Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – January 2010

7 min

The Habitus of Superiority
Brittania Radio, 29 January 2010
Article quotes Thomas Ruttig on the London conference (“has not been sufficiently prepared” and does not promise any notable results) and the reintegration plans (notes, that a similar program had already been applied years ago. One “cannot even call it unsuccessful; it was a grandiose failure.”)

Kurswechsel nach neun Jahren? (Change of Course after Nine Years?)
SWR (German TV), 28 January 2010
In a preview on theLondon conference, Thomas Ruttig is quoted on a possible Western exit strategy saying that ‘the international community – including Germany – has taken resposibility for Afghanistan [in 2001] and needs to stick to it. This includes the assessment of what has been done, self-criticism and shifts in the strategy if necessary.’

Corruption in Afghanistan
Huffington Post, 28 January 2010
Martine van Bijlert on corruption in Afghanistan: “It is true that Afghanistan has traditionally had its share of patronage and petty corruption, but that didn’t bother people so much as it does now. Now it seriously affects people’s lives and annoys them. It has become blatant and shameless and quite random. (…) The randomness is infuriating and people are powerless against it, leaving them with a sense of injustice.”

The Challenges of Reconstruction in Afghanistan
World Politics Review, 28 January 2010
Article describing some of the main discussions which took pace during the conference on PRTs in Prague, quotes Martine van Bijlert on traditional local structures and “her concern that the flurry of new programs and initiatives currently being trotted out as solutions have been designed in a hurry by people not on the ground.”

M – eine Stadt kennt ihren Herrn (“M” – a town and its master)
Neues Deutschland (Berlin), 28 January 2010
In this reportage from Uruzgan, Thomas Ruttig illustrates the problems Afghan police reform faces and ill-designed policies of Western countries that support militias on the cost of licit state institutions.

Afghanistan Seen On Tipping Point In Run-Up To London Conference 
RFE/RL, 27 January 2010
Martine van Bijlert is quoted on the London conference (“aimed at sending messages and giving a sense of momentum”), the handover of security responsibilities and outreach to the Taliban.

‘Für eine militärische Lösung ist es zu spät’ (It is too late for a military solution), 27 January 2010
In this interview with the website of German TV prime time news, Thomas Ruttig discusses the London conference and German announcements priot to it.

“Kein Taliban riskiert für eine Handvoll Dollar sein Leben”
Stern magazine (Hamburg), 27 January 2010
In this interview, Thomas Ruttig analyses shortcoming of the London conference, in particular the misconception that many Taleban are economically motivated and can therefore be bought off (in German).

Köder für Taliban-Kämpfer (A Bait for Taleban Fighters)
tageszeitung (Berlin), 25 January 2010
An article by Thomas Ruttig on Germany’s future Afghanistan strategy – with a doubled development budget and a tripling number of police trainers (well let’s see).

Geld allein lindert keinen Hass (Money Alone Won’t Decrease the Hatred)
tageszeitung (Berlin), 25 January 2010
In this commentary, Thomas Ruttig argues that the new reintegration strategy only makes sense when it is embedded in a broader strategy to reform the Kabul government and does not neglect Afghans that do not support the insurgency.

A government that functions now vital for Afghanistan
The Scotsman, 23 January 2010
Article on the political wrangling surrounding the Parliamentary votes on the Cabinet quotes AAN Co-Director Thomas Ruttig and AAN-member Minna Jarvenpaa.

Das letzte Aufgebot (The Last Stand)
Rheinischer Merkur, 21 January 2010
In this preview of the London conference, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on reconciliation and the relation between the central government and local elected bodies.

Punching Jello
The Seminal, FDL Diaires, 21 January 2010
The writer of this blog compares the war on terror with ‘punching jello’ and quotes Thomas Ruttig on the US strategy of strengthening local warlords and the need for political accommodation with the insurgents.

Allies hatch plan to lure away Taliban fighters 
Financial Times, 20 January 2010
Martine van Bijlert is quoted here, warning that re-integration schemes might simply encourage young men to alternate between fighting on behalf of the Taliban and the government “If you are unlucky you might actually get a form of labour migration, with young men travelling to the areas and joining both sides.”

