Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – August 2012

10 min

Political analyst on Afghanistan killings
ABC News, 31 August 2012
AAN analyst Fabrizio Foschini is featured in a long video interview regarding the ‘green on blue’ attack which cost the lives of three Australian soldiers in Uruzgan, and more broadly on the possible origin of these attacks and the concerns they create for the future among both foreigners and Afghans.

Afganci sa búria proti Talibanu
SME (Slovakia), 31 August 2012
In an article about the anti-Taleban uprisings, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted: ‘„Povstania nie sú spojené, nejde o jednotné hnutie. Každé má lokálne dôvody, prečo k nemu prišlo. No môžeme vidieť, že nespokojnosť s Talibanom v krajine sa šíri,“ povedal pre SME Thomas Ruttig, analytik z Kábulu. Rebeli hovorili, že rovnako ako Taliban odmietajú aj centrálnu afganskú vládu, ktorú považujú za skorumpovanú. Ruttig však dodáva, že napríklad rebeli v Ghazní dostávajú podporu od amerických vojakov či afganskej armady’.

Afghan insider attacks roil Nato
AFP, 30 August 2012
AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini is extensively quoted on ‘green-on-blue’ attacks: ‘“I believe (the scale of the insider attacks) is unprecedented in the history of war,” Fabrizio Foschini of the Afghanistan Analysts Network told AFP. “It is one of the developments that Isaf is most concerned about because it represents both a military setback on the ground and it conveys a very negative perception to home public opinion.” Foschini agrees with Nato’s assessment that most attacks are due to cultural differences, and points out that many Afghans say they got on better with Russian soldiers during the Soviet Union’s 10-year occupation in the 1980s. The religious divide is also part of the picture, Foschini says, and some observers have linked the increase in attacks to the burning of Qurans at a US military base in February this year. But “the polarisation between who is a foreigner and who is an Afghan is becoming bigger because of the prolonged war and prolonged foreign presence, which is raising some hostility”, he says.’

Karzai replaces top officials in Afghan Cabinet shake-up
AP, 29 August 2012
On the rumours surrounding Karzai’s new appointments: “With the elections coming, with the transition … it is a time for him to re-strengthen his team,” said Martine van Bijlert, an expert at the Afghan Analysts Network. “I think we could be seeing a major reshuffle. … The question is always: Can he make it stick?” and on the controversial possible appointment of Assadullah Khaled as head of NDS: “He is part of the circle of people that Karzai likes to appoint. He’s always had friends among the internationals, people that really like to work with him. But he’s always had pretty strong critics as well, and that is particularly because he had a record of human rights abuses when he was governor of Ghazni and governor of Kandahar.”

Rätselraten um Taliban-Massaker
tageszeitung (Berlin), 28 August 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reports and comments on the contradictory reports about the massacre of 17 civilians in northern Helmand (in German).

Afghan beheadings could signal confusion in Taliban ranks
Reuters, 28 August 2012
Article quotes from recent AAN blog: “Judging from his [Mullah Omar’s] words, the main strategic goal seems to remain the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate, maybe in a somewhat more ‘pluralistic’ way,” said Afghanistan Analysts Network author Thomas Ruttig in a blog this week, referring to the Taliban regime that held power until 2001.

The operation in N Waziristan
Pakistan Today, 27 August 2012
In a comment, before the backdrop of a possible new military operation in Waziristan, the author worries about in which the strategy the operation fits. He is worried about the announced Western withdrawal from Afghanistan in Waziristan’s neighbourhood and about possible conflict there, quoting an earlier AAN blog by Martine van Bijlert: ‘Around the time of the Quran burning incident, Martine van Bijlert of the Afghanistan Analysts’ Network wrote in an analysis, “The demonstrations are a combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration and groups wanting to stir trouble”. “It is difficult to predict how bad things will get; this will depend largely on who manages to control – or hijack – the expressions of anger.”’

