Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – August 2011

8 min

Mullah Omar: Fine, I Didn’t Want to Run Afghanistan Anyway, 30 August 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted in a Registan blog (not accessible from Afghanistan) on Mullah Omar’s Eid message, observing as of particular note the softer line toward the Kabul government and suggestion that the Taliban doesn’t seek to monopolize power.

Report: U.S. Special Forces May Have Killed BBC Journalist in Afghanistan 
DemocracyNow, 29 August 2011
Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, a 25-year-old BBC journalist, was one of 20 people killed in a Taliban suicide bombing at a TV station. An investigation by the Afghanistan Analysts Network has concluded that Omed may have survived the suicide bombs only to be shot dead by U.S. special forces. The report said, “This case raises questions as to whether, in an admittedly dangerous and difficult situation, ‘looking Afghan’ can be enough for international forces to believe there is hostile intent and an imminent threat.”

Afghan Taliban victory predicted in letter
LA Times, 29 August 2011
On Mullah Omar’s Eid message: Of particular note was the softer line toward the Kabul government and suggestion that the Taliban doesn’t seek to monopolize power, said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network.

The Torture Memos
New Statesman, 29 August 2011
Kate Clark, together with Angus Stickler from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, disclose that the UK and other ISAF contributors hand over prisoners accused of being members of the insurgency to the Afghan authorities on ‘flimsy guarantees’ that they would not be tortured. Now, NATO countries want to formalise this in the so-called but barely known Kopenhagen process (until now held closed for human rights groups) – undermining 60 years of the Geneva Convention.

Effort to release Idaho POW was part of scuttled Taliban talks 
Idaho State Journal, 29 August, 2011
Warlords-cum-government ministers and vice presidents are watching attempts at finding a peaceful end to the war with trepidation, each wondering “what if it unravels, who is going to come after me? Will I be the weakest in the room? They are feeling very vulnerable,” van Bijlert said.

Afghans furious US held secret talks with Taliban, leak identity, scuttle talks
AP, 29 August 2011
In this article, AP claims that the Afghan government has leaked German-organised US-Taleban contacts through Tayyeb Agha on purpose, that the talks ‘imploded’ because of the leak and that Tayyeb Agha now lives in Germany. AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is quoted here as saying that also the government-linked warlords feel that such talks could threaten their survival, that they are watching attempts at finding a peaceful end to the war with trepidation, each wondering ‘what if it unravels, who is going to come after me? Will I be the weakest in the room?‘

Libyer, passt auf!
tageszeitung (Berlin), 27 August 2011
In their joint commentary, based on Kate’s recent AAN blog, the two AAN Senior Analysts warn Libyans to be careful when accepting Western ‘stabilisation advisers’ who want to apply the lessons from Afghanistan (in German).

Afghan deadlock defies resolution
AFP, 26 August 2011
In this article about the IEC verdict on the parliamentary crisis, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that ‘I fear that this is not the solution for the problem. It is a compromise that also compromises law and practically, it leaves a lot of people on both sides — MPs now in parliament and those outside who claim they have won — dissatisfied.’

BBC journalist killed during Taliban attack ‘may have been shot by US forces’
Guardian, 26 August 2011
The Guardian picks up Kate Clark’s investigation, published in a recent blog, about the death of an Afghan journalist in Uruzgan in late July: that it was clear that Khpulwak had died from gunshot wounds, but that ‘who pulled the trigger is less clear’ and that he may have been shot dead by US special forces when the Taleban attackers were already dead.

BBC journalist ‘shot dead by US special forces during raid on the Taliban’
Daily Telegraph, 26 August 2001
The London daily picks up Kate Clark’s AAN blog that according to an ANN investigation, U.S. Special Forces may have killed BBC and Pajhwok journalist Ahmed Omed Khpulwak during an attempt to clear Taliban attackers from a government building in Tarinkot, the capital of Uruzgan province, on 28 July.

