

More talks about talks
Global Post (blog), 7 April 2011
As the article remarks ‘almost every Afghan expert worth his or her salt has tried to explain, “talks” is a pretty abstract concept. “We should not confuse talks with negotiations,” writes Thomas Ruttig.’

Karzai Is Expected To Replace Afghan Defense and Finance Ministers
Wall Street Journal, 7 April 2011
‘Afghanistan’s relations with the West are at one of their lowest points ever’, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted in a piece about an expected cabinet reshuffle by President Karzai. What the author chose not quote was the following: ‘The West, including the US, should not tell President Karzai which ministers to pick or to keep while the President – also in his appointment policy – should strive for constructive relations with the West because Afghanistan needs them.’

US Koran burning ignites explosive Afghan cocktail
AFP, 6 April 2011
Thomas Ruttig on the recent riots: “general frustration about what the international community has achieved and not achieved in this country” and “Afghanistan is not a secularised society, This kind of provocation and attacks on the holy book are taken very seriously and are very sensitive.”

Afghan Rage Over Koran Burning 
Huffington Post, 5 April 2011
Jayshree Bajoria, a Senior Staff Writer from the Council on Foreign Relations, quotes Thomas Ruttig’s AAn blog on the Mazar killings on her blog.

Öl ins Feuer gegossen
tageszeitung (Berlin), 4 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments that there is still no proof for any Taleban involvement in the killings of seven UN staff in Mazar and that finger-pointing is an attempt to cover shortcomings in the Afghan government’s performance and the failures of the international involvement in Afghanistan that has contributed to anti-Western feelings in the country.

Anhaltende Proteste in Afghanistan
tageszeitung (Berlin), 4 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reports about continuing protests in Afghanistan and also about Saturday’s biggest protests in Herat that remained peaceful.

Ten dead on second day of Afghan Koran burning protests
Reuters, 3 April 2011
‘”Insurgent provocation is not necessary for things like (the UN attack) to happen, because indeed the mood and atmosphere in a large part of the population is like this,” said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Anger over foreigners in general, which has probably spread from the military to NGOs and the UN and other actors, just needs a little spark and things can be set alight.”‘

La quema de un Corán en EE UU causa otros 10 muertos en Afganistán
El Pais, 3 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here: ‘”El nivel de irritación entre los afganos se ha disparado a causa del aumento de las víctimas de las fuerzas occidentales, las últimas en Kunar y Helmand. El incidente del Corán se ha sumado a ese malestar”, resume. Ruttig precisa que “eso no justifica lo sucedido, pero es un factor que hay que tener en consideración”.’

About the Mazar riots
Deutsche Welle (english), 2 April 2011
Listen to the audio of an interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan: when gentle Mazar-e-Sharif erupted in violence
Guardian, 2 April 2011
Jon Boone quotes from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog here on the reasons for the violence in Mazar that ‘[t]here is a lot of anger after years in which western military operations have caused an accumulation of civilian casualty cases,” wrote Thomas Ruttig, director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. “Afghans are tired of the repeated initial denials, then admission that something may have gone wrong and then apologies. Paying compensation might be nice gestures but cannot bring anyone back to life.’

Attacke in Afghanistan: UN-Mitarbeiter ermordet
tageszeitung (Berlin), 1 April 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reports about the attack at the UN regional office in Mazar-e Sharif during which eight international UN staff and several protesters were killed. Eyewitnesses from the northern Afghan city say that some of the demonstraters had carried arms even when marching towards the compound.

UN staff killed by Afghan mob enraged over Florida Quran burning
Christian Science Monitor, 1 April 2011
“In general you can easily rally people around issues such as insulting the Koran and insulting the prophet,” says Martine van Bijlert, codirector of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. “But other than that I think there is also an increasing tension and annoyance with the international presence and so a demonstration like that does get mixed up with more general suspicions about the intentions of the internationals.”


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