Nasiruddin Haqqani (a.k.a Dr. Khan): The Haqqani Network’s Emissary and Fundraiser
Jamestown Foundation, 24 August 2012
A contribution for the think-tank analysis another son of Jalaluddin Haqqani and finds diverging biographical data: ‘While scholars like Thomas Ruttig found that Nasiruddin is younger of them all, one Confidential NATO/ISAF document depicting the detainees perspectives on the State of Taliban (January 2012) noted that Nasiruddin is the eldest, followed by Sirajuddin and Badruddin’.

Grün gegen blau: Getötete ISAF-Soldaten in Afghanistan
tageszeitung (Berlin), 24 August 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reports on the latest series of kiilings of western soldiers by Afghan soldiers and policemen and says that, despite Taleban claims, the reason mainly lay in the growing frustration among Afghans about what they preceive as the failed Western mission in their country that is also reaching the security forces (in German).

Operation Eigensicherung: NATO-Truppen in Afghanistan schützen vor allem sich selbst
tageszeitung (Berlin), 24 August 2012
In a comment accompanying his article on the ‘Green-on-Blue’ attacks, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig argues that NATO prioritises protecting itself (so-called ‘force protection’) over its original mandate – to protect the Afghan civilian and started treating the Afghan security forces – officially an ‘ally’ – in fact like potential enemies. The #green-on-blue’ attacks also undermine a central point of NATO’s post-2014 strategy, training the ANSF.

‘Gemeinsam rein, gemeinsam raus’ erodiert
Neues Deutschland (Berlin), 22 August 2012
An article by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on the erosion of the unified NATO approach of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, after New Zealand indicated that it will probably pull out troops earlier after the killing of 5 NZ soldiers this months (in German, subscribers only).

The return of the Taliban puritans?
Himal (Kathmandu), 21 August 2012
At the backdrop of the Taleban attack against a hotel in Kabul and the execution of a woman-‘adulterer’ in Parwan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig discusses – on the basis of an earlier AAN blog – whether this means the return of the puritanic strand in the Taleban, and concludes that actions like these may rather reflect the sharp conflict within the Taleban movement whether to accept talks as a way towards a political solution. And he looks at the beginnings of what some observers (and Afghans) hope might the start of a end-the-war movement.

Afghanistan ‘insider’ attacks pose threat to West’s exit strategy
Los Angeles Times, 20 August 2012
AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini comments on the recent upsurge of green-on-blue attacks: ‘I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but I think it’s understandable in a war situation which is lasting for more than a decade. The conflict has been becoming worse, nastier — and the presence of foreign troops doesn’t seem in the eyes of many Afghans to have brought positive changes.’

Die Wunderwaffe der UN: Lakhdar Brahimi wird Syrien-Gesandter
tageszeitung (Berlin), 18 August 2012
A short portrait, with some Afghanistan-related facts, of Lakhdar Brahimi by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German).

Taliban unterwandern afghanische Sicherheitskräfte
DRS (Swiss radio), 18 August 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig in an interview (in German): Taleban infiltration is only one explanation for the increased number of killings of western military advisors, it is also a result of general dissatisfaction and rejection of the western presence in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan War: NATO, Taliban Wage War Of Words Over Afghan Deaths
AP, 18 August 2012
Beyond statistics, the Afghan conflict is as much a ‘war of perceptions’ as it is a fight on the battlefield, said Thomas Ruttig, who co-directs the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul. ‘The Taliban are attacking what they consider legitimate targets,’ such as the Afghan police and army, foreign troops as well as Afghan government officials and their supporters, he said. ‘When they are attacking what they say are legitimate targets, they often do not care about bystanders.’ Not quoted here: He also said that the Taleban’s definition of legitimate targets collides with the definition of civilians in international humanitarian law.

Afghan Attacks On Western Partners Rising Sharply
NPR, 17 August 2012
AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini agrees that constant battlefield pressure can lead to a breakdown of relationships between Western and Afghan troops and comments. ‘I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but I think it’s understandable in a war situation, which is lasting for more than a decade, and the presence of foreign troops doesn’t seem in the eyes of many Afghans to have brought positive changes’.

