Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – July 2012

6 min

Taliban wollen NATO-Basen übernehmen
N24 (German news channel), 31 July 2012
AAN’s Kate Clark i quoted here, from a dpa news agency report, on the Taleban agreeing with the Afghan government that NATO should not destroy but hand over bases: ‘This shows extraordinary confidence or foolishness’, adding the Taliban are ‘really, really confident’ that either the war is not going to continue or that there would be a rebel victory. ‘The historical issue is this. When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the armaments and the air force and the artillery that they left were basically divided between the different armed groups. Once the communist government (backed by Moscow) fell in Kabul in 1992, the (bases and armaments) were used to great harm against Afghan civilians.’

‘There Are No Buyers’ – Kabul’s Housing Boom Goes Bust Amid Uncertainty
RFE/RL, 31 July 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is briefly quoted here on the Afghan economy, saying that foreign aid and the forming of a ‘military and contracting economy’ lured many Afghan expatriates and wealthy entrepreneurs back to the country. That environment lifted many sectors, including housing, to unnatural highs and led to an unbalanced economy.

Afghanistan’s economy is seen as ‘not sustainable’
Stars and Stripes, 30 July 2012
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is quoted: Many of the aid workers implementing projects live in walled compounds in Kabul and rarely visit their projects, let alone speak to Afghans who might use them, said Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network. “The international community just doesn’t really know how to do sustainable aid,” she said. “They don’t know how to fix a country, and they’ve been satisfied spending enormous amounts of money without knowing [what works] and without wanting to find out. The bulk of the money has made relatively few people rich.”

Tajikistan: Badakhshan Clashes Risk Sparking Insurgency, Analysts Fear
Eurasianet, 27 July 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted in this report that has further first-hand details on the fighting in Khorog (including on civilians being harmed) on speculations whether Afghans arrested there are ‘Taleban’: ‘Though some news outlets described the Afghans as members of the Taliban, that is unlikely, says Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a think-tank in Kabul. Taliban insurgents, though increasingly located in northern Afghanistan, tend to be ethnic Pashtuns, not Tajiks. “They are more likely people who are involved in some sort of trade. That could be drugs, which is probably the largest trade across the Afghan-Tajik border. It is also possible they are there for work […] as hired guns, privately.’

Bloß weg vom Hindukusch: Afghanistan nach dem Truppenabzug
tageszeitung (Berlin), 26 July 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig looks at the major Western ‘mantras’ for post-2014 Afghanistan: development aid, elections and support for civil society – and does not find many indications that this will happen, given the poor effectiveness of aid so far, Karzai’s tightening grip on electoral institutions and an Afghan civil society that lacks systematic support (and a strong common voice) (in German).

Politieagenten zijn ontrouw aan Afghaans regime
De Standaard (Belgium), 25 July 2012
AAN’s Thomas Rutting [sic] is quoted on the defection of a police unit to the Taleban in Farah province: ‘‘Het is niet de eerste keer dat politieagenten overlopen naar de Taliban’, zegt Thomas Rut­ ting van het onderzoeksinsti­ tuut Afghanistan Analyst Net­ work. ‘De voorbije jaren heb­ ben zich verschillende gelijkaardige incidenten voor­ gedaan, wel op veel kleinere schaal. Maar het aantal deser­ ties neemt toe.’ Het algemene onveiligheidsgevoel in het land groeit nu de terugtrekking van de buitenlandse troepen in zicht komt. Vele Afghanen heb­ ben het gevoel dat ze achterge­ laten worden door het Westen. Volgens Rutting zijn er ver­ schillende redenen mogelijk waarom de agenten de kant kiezen van de Taliban. Mensen lopen soms over omdat ze on­ derbetaald zijn of hun loon te laat ontvangen. Daarnaast wordt de politie specifiek ge­ plaagd door deserties, omdat ze over te weinig materiaal beschikken om zich tegen de mili­ tanten te verdedigen. Politie­ agent zijn is daardoor het meest risicovolle beroep in het land. Maar meestal deserteren officieren om politieke motie­ ven Ze willen de buitenlandse troepen uit hun land verdrij­ ven, of ze voelen zich misschien veiliger aan de andere kant. ‘De deserteurs denken blijkbaar dat de Taliban aan de winnen­ de hand zijn, en die gedachte is gevaarlijk, ook al is ze niet cor­ rect’, vindt Rutting’ (In Flemish, and for subscribers only).

Menschenrechte in Kabul sind „Gedöns“: Afghanistan-Bericht unterdrückt
tageszeitung (Berlin), 24 July 2012
AAN’sThomas Ruttig scrutinises the New York Times report about an unpublished human rights violations mapping by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Reintegrationsprogramm in Afghanistan: Bezahlte Pause für Taliban-Kämpfer?
ARD Tagesschau (German TV), 19 July 2012
The website of the German TV’s prime time news quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig calling the ‘reintegration programme’ for Afghan insurgents as ‘self deceit’ because most of the reintegrees are no real Taleban fighters.

The political void
The Herald (Pakistan), 18 July 2012
Long article on Afghanistan’s political parties in the Pakistani monthly quotes Thomas Rutting (sic) extensively on, among other things, the Solidarity Party, the SNTV electoral system, and concerns over ethnical-identity-based parties.

Viel zu verlieren
Frankfurter Allgemeine, 17 July 2012
Christoph Ehrhardt tells the story of dairy worker and ex-mujahed Nazar Muhammad who says he would take his gun again if the Taleban return after the withdrawal of most Western troops from his country. While German government officials praise Nazar’s (and his fomer commander Atta’s) Balkh province as a success story, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted in the article as saying that often ‘reality is adapted to the benchmarks and not vice versa’. The article also quotes from the AAN report ‘Beating a Retreat’ and one of its main findings, that there is a question mark about whether Afghanistan is ripe for transition.

To Aid Afghanistan, Offer Less Aid
IPS (Inter Press Service), 16 July 2012
While only nominally aimed at institution-building, the key tools of international assistance were guided by short-term considerations and by political expediency, and “have proved to be very blunt,” Martine van Bijlert, co-director and co-founder of the Afghanistan Analysts Network writes in the introduction to ‘Snapshots of an Intervention. The Unlearned Lessons of Afghanistan’s Decade of Assistance’. Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog on the Tokyo conference is also quoted, although he is credited for some figures that were provided by the World Bank.

Prominent Afghan MP killed in suicide attack
al-Jazeera, 15 July 2012
Kate Clark, senior analyst at the Afghanistan Analysts Network, speaking to Al Jazeera from Kabul, said Saturday’s attack was rare not only for the north of the country, but also for Afghanistan as a whole, since ‘so many senior government officials were killed’. […] Khan fought tenaciously against the Taliban in difficult circumstances and ‘he came through as one of the most significant anti-Taliban commanders of the north’, Clark said.

Suicide Bomber Kills 23 in Northern Afghanistan
Voice of America, 14 July 2012
Gran Hewad of the Afghan [sic] Analysts Network is quoted here as saying that all government officials are considered targets by the Taleban: ‘At this stage, according to the directions and the conduct and the codes that the Taliban have for their attacks and fight and war, those who are working the government, with the ‘puppet’ government, and with the foreigners are [potential targets].’ Hewad further said that it is not clear what tactics the Taliban will use once international combat forces leave the country in 2014.

Afghan suicide bomber kills military and government officials at wedding
The Guardian, 14 July 2012
“To kill so many senior officials with a single attack is rare, particularly in the north. This is a significant attack,” said Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. “To find similar attacks one would have to look back to the killing of General Daud Daud, security commander for the northern zone, in 2011, and a suicide attack on the sugar factory in Baghlan in 2007, in which six parliamentarians and dozens of other civilians were killed, many of them children.”

Afghanistan aid pledges hide rehashed promises and familiar corruption fears 
The Guardian, 8 July 2012
In this analysis of the outcome of the Tokyo conference, the AAN guest blog by Anja de Beer is quoted: ‘”Chances are that the sweeping statements promising continuous support and billions of aid again only confirm the suspicion that this is just another talk show.” De Beer, who has more than a decade’s experience in Afghanistan, added: “If the ceremonial renewal of the vows is what it takes to ensure the long-term needed support for the Afghans, so be it. But the big conferences could probably take place less frequently, made more driven by a genuine development agenda and resulting in realistic decisions that can monitored relatively easily.”‘

Afghanistan’s multimillion ‘highway to nowhere’ 
The Independent, 8 July 2012
Thomas Ruttig, co-director of Afghanistan Analysts Network, said: “The international community has been throwing money at problems without making sure that it is used effectively. I would suggest that a group of key ambassadors be invited to travel by road from Kabul to Kandahar, then ask them again how many kilometres of road have been built and asphalted. In other words, counting kilometres doesn’t say anything about how the roads can be used.”

Donor Nations to Assess Afghan Aid
Wall Street Journal, 5 July 2012
In the run-up to the Tokyo donor conference, the US daily quotes AAN’s Gran Hewad on corruption and aid, saying that nations were likely to be less patient with corruption. ‘It was always difficult for the international community in the last 10 years, but they were compromising. They were closing their eyes and compromising, because their troops were there. As troops are leaving, then there’s no excuse.’

Per i giovani di Kabul la pace si fa con la pace
Osservatorio Iraq, 3 July 2012
The Italian website quotes from Gran Hewad’s AAN blog about the commemoration of the victims of the Kargha attack and his hopes that it might become a broader youth movement.


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