Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – March 2012

7 min

Ratlos am Hindukusch
Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, April 2012
In this op-ed for the Berlin-based monthly, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments on the recent events in Afghanistan like the Panjwai massacre and the Quran burnings, the failure of Western policy that allowed the military to take over core decisions on Afghanistan and the dilemma of Afghans, between the Western drawdown (of attention and resources) for Afghanistan and fears about a new round of civil war (in German).


Afghans suspect US cover-up over soldier’s killing spree
Guardian, 19 March 2012
Kate Clark of Afghanistan Analysts Network is quoted here: ‘I have encountered almost no Afghan who believes it could have been one person acting alone, whether they think it was a group or people back at the base somehow organising or facilitating it’.


Panjwai killings should never have happened
Killid Magazine (Kabul), 18 March 2012
The Kabul-based weekly magazine’s comment on the Panjwai killings extensively quotes from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog on the same issue, like this one: ‘[He] wonders “whether it might be a freak, but somehow unavoidable outcome in a context of escalated violence, thinking in “friend-or-foe” categories, traumatisation – and a result of misguided policy…I, at least can’t see any big difference between this incident and the operations of the ‘kill team’ which also deliberately shot civilians, at random, in Kandahar province, in 2010, manipulated their bodies so that they looked like ‘legitimate targets’ and even took body parts as war trophies. Those US soldiers were convicted of murder.”‘


Mein Haus ist nicht dein Haus
Frankfurter Allgemeine, 16 March 2012
In a comment on the latest crisis in the Afghan-US relations, following the killing of 16 civilians in Kandahar, Jochen Buchsteiner writes that ‘also among neutral and balanced observers a threshold seems to be crossed’ and quotes Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog: ‘The 16 killings in Kandahar might be an “isolated” case but neither a first nor a singular one. And it is only a philosophical problem at what point exactly a number of isolated cases turn into a series or a trend.’


Afghanistan’s Karzai slams United States over massacre
Reuters, 16 March 2012
“The Taliban leadership were and may still be serious about talks, but instead of discussing how to end the war, they will now be persuading the rank and file to go out again this year and fight,” Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network said. “That another round of fighting and killing is now on the agenda is a difficult prospect to face,” she wrote in a blog.


Düstere Zukunft für Afghanistan
ORF (Austrian Radio), 16 March 2012
In an interview (in German), AAN’s Thomas Ruttig calls President Karzai’s call to pull back US combat troops already in 2013 as ‘propagandistic noise’ which, in fact, only reiterates decisions already taken: NATO has been planning to pull their combat troops ‘into the second line’ in 2013 already earlier.


Afghan rampage shows war weariness
China Post, 15 March 2012
AAN’s Kate Clark is quoted here on Afghan perceptions on the Kandahar killings: ‘Many Afghans think that American soldiers kill civilians all the time. I’ve found it difficult to find Afghans who believe it was one American acting on his own, so this is maybe seen as just a more egregious example of their regular practice.’


US Official: Suspect in Killings Trained as Sniper
AP, 14 March 2012
AAN’s Kate clark is quoted on the Kandahar killings by an US soldier as saying: ‘It’s not that these things have an immediate effect, it’s that they exacerbate tensions, and I think we’re seeing the U.S. and the Afghan governments being really impatient with each other. There’s an element of mistrust, and these incidents really exacerbate that’.


Opbouwwerk met een hersenletsel
De Standaard (Brussels), 14 March 2012
In an analysis of the latest events in Afghanistan, the author quotes from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog: ‘dat bijna elke soldaat Afghanistan bekijkt als ‘het land van de vijand’ en elke Afghaan als een potentiële terrorist. Dat komt volgens hem door de spanning van het escalerende geweld. Geen wonder dat sommige soldaten, die al meer oorlogsgeweld hebben meegemaakt dan goed voor hen is, door het lint gaan en de grens van het toelaatbare overschrijden’.


Experte: Mit dem Abzug des Westens kommen Taliban und Milizen
Ostseezeitung/Lübecker Nachrichten, 13 March 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (subscribers only and in German) about the 16 killings by an US soldier in Kandahar.


‘Je transparenter die USA vorgehen, desto besser’
Berliner Zeitung und Frankfurter Rundschau, 13 March 2012
AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini in an interview (in German) about the Kandahar killing of 16 Afghan civilians: He proposes that the US ‘do three things now: They quickly must investigate how it came to this terrible incident in the first place, and they must inform the Afghan public about it. They must make it clear what they do about the perpetrator. And they have to decide, jointly with the Afghan authorities, how to compensate the relatives. The more transparent the US act, the better.’


Nächster Einzelfall in Kandahar
Neues Deutschland (Berlin), 13 March 2012
Report and background on the Kandahar killings of 16 Afghan civilians by an US soldier in this article by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig


Agenda: Afghanistan goes from bad to worse
Deutsche Welle, 13 March 2012
Watch a video of an English language talkshow, including AAN’s Thomas Ruttig talking about the Kandahar killings and where the Afghan mission is going.


AFGHANISTAN: PARLA UN COOPERANTE ITALIANO DA KABUL
Radio Onda D’Urto, 13 March 2012
Interview (in Italian, audio file available) with AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini on the aftermath of the Panjwai killings, the different reactions in Afghanistan and the attack on the presidential delegation in Panjwai.


Afghan government team attacked, Taliban fume over massacre
Reuters, 13 March 2012
The news agency quotes from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog on the Kandahar killings: that despite NATO and White House references to the killings as the work of a “rogue” soldier, similar events had happened before, including a “kill team” apprehended in Kandahar in 2010. ‘In the stress of an environment of escalated violence – by both sides, but particularly after Obama’s troop surge in early 2009, it looks as if most soldiers simply see Afghanistan as a whole as ‘enemy territory’ and every Afghan as a potential terrorist. This can no longer be called ‘rogue’,’


Der arrogante Einsatz
Salzburger Nachrichten (Austria), 13 March 2012
Interview about the 16 murders by an US soldier in Kandahar with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German).


Taliban varsler hevn etter massakre i Afghanistan
Aftenposten (Denmark), 12 March 2012
AAN’s Kate Clrk is quoted here on the slaying of 16 Afghan civilians by an US soldier: ‘Protester kan bli en konsekvens av gårsdagens grusomheter også – men det er foreløpig for tidlig å si. […] Folk kan komme til å se på dette som noe som var gjort med vilje, eller som var beordret’.


Interview: Veteran Diplomat Thomas Ruttig On Implications Of Afghan Massacre
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12 March 2012
First thoughts about the 16 killings by an US soldier in Panjwai by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig.


‘Das ist asymmetrische Kriegslogik’
Cicero online (German magazine), 12 March 2012
Another interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) about the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by an American soldier in Kandahar, pointing to the contradiction that US soldiers are tasked to protect a civilian population that they perceive as enemies (see his 12 March 2012 AAN blog on this).


Obamas Afghanistan-plan vakler efter massakre
Information (Denmark), 12 March 2012
A quote of AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on the Kandahar killings by an US soldier: ‘Et stigende antal afghanere er desillusionerede og vrede over de udenlandske styrkers opførsel. Men det slår ikke nødvendigvis om i et brændende ønske om at smide USA og NATO ud af landet. De fleste afghanere ønsker stadig beskyttelse mod krigsherrer og Taleban’.


U.S. troops brace for Afghan backlash after slayings
CBC (Canada), 12 March 2012
AAN’s Kate Clark told the Canadian broadcaster from Kabul that a ‘grim atmosphere’ could be felt on the ground there, as word of the massacre continues to spread. ‘Either people are hearing about it on the radio or seeing the images on TV. We’ve had the Taliban vowing revenge, we’ve had [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai saying this was an assassination and forgiveness is impossible. We’ve had the Afghan parliament also calling for justice.’


U.S. Nears Afghan Prison Hand-Over
Wall Street Journal, 8 March 2012
A deal to transfer Bagram prison to Afghan control seems finally near. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini is quoted stating how ‘Bagram is particularly charged with political importance and a highly symbolic issue for the Afghan Government’, and also ‘…in the mind of every Afghan’.


Suspicion rises between Western advisers, Afghans
AP, 7 March 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert on the increasing suspicions between Afghans and their Western backers: “It’s a declining relationship. It has been for years. You won’t be able to fix that. The big question is ‘Will it remain a workable relationship?’ I think it’s possible. It could settle down, but it won’t fully settle down to the old level.”


Wide distrust imperils talks on Afghanistan
Washington Times, 7 March 2012
In this article about the Afghan-US controversy about who takes the lead on talks with the Taleban, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that ‘President Karzai has felt left out of crucial contacts, like Qatar, at least initially, and this clearly contradicts the Western line of an ‘Afghan-led’ [process], which was lip service in most of the cases anyway’. There are also quotes of various Afghan and Western officials and of Michael Semple as well.


Quran burning anger hits US-Afghan strategy talks
AFP/AsiaOne, 6 March 2012
The protests following the Quran burning in Bagram have strengthened President Karzai’s hand, as they gave him a bargaining chip in talks over a long-term deal with Washington: ‘I think he feels it has strengthened his position. My sense is that this was a complicated negotiation to start with. It has been made more complicated by the Quran burning and the frayed relationships, but it would have never been easy. What makes it even more complicated is the fact that the news that comes out about the negotiations is also part of the game, with each side trying to put more pressure on the other.’


Afghanistans ‘kumulative’ Proteste
Neues Deutschland (Berlin), 5 March 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments on the protests following the Quran burning in Bagram and their context (in German).


Távol a hazától: a Bundeswehr külföldi bevetéseinek áttekintése
kitekintö.hu (Hungary), 5 March 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig i quoted here (in Hungarian) in an article about the Bundeswehr’s role in Afghanistan.


‘Ein Scheitern ist nicht zwangsläufig’
NZZ am Sonntag (Zurich), 4 March 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about whether the Western-led mission is failing. he argues that failure is not unavoidable but that the West has considerably contributed to the current dire situation and needs to change its approach radically to turn the trend around (in German).


Кризата около изгарянето на Корана
Kapital (Bulgaria), 2 March 2012
n this article about the Quran burning, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig compares the current protests with the uprisings the PDPA government and Soviets faced in Herat and Kabul in 1979 and 1981.


Afghans kill two US troops: military
DPA, 2 March 2012
‘The attack on the US officers within the heavily-fortified interior ministry in Kabul “has hit at the heart of co-operation between the international community and the Afghans”, said Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network.’


Afghan partners kill 2 U.S. troops
McClatchy News Service, 1 March 2012
“This is the most emotive incident that has happened so far. It’s been really at a peak,” said Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul. “Even people who are really moderate are sort of exasperated,” she said of Afghans’ response to the Qur’an incident. They are saying, “How can you do this? How are we supposed to go on like this?”


Wederzijds vertrouwen ernstig geschaad
De Standaard (Belgium), 1 March 2012
Interview with Martine van Bijlert on the Koran burning, its aftermath and its implications.


Gestärkt werden die einheimischen ­IslamistInnen
WOZ (Zurich), 09/2012 (1 March 2012)
A commentary by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) about the context and possible repercussions of the Quran burning protests — a shorter version of same day’s blog on the AAN website.

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