Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN in the Media – March 2013

5 min

Afghanische Sicherheitskräfte: Alleingelassen
Tagesspiegel (Berlin), 27 March 2013
Reporting the latest growing casualty figures of the ANSF, the Berlin-based daily quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig saying it is not sufficient to explain these figures by the growing ANSF role folliwing transition. The ANSF ‘obviously are not sufficiently trained’ and ‘adequately equipped yet’. This is confirmed by former German MP Winfried Nachtwei: ‘The Afghan forces are much less protected than the international forces”.

Foltergefängnis Bagram übergeben: Afghanen kriegen ‘schwarzes Loch’
Tageszeitung (Berlin), 26 March 20123
In an article about the Bagram handover, the Berlin daily quotes AAN’s Kate Clark calling it an ‘important victory for President Karzai – if the reported details are correct’.

US cedes full control of Bagram jail to Afghan forces
AFP, 25 March 2013
AAN’s Kate Clark comments on the US handover of control over Bagram prison, saying that this was ‘a rallying cry for the Taliban and an important issue for much of the Afghan public. This looks like a victory for Karzai as he has got what he wanted. Bagram was a huge stumbling block before they get onto a long list of other issues to sort out — and time is of the essence.’

Dirt flies in battle of the warlords
Tasmania Examiner, 21 March 2013
“On first telling, Achekzai’s allegations fall into that “incredible” category. But later, we chance upon the aptly named Decoding the New Taliban, a collection by expert analysts, in which the former Dutch diplomat Martine Van Bijlert writes of such deals between district officials and the insurgency. Writing about 2005-06, Van Bijlert reveals that such deals were common, with local strongmen allowing the Taliban to overrun their district as a ruse to reveal the weakness of local government and/or to press their case for reappointment.”

Karzai Flexes Muscle In War of Words With US
Voice of America, 20 March 2013
‘Kate Clark, senior analyst with the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul, says the relationship between Karzai and Washington is often rocky, but appears to have hit a new low. She says Karzai wants to assert his independence from the West as international forces prepare to leave in 2014, and that anti-foreigner speeches often go down well among the Afghan populace. And, she adds, he believes he can get away with it. “I think President Karzai is very, very confident that the United States wants to stay in Afghanistan come hell or high water,” Clark says, “and he thinks he can make what are actually very rude remarks and because of America’s strategic interests as he sees them in Afghanistan, it will not be walking away.”‘

Afghanistan. Scandalo ‘Kabul Bank’: una condanna poco esemplare
Osservatorio Iraq (blog), 12 March 2013
A round-up of international reporting about the Kabul Bank scandal’s last twist, including quotes from Martine van Bijlert’s AAN blog: ‘Non si tratta del semplice fatto che il presidente e il vice presidente proteggono i loro fratelli. E’ il sistema che protegge se stesso’. … La risposta allo scandalo è stata colpita da indagini tardive o inadeguate, insieme alla riluttanza a rintracciare le vie che il denaro preso fuori del paese e a perseguire tutti responsabili … un esercizio di contenimento’.

Why the Afghan ‘peace conference’ idea keeps bombing 
Long War Journal (blog), 10 March 2013
The Long War Journal summarises, quotes and discusses at length AAN’s recent blog – or rather “excellent article” – by Borhan Osman on Afghanistan’s vain attempts to woo Pakistani Islamists. For this blog Osman traveled to Pakistan to speak to the head of Pakistan’s Ulema Council, Alama Tahir Ashrafi and to senior members of the Jamaat-e Islami (JI) and Jamiat-e Ulama-e Islam of Fazl-ur-Rahman (JUI-F).

Attack highlights how a corner of Afghanistan is falling apart
Christian Science Monitor
, 8 March 2013
In the US daily’s world blog, Ben Arnoldy – reporting the latest Taleban attack on the ANA in Badakhshan – quotes from an August 2012 AAN blog by Thomas Ruttig about a short-lived rebellion in neighbouring Tajikistan with ‘roots in the Afghan drug economy’.