Afghan Politicking after the Rebellion in Tajik Badakhshan
Central Asia Newswire, 17 August 2012
The news service republished Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog ‘Afghan Politicking after the Rebellion in Tajik Badakhshan’.

Manager (Thailand), 13 August 2012
โท มัส รุตติก (Thomas Ruttig) ผู้อำนวยการร่วมของ อัฟกานิสถาน อะนาลิสต์ เน็ตเวิร์ก (Afghanistan Analysts Network) อันเป็นองค์การวิจัยอิสระในกรุงคาบูล …

UK faces legal challenge over US ‘kill list’
Press TV (Iran), 11 August 2012
The official Iranian website also picks up the story of the legal challenge to the NATO ‘kill list’ in Afghanistan, quoting from the Guardian and the Common Dreams blog, mentioning the role of Kate Clark#s AAN report about the incident in Takhar.

U.K. sued over U.S. ‘kill list’
The Hindu, 11 August 2012
The Indian daily picks up the report of the Guardian two days earlier (see there).

Afghan resident to file law suit against British Defence Ministry
Voice of Russia, 10 August 2012
The agency reports that an Afghan bank worker, Habib Rahman, sues the UK Defence Ministry on what he believes was falsified information about a relatives who was put on a ‘kill list’ and killed in a NATO airstrike, adding that ‘a detailed analysis of the incident by the Afghanistan Analysts Network dismissed the [NATO] report’ about the incident.

Legal challenge to UK over Afghanistan ‘kill list’
BBC, 10 August 2012
A report about a legal challenge of the UK’s contribution to a NATO ‘kill list’ in Afghanistan mentions that Kate Clark’s ‘detailed investigation’ for AAN gave evidence about an attack in Takhar province was ‘a case of mistaken targeting’.

Britain faces legal challenge over secret US ‘kill list’ in Afghanistan
The Guardian, 9 August 2012
The report highlights concerns about the legality of the UK intelligence’s role in compiling a ‘kill list’ of individuals to be targeted by Nato operations in Afghanistan. Kate Clark and her AAN paper researching the killing of Zabet Amanullah in Takhar are quoted about the risks of nabbing the wrong persons.

Karsai in Zugzwang: Zwei Minister in Afghanistan gestürzt
tageszeitung (Berlin), 8 August 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments on the vote of no confidence for the Afghan ministers for defence and interior, saying that President Karzai will have to appont another Northern Alliance minister in order to be able to mobilise non-Pashtun votes in northern Afghanistan in the 2014 elections.

Als vreemden geen vrede meer brengen (When Strangers No Longer Bring Peace)
Trouw (NL daily), 9 August 2012
Article on concerns in Bamyan over the impending transition and what this might mean for minorities quotes AAN’s Martine van Bijlert.

Afghan defense minister quits, hands Karzai a security headache
Reuters, 7 August 2012
Fabrizio Foschini’s AAN blog is quoted here: ‘Karzai’s next moves will be watched very closely by many sides, in particular in the context of his recent announcements of a long list of new “reform” and anti-corruption measures […]. Karzai will have to operate carefully. There are already grumblings about the provisional solution of keeping the two ‘impeached’ officials as acting ministers, even though this may be mainly motivated by the need to avoid troubles in the security organs at a critical stage of transition’..

Afghanistan Sacks Its Security Chiefs: How Will That Affect U.S. Forces?
Time, 7 August 2012
Fabrizio Foschini of the Afghanistan Analysts Network says it is “realistic” that Army Chief of Staff General Sher Muhammad Karimi will be considered for the now vacated Defense Ministry chief post, since ‘he is from Paktia [a province that shares a frontier with Pakistan] and has taken a very tough stance on the border issue, spicing it up with nationalist declarations about Afghanistan’s borders.’

Some Afghans, fed up with Taliban, fight back
USA Today, 5 August 2012
A brief quote of AAN’s Thomas Ruttig in this article about the anti-Taleban ‘uprisings’ in some provinces – that the uprisings are limited to a few areas and that what may look like spontaneous uprisings may actually be part of inter-factional power struggles.

Karzai agrees to replace two key ministers after no-confidence vote
Stars and Stripes, 5 August 2012
It’s still too early to tell if this vote represents a new boldness in parliament or a one-time move borne of anger over the attacks, but there is no question it was a major milestone, said Fabrizio Foschini, a political analyst with the Kabul-based Afghan [sic] Analysts Network. ‘This is undoubtedly one of the biggest achievements they can boast of,’ he said. ‘It’s one of the major actions it has taken.’ Foschini did warn, though, that Karzai’s decision to keep the ousted ministers on an interim basis could be open-ended. ‘It could last for one week, one month — I don’t want to say one year.’

Drug trade, violence tear at Tajik society
Washington Times, 3 August 2012
In an article about the latest clashes in Tajik Badakhshan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on possible Taleban links of the ‘rebels’: ‘But Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network says it’s unlikely that the predominantly Sunni Taliban would have much in common with the Pamiri ethnic group that dominates the area and adheres to Shia Islam. The “Pamiri and the Taliban ideology do not fit together at all,” Mr. Ruttig says. “So if there are links, they have to do with drug trafficking and other illicit trade. And there, ideological differences do not matter much.”‘

Realitní bublina v Kábulu splaskla. Kupci prchají
T`, 3 August 2012
The Czech website quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig: že doznívající “vojensko-nezisková” ekonomika nafoukla ceny realit do nepřirozených výšin a vedla k pokřivení trhu. Mezinárodní měnový fond odhaduje, že v roce 2010 tvořila zahraniční pomoc 97 procent afghánského HDP.

Irrtum Kundus
Augen geradeaus! (blog), 2 August 2012
The German blog on security issues finds Wörmer’s new AAN report an ‘interesting view at Kunduz […] mainly from a German perspective because the German forces deployed there under ISAF regularly became targets of attacks or were involved in skirmishes […]. The author draws conclusions for the Germans’ initial take on the situation there that are not very flattering’.

Das Märchen vom sicheren Kundus
Financial Times Deutschland, 2 August 2012
The German-language daily picks up the latest AAN report by Nils Wörmer, ‘The Networks of Kunduz’, that – as author Joachim Zepelin writes – ‘disenchants the perceived wise choice of Kunduz as the location of Germany’s solidaric contribution in the fight against terror as pure cluelessness. […] The paper is an important contribution to understand why, only a few years after the arrival of the German soldiers, the situation in some areas of the province crept out of control’.

With journalist’s arrest, has Afghan election season begun?
Christian Science Monitor
, 1 August 2012
In a report about the controversial arrest of editor-in-chief and opposition politician Dr Yasa, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that he does not see a systematic ‘misusing the security institutions’ by the Karzai government. ‘That suggests internal coherence and a systematic persecution of rivals or critics, which we (AAN) do not see’. The security, judiciary, and civil institutions are still unstable, and [in a number of cases] run by people with personal or factional loyalties, and often with little regard for the rule of law. ‘There are laws, often relatively good ones, but they are not implemented, and those with power can afford to ignore them, put themselves above them. This gives them the room to carry out personal or political vendettas, and if you are the target of one, there is no trustworthy institution you can take recourse to.’

Afghan army still far from ready to go it alone
AP, 1 August 2012
‘Martine van Bijlert of the Afghan [sic] Analysis [sic] Network, a think tank in Kabul, said the Afghanistan National Army was conceived and built in haste. After eleven years of the U.S. and NATO presence “you could have trained a pretty good officer core, if you had planned for it and had invested in the longer term,” she said. “But in practice, much of the efforts were geared to either quickly getting boots on the ground as auxiliary forces to the U.S. and other international troops or to reaching virtual numbers that could be reported on.” The approach of 2014 “has focused minds somewhat,” she said, “but there still is a tendency to focus on optimistic progress reports in the face of a very messy reality.”‘


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