‘Es gibt auch Taliban, die politisch denken’
Spiegel online, 22 August 2011
A tour-de-force interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig through a number of Afghan issues, from the West biggest mistakes to the (in)transigence of the Taleban (in German)

Afghan Election Panel Seeks to Expel Nine Legislators on Electoral Fraud
Wall Street Journal, 22 August 2011
In this report about the IEC verdict about the parliamentary crisis AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is quoted as saying that the continuing drama had exposed a dysfunctional political system. ‘Everybody has come out damaged. I think it has discredited everybody who was involved.’

Afghan election body throws out nine lawmakers
AFP, 21 August 2011
In a report about the ongoing parliamentary crisis, the news agency quotes from an AAN blog written by Martine van Bijlert: ‘This last chapter of the scuffle is likely be messy as the various sides are mobilising their people and using increasingly heated language. The standoff has harmed the legitimacy of all three powers of government, who now feel justified to consistently contest each other’s authorities.’

Taliban si v Kábule trúfol na British Council
SME (Slovakia), 19 August 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on the Taleban attack at the Kabul British Council:’Taliban tým hovorí, že môže zaútočiť kdekoľvek. A je tu aj historické memento. […]Taliban odkázal Britom, že dvakrát sa neúspešne snažili dobyť krajinu v 19. storočí a nepodarí sa im to ani teraz ‘

Afghans brace for economic fallout of U.S. exit
Los Angeles Times, 19 August 2011
In a report about Afghan business’s future, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted about wasted opportunities: ‘It was a golden opportunity. But who’s to blame [for squandering it] ? Sure there’s huge corruption. But how the economy works, the political system, were imposed by the West.’

Can a Taliban Rulebook Stanch Civilian Deaths?
Eurasianet, 17 August 2011
Aunohita Mojumdar picks up Kate Clark’s AAN report about the Taleban layha in which she argues that the code should be ‘used to help chart a tougher and fairer approach by expecting the Taliban to at least uphold their own stated norms’. Aunahita also interviews analysts of an Afghan think tank and of ANSO about the issue.

Taleban attack on the provincial centre of Parwan (not online)
Radio France International, 15 August 2011
An interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig who gives background information to the attack: that Parwan province, considered to be relatively calm so far, provides another example how the insurgents were able to use ethnic and economic marginalisation of Pashtun minority groups to get a foothold in an area that allows them to start such ‘complex attacks’, i.e. using multiple suicide bombers commando-style and inflict a lot of harm, on the government which is perceived to be unable even to protect its provincial centres, and civilian casualties.

U.N. pushes risky plan to resolve Afghan election impasse 
McClatchy, 14 August 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the ongoing parliamentary stand-off: “They [the opposition] are trying to make this about a government that’s corrupt and a president who tramples the law.” and “To have sustained demonstrations that have an impact is difficult and you need to control them, Demonstrations that turn violent will actually discredit the opposition.”

No surrender, no regrets for Taliban turncoat 
Brisbane Times, 13 August 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on talking to the Taleban: ”Contacting them, talking to them, and hopefully at some point, seriously negotiating with them, is a must. It will still take time, and a lot more people will be killed, unfortunately, but it has to be done, because the Taliban are too big to be destroyed militarily.”

Afghanistan’s future murkier as Karzai disavows third term
Christian Science Monitor, 12 August 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on Karzai’s announcement that he will not run for President a third time (“Those who are suspicious of him and what he’s trying to do won’t necessarily be reassured by a statement three years before the election”), the main concerns of the political players (“A lot of people are much more concerned with long-term processes. They are asking themselves: In the longer term, who is going to be on top, and how can I make sure I’m not the one who can be kicked down?”), and Afghanistan’s future (“There’s a lot of pessimism around that says this will all ultimately end in civil war. It’s possible, but it’s really not inevitable”).

Hamid Karzai says he will not seek third term
The Telegraph, 11 August 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the palace statement that Karzai will not seek a third term: ‘The timing of this in relation to the actual third term is strange because there is still so much time to go. Saying it now will not ease people’s concerns that he won’t do it later, because he can still change his mind.’