Situation der Frau in Afghanistan: Gradmesser für die Einhaltung der Menschenrechte, 7 March 2013
On occasion of International Women’s Day, the German Middle East-oriented website reports a new publication edited by German women rights NGO medica mondiale, with an contribution of AAN’s Thomas Ruttig. It has picked the following quotes from his article: that the democratic process in Afghanistan has ‘petered out’, that the ISAF withdrawal shows that the international community has failed in the country because it has ‘primarily invested into the military sphere and done too less for civil society’ and that there is ‘no peace process in Afghanistan [yet]’.

US to transfer last Afghan prisoners from Bagram jail
AFP, 6 March 2013
AFP quotes Kate Clark’s latest blog on the Bagram prison handover: The Afghanistan Analysts Network think-tank said this week that disputes over Bagram had led to “rocky times” for Afghan-US relations but now “both sides appear determined to come to some kind of agreement”. It quoted Afghan prison officials as saying that a final group of 400-500 detainees were due to be transferred, but that about 50 foreign prisoners — mainly Pakistanis — were not covered by the negotiations.

Taliban Kill 17 Afghan Troops Caught in an Ambush
The Wall Street Journal, 6 March 2013
In the aftermath of an insurgent ambush which inflicted heavy casualties on the Afghan Army in the relatively safe province of Badakhshan, Fabrizio Foschini expresses concerns about the location of that insurgent front, which exploits the difficult terrain and virtually cuts off several border districts from the rest of Afghanistan.

Die schwierige Arithmetik des Hindukusch
Stimme Russlands (Russian state radio), 5 March 2013
In an article reporting recent visits of NATO SG Rasmussen and German defence minister de Maizière in Afghanistan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted via a recent article in Berlin daily taz: that ISAF is playing ‘number games’ about the quantity of Taleban attacks and that the NATO-led troops’ published figures even do not correspond with those given by the US Department of Defence.

Kabul Bank: A bank that defaulted on trust
Al Jazeera, 5 March 2013
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert quoted on the Kabul Bank scam: “The scale and level of sophistication of the scheme in Kabul Bank was quite astonishing … [it involved] a group of people who found it completely normal that their connections and wealth would earn them [no interest] loans or gifts.” And: “It’s not as simple as the president and vice president protecting their brothers. It’s the system protecting itself… Many people are somehow implicated.”

Kabul Bank Executives Sentenced
Wall Street Journal, 5 March 2013
AAN’s Kate Clark is quoted in WSJ article on today’s Kabul Bank verdict: The U.S. and its allies are likely to keep supporting the Afghan government rather than risk its collapse before international forces withdraw in 2014, analysts said. “Conditionality [of aid] has pretty well dropped out of the equation publicly,” said Kate Clark, a senior analyst with the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent Kabul think tank.

Fäuste, Fußtritte, Folter: Geheime Miliz operiert im Nato-Auftrag in Afghanistan (print only)
Berliner Zeitung, 4 March 2013
Willi Germund reports the activities of a secret unit of ‘Afghan translators’ in Wardak province, quoting AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini on ‘campaign forces reported frequently from provinces close to the Pakistan border’.

Few Illusions as Afghan Exit Nears
New York Times, 4 March 2013
This NYT article quotes AAN’s recent blog on the state of the Afghan security forces: The retention rate, which refers to those soldiers who have completed their three-year enlistment and who then choose to remain, is even lower. “On average, the A.N.A. is only retaining 7 percent of its forces,” according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent nonprofit policy research organization that monitors developments in the country.

ISAF geht. Rückzug oder Abzug?
Kompass (Germany), 1 March 2013
Long interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) taking stock of the Western-led post-2001 Afghan mission and tries an answer on the question: ‘ISAF leaving – retreat or withdrawal?’ Starts at page 9 of the link, as part of the magazine’s focus