Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – May 2012

6 min

The Afghan conflict’s ‘terrible mistakes’ 
New Straits Times, 30 May 2012
The intervention veered from ‘too little too late’ in its crucial early years, to one of ‘too much too late’,” according to Barbara Stapleton of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. In a May 16 report, the former senior political adviser to the special representative of the European Union again indicted the military’s overweening control. “The state-building process was never given the fighting chance it needed to succeed and that the majority of Afghans, wanting stability and development, had expected and hoped for.”

Wetten, geen wapens voor Afghanistan‎
Reformatorisch Dagblad (NL), 27 May 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here: ‘De taliban zijn slechts een symptoom in plaats van de oorzaak van alle ellende in Afghanistan (

Hollande meets troops and Karzai on surprise trip to Afghanistan
Radio France International, 25 May 2012
AAN’s latest report is briefly mentioned here: ‘“In the rush to get out of the quagmire that Afghanistan has become, the US and other Nato member states may well be preparing the ground for more instability, rather than less,” former EU representative in Afghanistan Barbara Stapleton commented in a recent report.’

Afghanische Lokalpolizei unterwandert
tageszeitung (Berlin), 23 May 2012
In the wake of the NATO Chicago summit and its message ‘everything goes as planned’, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and Fabrizio Foschini report about the AIHRC latest paper, including the infiltration of the ALP by ‘local strongmen’ who use it to ‘settle old scores’ and Western forces who create their own ALP (and other) units without coordinating with the Afghan government.

NATO’s exit strategy from Afghanistan after the Chicago Summit
Aspenia Online, 22 May 2012
The article quotes Fabrizio Foschini on the possible economic effects of the withdrawal, like its potential for disruption of the controversial strongmen’s order that the government has been able to negotiate (bribe) in some areas, which may be shaken as development funds dwindle.

Der zweite Irak: Auch nach dem Truppenabzug wird der Krieg [in Afghanistan] weitergehen
tageszeitung (Berlin), 22 May 2012
A commentary (in German) by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on the occasion of the NATO summit in Chicago, clarifying that there will be no full western troop withdrawal and the weight will be shifted to Special Forces (collaborating with militia-like Afghan forces) that are seen, by the US, as its most effective tool on the ground but who also have contributed, with night raids and ‘collateral damage’ to the deepening rift between Afghans and its erstwhile Western ‘liberators’.

Risks fall on UN after military withdrawal from Afghanistan
AFP, 22 May 2012
In an article discussing the NATO plan of handing over its unfinished business on the political side to the UN after 2014, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that there are ‘grave challenges and concerns about the viability of the transition strategy’ and that NATO leaders in Chicago have ‘talked up’ the reality. He adds: ‘It is actually unfair to hand over the vast remaining problems to the UN, given that it had been virtually sidelined by NATO governments for the past years, and the central political role given to NATO itself.’

Nach dem Nato-Gipfel in Chicago
BR2 (Bavarian radio), 21 May 2012
Listen to an audio file of an interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) about the outcome of the NATO summit in Chicago and the Western-led Afghanistan missioni n general.

Afghanistan-Abzug: Störfeuer aus Paris
ZDF heute (online) 21 May 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments on the French decision to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan one year ahead of plan on the website of Germany’s second largest broadcaster: He says that this decision ‘will not change the situation on the ground significantly, because Paris is still ready to keep trainers’ in the country. He adds that the (partial) withdrawal comes ