Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN in the media – February 2012

12 min

Der verlorene Krieg
ZDF (German TV), 28 February 2012
This is one feature in the ‘Frontal 21’ political magazine dealing with the question whether the Afghanistan mission has failed and what role Germany’s Bundeswehr played in it. It included some statements by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, but you can watch a longer interview with him (both in German) further down on the website.

The Quran Burnings (audio)
Voice of Russia, 28 February 2012
Audio of an interview with Kate Clark with the Voice of Russia radio.

Obraz Ameriky u Afgancov klesol na dno 
SME (Slovakia), 27 February 2012
Quotes from AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on the protests after the Quran burnings: ‘”Afganci sú veľmi nábožní a sú veľmi zdesení, keď sa stanú incidenty ako pálenie Koránu,“ vysvetľuje súčasnú situáciu analytik Thomas Ruttig zo Siete analytikov Afganistanu. Najhorší imidž Obraz Spojených štátov je aj pre incident v krajine najhorší od invázie. „Áno, dosiahol nové dno. Veľa ľudí je presvedčených, že Američania sú tu iba pre vlastné záujmy – základne, nerasty, a nie aby im zlepšili život. Afganci už viac nevnímajú medzinárodnú prítomnosť v krajine pozitívne,“ hovorí Ruttig. Dodáva, že nespokojný dav manipuluje aj Taliban a iní extrémisti.’

Another Year, Another Year of Turning Points
Registan (blog), 27 February 2012
Following up on his blog last year where he mocked people who discover ‘turning points’ all the time, Registani blogger Joshua Foust found new uses of the term, with Secretary Panetta and also AAN’s Martine van Bijlert. Hers, however, is more qualified (even if I am partial here), saying about the Quran burning protests: ‘It has never been as bad as this and it could be a turning point’.

Afghan Rage
France 24, 27 February 2012
Discussion on the Koran burning with Assad Omer, Afghan Ambassador to France; Ronald Neumann. Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan (2005 to 2007); Adam Baczko, PhDD researcher EHESS Institute and AAN’s Thomas Ruttig.

Taliban looks for gain in continuing Afghanistan violence
Stars and Stripes, 27 February 2012
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert (partially) quoted, describing prospects for peace as “pretty shaky.” “You have a situation that could be unraveling,” she said. “You have so many parties around the peace table and so many that are not at the table. What’s happening now could lead to fragmentation among the [insurgent] groups, the Afghan government, the [coalition] countries.”

Corans brûlés : “La société afghane a su faire preuve de retenue”
Le Monde, 27 February 2012
Interview with Martine van Bijlert on the Koran burning, its aftermath and its implications.

Koran burnings put the heat on ISAF
Deutsche Welle, 26 February 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here as saying that the protests being witnessed Sunday were no longer directly connected to the Koran burnings but an expression of Afghans’ anger at the way they are treated by the international community: ‘What angers Afghans much more is that Special Forces kill people in their night raids who are rebels [or might be no rebels]. That’s been happening more and more lately.’ The West’s strategy in Afghanistan needs a wide-ranging rethink- ‘Over the short term all we can hope for is that the Afghan officials can have a calming effect,” he said adding that Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well as some mullahs have called for peace.

Afghanistan in fiamme, analista: nel Paese rabbia e frustrazione
TM News (Roma), 26 February 2012
Ma dietro le manifestazioni c’è una sommatoria di fattori, come spiega l’analista Martine van Bijlert. “Credo – spiega la studiosa – che ci siano diverse cause concomitanti. Una è certamente la profanazione del Corano. E’ un’azione che gli afgani hanno sentito come un insulto, e che ha scatenato la rabbia”. “Poi – aggiunge van Bijlert – c’è il fatto che a bruciare il Corano sono stati gli americani, e questo ha provocato grande frustrazione. Le forze statunitensi sono venute qui, promettendo di aiutare gli afgani. Dieci anni dopo non abbiamo idea di quello che è accaduto e di quello che succederà in futuro”

Afghan-U.S. ties hit an unprecedented low over Quran burning
AFP, 26 February 2012
“It has never been as bad as this and it could be a turning point” in the West’s 10-year mission in the war-torn country, said Martine van Biglert [sic] of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. “There has been a very serious case of undermined trust and it really depends on whether it goes further downhill from here or the two sides get a chance to repair the damage.”

Quran-Burning Protests Escalate 
Wall Street Journal, 25 February 2012
Martine van Biljert, co-director of the independent Afghanistan Analysts Network, described the day as better than people feared. “It may be difficult to explain to the rest of the world, but in a way this is what relative restraint looks like in a country awash with weapons and frustration, and that has suffered for decades from the young men itching for a fight and the leaders accustomed to using religiously fueled violence as a political tool,” she wrote on her group’s blog.

Die Folgen einer Bücherverbrennung
Paropamisus (blog), 25 February 2012
Our frequent guest blogger Martin Gerner quotes Martine van Biljert in his blog entry about the Quran burning protests: ‘„..the outright majority of the population either stayed inside or went home peacefully after attending Friday prayers. Most demonstrations ended without incident and none of them were massive (the largest seem to have counted a few thousand demonstrators). There was anger, for sure, but there was also a lot of restraint. Across the country people have been calling for calm and patience in their communities, not wanting to see more bloodshed. They did not manage to preempt all violence and we may still see nasty riots in the coming days, but it will be difficult for anyone to argue that the rioters are acting on behalf of the whole population.“

Afghan anger over Koran burning an emblem of nation’s culture war
LA Times, 25 February 2012
“This is not just about relations with the U.S.,” researcher Martine van Bijlert wrote on the website of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in the first days of the Koran-burning protests. “This is part of a wider struggle over what kind of society Afghanistan is becoming, over who the custodians of religious power will be and what they will use it for.”

Mission Eigensicherung
tageszeitung (Berlin), 25 February 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments (In German) about the premature withdrawal of the German troops from PAT Taloqan: strategically this doesn’t make a difference, but it symbolises the failure of the Bundeswehr and Germany’s Afghanistan policy which has put self-defence over Afghan interests since a long time.

Was passiert gerade in Afghanistan? (not online)
Nordwestradio (Bremen), 25 February 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the latest protests in Afghanistan and their background.

Afghan soldier kills two NATO troops at protests
Reuters, 24 February 2012
Reuters repeats Martine van Bijlert’s quote that the demonstrations were a combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration over economic and security conditions, and groups wanting to stir trouble.

Proteste in Afghanistan weiten sich aus
Radio Eins (Germany), 24 February 2012
Seit Dienstag demonstrieren in Afghanistan Menschen wegen der Verbrennung des Koran durch US-Soldaten. Jeden Tag heftiger: Bis zu 17 Tote hat es bereits gegeben, die meisten davon Demonstranten, am Donnerstag wurden auch zwei ISAF-Soldaten erschossen. Die radikal-islamischen Taliban nutzten den Aufruhr, um zum Töten von Ausländern aufzurufen. Sogar im Parlament wurde vereinzelt der Ruf nach dem Dschihad, dem Heiligen Krieg gegen die ausländischen Truppen, laut. Trotz offizieller Entschuldigung von US-Präsident Obama befürchten Beobachter, dass der Konflikt nach den heutigen Freitags-Gebeten weiter eskalieren könnte. Über die Lage sprechen wir mit Thomas Ruttig, Ko-Direktor des unabhängigen “Afghanistan-Analyse-Netzwerkes” mit Sitz in Kabul und Berlin.

‘Afghanistan hat schon zu viele Entschuldigungen gehört’
Süddeutsche (online), 24 February 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) about the background and consequences of the Quran burnings and the following demonstrations.

‘Die Nato-Truppe steht moralisch in der Pflicht’
Tagesspiegel (online), 24 February 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) about the Western troops who have overstayed their welcome in Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s Islamist who try to establish a religiously embellished hegemony and a young generation that is open for their populist anti-Western rhetoric.

As Afghan Riots Subside, Anger over Koran Burning Simmers 
TIME, 24 February 2012
“Today was quite crucial because [the Koran burning and protests] are still fresh. You had frustration and outrage, and you had people manipulating those feelings. So the big question was: who was going to capture that outrage and frustration and how bad was it going to get,” says Martine van Bijlert, a founder of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. And more.

Koran Protests Resume in Afghanistan Despite U.S. Apology
New York Times, 24 February 2012
Martine van Bijlert on Friday’s riots: “The violence is almost within the normal realm of things that you would see after this kind of incident. The big question is, how long does it go on? You have to watch who jumps on the bandwagon. It is very intense, and there’s the feeling that all areas need to have had their own demonstration if they haven’t had one yet.”

Taliban exploit Koran burning
The Australian, 24 February 2012
‘Afghan [sic] Analysts Network spokeswoman Martine van Bijlert described the Koran burning as “thoughtless”, but defined the furious protests as a “combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration and groups wanting to stir trouble.” ‘

Culture wars: The burning of the Koran
Reuters (blog), 24 February 2012
Author wonders how you can ‘inadvertently’ burn books and, more importantly, how soldiers can be so ignorant of the consequences of their action. He quotes AAN’s Martine van Bijlert from her blog: ”The desecration of the a Quran to many Afghans is even more emotive than civilian casualties or disrespect towards dead bodies and there is more social pressure to react,”

Weitere Tote bei Koran-Protesten
Deutschlandradio, 24 February 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the protests’ backgrounds: ‘The rage is rather strong. We can’t tell whether there will be more organised protests take place over the next days and whether some of them will get out of control and lead to riots during which also offices of foreign organisations might be attacked.’

BBC World News: Quran burning protests
BBC World (South Asia), 24 February 2012
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is interviewed on the Quran burnings for BBC’s 9 pm news.

Koran-Verbrennung verstärkt Ruf als Besatzungsmacht
Zeit Online (Germany), 24 February 2012
‘Die Demonstrationen in Afghanistan sind eben nicht nur religiös motiviert, sagt Thomas Ruttig, Co-Direktor des Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul: “Das islamistische Lager instrumentalisiert die spontane Empörung und die Proteste für sich.”‘

Afghanistan, due soldati Usa uccisi: è rappresaglia per il Corano bruciato 
Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italy), 23 February 2012
Martine van Bijlert, dell’Afghanistan Analysts Network ha detto che quello che sta succedendo è una combinazione di indignazione religiosa, gruppi che vogliono fomentare i problemi e frustrazione per la mancanza di sicurezza e le condizioni economiche.

Tote und Verletzte bei Protesten wegen Koranschändung
Tagesspiegel (Berlin), 23 February 2012
In a report about te protests after the burning of Qurans by US troops in Bagram, the Berlin daily quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig as saying that there are religious reasons and political instrumentalisation behind the demonstration. He also points to the danger that arises from the tendency that Afghans increasingly ‘put all foreigners in one pot’.

Politologe wirft westlichen Akteuren in Afghanistan Ignoranz vor
Deutschlandradio, 23 February 2012
Transcript of an interview (in German) with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the Quran burnings in Afghanistan and the resulting protests: Thomas says that the burnings show wide-spread ignorance of Western actors in Afghanistan but that the protests are also manipulated for political ends.