Obama “magic” just another illusion
Global Post, 20 January 2010
In this article by Jean MacKenzie, Thomas Ruttig is quoted on Western governments dealing directly with and doling out funds to provincial governors that ‘this is one of the most basic contradictions within the US Afghan strategy’ because it ‘undercut[s] the center, which the international community is mandated to strengthen.’

Afghan cabinet woes raise wider government concern
Reuters, 20 January 2010
In this analysis of the new Afghan cabinet, AAN’s blog is quoted that the 16 January vote ‘reflects a basic weakness of Afghanistan’s post-Taleban state institutions: their lack of structure’.

Kabul Attack Highlights Competing U.S., Taliban Urban Strategies
Radio Free Europe, 19 January 2010
Thomas Ruttig comments on the latest Taleban attack in Kabul suggesting, as a conclusion, to to rethink usefulness of the counterinsurgency doctrine as it is being applied currently.

Afghanisches Parlament lehnt Karsais Kabinett erneut ab (Afghan Parliament rejects Karzai’s Cabinet again)
Die Welt, 18 January 2010
Article quotes Martine van Bijlert on the partial rejection of Karzai’s Cabinet, that ‘neither the President, nor the Parliament seem to know what they are trying to achieve’.

Schlüsselministerien in Afghanistan: Konservative legen zu (Key Ministries: Conservatives Get Stronger)
tageszeitung (Berlin), 18 January 2010
Thomas Ruttig reports on the latest set of approved ministers – see also the commentary linked at the end of the article.

News Summary, 15 January 2010
Middle East Institute, Pakistan Studies Centre News Summary, 15 January 2010
MEI News Summary quotes Martine van Bijlert’s blog (Where are we with the 2010 elections): “If we want to know what the 2010 [parliamentary] elections are going to look like, we should turn to the provincial council elections – which took place at the same time and which still have not been fully resolved.”

Versöhnungsplan mit Taliban (Plan for Reconciliation with the Taleban)
tageszeitung (Berlin), 15 January 2010
Article and commentary by Thomas Ruttig on the Afghan government’s draft plan for reconciliation and reintegration, its chances and challenges (in German, with link to the commentary:

2009 Deadliest Year for Afghan Civilians
Deutsche Welle (South Asia program), 13 January 2010
Listen to an audio file of Disha Uppal interviewing Thomas Ruttig on the latest UN findings on civilian casualties.

Karzai’s new Cabinet crisis
Globe and Mail, 11 January 2010
Martine van Bijlert is quoted on Karzai’s second Cabinet list: “It’s an awkward situation, but Karzai didn’t seem to be exactly wedded to his first list. I found it surprising he came up with the second list so quickly. … There is a bit of a sense that he is adrift. It’s difficult to think of Karzai of having a really clear plan or strategy at this point,” and “All of this could prove to be ultimately irrelevant.”

Jihad Cracking
“View From The Pelican’s Nest” blog, 10 January 2010
This blog quotes Thomas Ruttig on how the Taliban’s new tactics are throwing an “ideological bridge” not only to nearby countries but to parts of the current Kabul elite, most notably politically mobilized university students.

Karzai selects sacked minister for key post in Afghanistan’s new cabinet
The Guardian, 10 January 2010
Thomas Ruttig is quoted on what he calls ‘Karzai’s usual salami slice tactics’ with ‘some positive developments … but at the same … nominees that pose serious concerns for the international community and most Afghans.’

British troops set to hand frontline Afghanistan role to US
The Times, 9 January 2010
Here, AAN’s co-founder Minna Jarvenpaa is cited – as a Finnish consultant – as co-author of the plan to create a zone of stability in Helmand, along the Lashkargah-Gereshk road and quoted as saying: ‘The whole idea is that you focus on the urban centres and you create the space for improving governance,’

Private U.S. Contractors Back In The Spotlight In Iraq, Afghanistan 
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Prague), 8 January 2010
Martine van Bijlert is quoted on the problems relating to private security companies: “You are arming and entrenching local armed groups, And where international groups… are [only] a problem as long as they are there — the national groups will actually stay to be a problem potentially for quite a long while.”