Afghan president issues decree that courts cannot change election results
The Washington Post, 10 August 2011
Article quotes AAN’s researcher Gran Hewad on the Presidential order: “I think a compromise has already happened between the palace and the IEC,” He said that he would expect somewhere between five and 17 candidates will be removed.

Warlord Matiullah Khan’s police post a new risk for Diggers 
The Australian, 10 August 2011
Article quotes AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the appointment of Uruzgan strongman Mattiullah as provincial police chief: ‘This confirms the increasing paramilitary nature of the police forces and the trend to return to the old networks.’ And on the likelihood that his appointment could fuel instability in the province: ‘It’s quite possible history will repeat itself and that (rival) tribes will again be targeted, which will exacerbate fighting. It depends on how he behaves.’

Die afghanische Inteqal-Strategie (not online)
Business&Diplomacy (Berlin), 2/2011, pp. 40-42
This article of AAN’s Thomas Ruttig looks at the challenges for the NATO-driven transition process in Afghanistan, argues that they only can be overcome by a strong post-2014 engagement and concludes that the process otherwise harbours ‘incalculable risks’.

Karzai: Court cannot change election results
Al Jazeera, 10 August 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the Presidential order: “It’s so muddled. The aim of this statement was not to bring clarity, but to push through a compromise. The question is whether the compromise will go through as agreed.”

Taliban nehmen Elite ins Visier
Tagesspiegel (Berlin), 8 August 2011
The article quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on the Taleban’s ‘assassination campaign’, that it mirrors the US capture-or-kill campaign and undermines Afghans’ confidence in their security forces further.

The Limits of the Surge: Petraeus’ Legacy in Afghanistan 
Time, 8 August 2011
Article argues that ‘the surge – and other initiatives of the general – have not been the unalloyed successes they have been made out to be’ and quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig: ‘The surge has not worked, despite all the statistics doled out, which I think very often are selective,’ and ‘In 2008-2009 there was a clear tendency within the Taliban, a readiness to explore talks. And that’s just been destroyed by the surge.’

Påført sitt største tap
Aftenpost, 7 August 2011
Spesialsoldatene er regnet som blant de viktigste i amerikanernes militære strategi, enten de står bak nattoperasjoner eller målrettede attentat. Dette er dermed et slag i ansiktet (for USA), fordi det slo dem i den delen de verdsetter mest, sier Martine van Bijlert i tankesmien Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Irrationality at its Worst 
Outlook Afghanistan, 6 August 2011
Afghan journalists Abbas Daiyar responds to recent allegations against AAN’s Thomas Ruttig by Weesa’s editor Zubair Shafiqi and calls for civil society representation at the upcoming Bonn conference.

No aid, no growth: Support for Afghanistan’s economy is shrinking
Deutsche Welle (english), 5 August 2011
In this analysis of Afghanistan’s economic prospects, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted extensively, about the Western withdrawal (‘when the soldiers go, the money will go with them. I am afraid that after 2014, Afghanistan will be treated just as any other developing country’), the dangers of the worldwide privatisation, about the ‘loosely knit system of political patronage’ (‘the biggest economic entrepreneurs are very often linked to political circles in Kabul – and they know how to access international funds aid’) and about the reluctance of many donor governments to have evaluated ‘what has been done in their development projects’ (the author did not quote that I was talking about a ‘genuinely external’ evaluation.

Afghanische Wirtschaft auf Pump
Deutsche Welle (German), 5 August 2011
German version of a same day article in English on the economic situation in Afghanistan, possible repercussions of a Western withdrawal and the influence of Western funding on corruption, with a number of quotations from AAN’s Thomas Ruttig

Sieben Übergangszonen in Afghanistan
tageszeitung (Berlin), 3 August 2011
In addition to a reportage from Kabul, the Berlin daily prints short portrays of the seven areas covered by the first phase of ‘transition’ written by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German).


Government Pakistan Press Taliban US