Taliban urge Afghans to kill “invaders” amid violent protests
Reuters, 23 February 2012
‘Martine van Bijlert, from the respected Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), said the demonstrations were a combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration over economic and security conditions, and groups wanting to stir trouble. “There have been different kinds of outrage. One is the bewilderment felt by many Afghans, and foreigners, that after ten years of efforts in Afghanistan there was apparently still no understanding of how inflammatory mistakes like that are made,” van Bijlert said on the AAN website. “Second, there is the pent-up anger and frustration with the international military, but also with life in general.”‘

Taliban urge attacks to avenge Koran burning
AFP, 23 February 2012
‘The backlash over the incident is likely to continue for several more days, said Martine van Bijlert of the Afghanistan Analysts’ Network. “The demonstrations are a combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration and groups wanting to stir trouble,” she wrote in an analysis. “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.”‘

Obama: sorry voor de koranverbranding
BNR Radio (Netherlands), 23 February 2012
Radio interview with AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the latest situation (now evening, quiet, evening prayers will have set the scene for tomorrow’s unrest) and the different kinds of rage.

Afghanistan sôi sục vì kinh Koran bị đốt (Vietnam), 24 February 2012
Theo bà Martine van Bijlert, thuộc tổ chức Afghanistan Analysts’ Network, làn sóng phản ứng dữ dội trước vụ việc này có thể sẽ tiếp tục trong vài ngày nữa. “Những cuộc biểu tình là kết quả của lòng phẫn nộ, nỗi thất vọng và sự dồn nén”, bà nhận xét. “Thật khó để dự đoán những điều tồi tệ gì sẽ xảy ra tiếp theo, tất cả đều phụ thuộc vào những người nắm giữ quyền lực, hoặc kiểm soát, hoặc lạm dụng.”tiếp tục trong vài ngày nữa.

Żołnierz zaczął strzelać do wojskowych NATO – 2 zabił
Wirtualna Polska, 23 February 2012
Według analityczki Martine van Bijlert z liczącego się ośrodka badawczego AAN demonstracje są wynikiem mieszanki oburzenia na zbezczeszczenie świętej księgi, nagromadzonej frustracji z powodu sytuacji gospodarczej i bezpieczeństwa oraz działań ugrupowań, którym zależy na sianiu zamętu.

Koran burnings test Afghan relations to West anew
dpa, 23 February 2012
Article quotes one of the labourors who found the burned Qurans, former deputy Interior Minister Abdul Hadi Khaled and AAN’s Martine van Bijlert. Among other quotes: ‘It is an illustration of the actual situation of the international community that has been here for 10 years, but that has not collectively acquired the knowledge of 10 years.’

Koran-Schändung auf US-Militärbasis in Afghanistan
DR (Swiss radio), 22 February 2012
Listen to an interview on the Quran burnings (in German) with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig.

Tote bei Protesten nach Koran-Verbrennung
ARD Tagesschau, 22 February 2012
Watch a video with AAN’s Martine van Bijlert in germany’s prime-time news (click video download under the last photo, start at 1:01 minutes)

Schwere Unruhen nach Koranschändung (Germany), 22 February 2012
Listen to an audio (in German) of AAN’s Thomas Ruttig commenting on the latest protests in Afghanistan.

Hamid Karzai reveals talks as Taliban ‘warms’ to US bases in Afghanistan 
The Australian, 17 February 2012
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the WSJ interview with Karzai: “There’s so much going on at the same time on different levels, with so many messages to different audiences. It is difficult to distil from all these public statements what’s really going on because many of them are attempts to influence the process.”

‘Auch die Taliban wollen Frieden’
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 17 February 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here as saying that on latest Karzai claims of a separate or three-way channel (together with the US) to the Taleban, that he feels sidelined by separate US contacts. He adds that the Taleban’s official reaction of talks with the government in Kabul might turn out to be dangerous for the Afghan president: ‘if the Americans feel, [direct talks] can further their withdrawal by 2014, they might sideline him [further]’.

Afgancov spája kriket a okupanti
Pravda (Slovakia), 17 February 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig answers the Slovak newspaper’s question on whether an Afghan cricket team’s victory over Pakistan can help to forge national unity, saying that maybe in the short-term and that more important issues like the war, social problems and the West’s poor performance in Afghanistan will come to the foreground again soon.