Cancel the London Afghanistan Conference
The Spectator, 7 January 2010
In his op-ed which calls the forthcoming international Afghanistan conference in London a waste of time (at this point) and proposes its postponement, Daniel Korski of the European Council on Foreign Relations quotes from Thomas Ruttig’s blog that the rejection of most of Karzai’s ministers by the parliament in Kabul takes away a major yardstick with which his performace was to be measured.

Karsais schöne Demokratie (Karzai’s Brave New Democracy)
Wochenzeitung (Zurich), 7 January 2010
Thomas Ruttig comments on the rejection of Karzai’s list of ministers by the Afghan parliament.

Ban Ki Moon: Neue Strategie dringend nötig (New Strategy Urgently Needed)
ORF (Austrian) Inforadio, 7 January 2010
Read a short summary and listen to an audio of Thomas Ruttig commenting on the UN’s latest calls for a changed Afghanistan strategy.

Afghanistan 2010 – Jahr der Entscheidung?
Inforadio, 7 January 2010
Listen to a podcast of an interview with Thomas Ruttig on Afghanistan’s perspectives for 2010

Do Afghan Cabinet Rejections Mark Decline Of Warlord Power?
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 6 January 2010
In this article, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig notes that the parliament’s rejection of Karzai ministerial nominees gives the President an opportunity to demand more competent nominees from his allies and ‘has increased Karzai’s room to maneuver’. He adds that it does not reflect a decline of the warlords’ power, though.

‘In Afghanistan sollten den Worten Taten folgen’ (In Afghanistan, Words Should Be Followed By Deeds)
Swiss Radio DRS4, 4 January 2010
Listen to Thomas Ruttig’s interview (in German), i which he says that Ban Ki Moon’s words that the UN would not support Afghan elections before reforms of the procedure need to be followed by deeds.

Afghaans parlement stemt kabinet Karzai weg (Afghan parliament votes off Karzai cabinet)
De Standaard, 4 January 2010
This Belgian daily quotes Thomas Ruttig’s latest blog on the voting off of a large part of the Cabinet, high-lighting how this can be seen as a success for Karzai.

Karsai führt alle vor (Karzai makes everyone look like fools)
tageszeitung (Berlin), 4 January 2010
This is the German version of the AAN blog ‘The Cabinet Vote: Confusion as Political Principle’, dated 3 January 2009.

More on “Moderate” Taliban blog, 3 January 2010
This blog quotes comments by Thomas Ruttig on the possibility of “peeling off” some of the Taliban.

Aanslag op Amerikanen in Afghanistan
Volkskrant, 2 January 2010
Commenting on the suicide attack against CIA agents inside a US base in South-Eastern Afghanistan, Thomas Ruttig calls the vetting of Afghan police recruits ‘very sloppy’.

Decoding the New Taliban – book review
Orient (Germany), 2010/01
Book review by Gunther Mulack discusses Antonio’s Giustozzi’s book and quotes Martine van Bijlert (without proper reference) on the various kinds of Taliban.

CIA base attacked in Afghanistan supported airstrikes against al-Qaeda, Taliban
Washington Post, 1 January 2010
In this article about the Taleban attack on the CIA-FOB Chapman, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that the attack shows that there ‘needs to be much better screening of people joining the Afghan security forces. . . . I know from visits in Afghan provinces this is done in a very sloppy way.’

Counterproductive action
Inwent website, D&C 01/2010.
Martine van Bijlert (incorrectly still described as adviser to the EUSR) is misquoted on what she is supposed to have said during a VENRO conference in November 2009.

Scenariusz komedii wojennej (Comedy War Scenario)
Śladami jeźdzców apokalipsy blog, 1 January 2010
Polish blog picks up Martine van Bijlert’s story about the ‘very high-ranking dog’ in Uruzgan.


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