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan meet in Islamabad
Global Post, 16 February 2012
Commenting on the tripartite summit in Islamabad, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig says that ‘of course Karzai’s dependency on the west on security and budgets remains overwhelming. That limits his options [to develop regional relations, particularly with Iran]. [But] Afghanistan will have to live with its neighbors and it makes sense to establish regular exchanges’.

VJ Movement: Politietraining Kunduz: hoe werkt het elders in Afghanistan?
NRC (Netherlands daily), 13 February 2012
Article on the Dutch police mission in Kunduz quotes AAN’s recent report on the police: “Volgens een recent rapport van het gezaghebbende Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul ligt het grootste probleem van de Afghaanse politie bij de top. De leiders zijn niet goed in leiding geven, het zijn vaak charismatische, regionale sterke mannen die zich niet centraal laten sturen. Het centrale gezag is niet goed in staat om de eigen mensen te laten gehoorzamen, aldus het rapport. Ondanks alle technische verbetering en alle opleiding van agenten ten spijt, verwachten zij niet dat er een functionerende politie zal ontstaan in Afghanistan zolang dat probleem niet is opgelost.” With a video (in English, Dari and Pashto) about the ALP in Tagab.

Taliban: Changed, but still a potent threat
Bangkok Post, 12 February 2012
Another article fascinated by the fact that the Taleban appears to be making good use of social media, quotes AAN’s Kate Clark on the nature of the Taleban and the Haqqani network, and peoples’concerns on what may happen after the international forces leave.

Bildet der Westen Kämpfer für die Taliban aus?
Frankfurter Allgemein Sonntagszeitung, 12 February 2012
In an article in which the German defence minister warns that that reducing the target figures for the ANSF could drive ‘trained Afghans’ into the arms of the insurgency, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on turning former insurgents into militias: ‘This kind of

‘Die Taliban sind auch an politischen Lösungen interessiert’
Die Zeit (online), 3 February 2012
An interview of the German weekly’s online version about the US announcement of an end of combat operations in 2013 already and the leaked NATO report about the (by NATO) unreported strength of the Taleban which ‘outrageously seems to reflect a picture the very opposite of what NATO say publicly about alleged progress in Afghanistan and weakened Taleban’.

US-Abzug aus Afghanistan schon 2013
ORF (Austrian Radio), 2 February 2012
Listen to the audio of an interview (in German) with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig who is not very surprised about the US announcement to end combat operations in Afghanistan already in 2013. He says that this plan has been going around in Kabul for a while and doesn’t change the situation on the ground. The aim of this NATO step is to have one year – 2014 – to observe the situation that results from the transition strategy before most combat troops effectively leave.

Un polvorín a punto de estallar
El Mundo, 2 February 2012
The Spanish news paper summarises the joint conference organised by ASDHA and AAN, quoting AAN’s Sari Kouvo (‘”Nunca debieron llevar a las instituciones a criminales de guerra. El pueblo sabe que tienen las manos manchadas de sangre y que sus crímenes han quedado impunes’), Martine van Bijlert, Francesc Vendrell, Doris Buddenberg as well as Afghan human rights activist Hadi Marefat.

Taliban: Trust-building phase must precede Saudi talks
Middle East Online, 1 February 2012
In an article on the Taleban’s denial on a new talks channel with the Afghan government, AAN’s Kate Clark is quoted: ‘When you have all these different players trying to open up talks with the Taliban it might look to the Taliban like a deliberate ploy, an attempt to divide and rule or to get some advantage’.

TN vespre, 01/02/2012
TV3 (Catalan TV), 1 February 2012
Video of the Catalan-language evening news with interviews with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and Afghan human rights activist Hadi Marefat taken in Barcelona (starts at minute 27 of the video)..


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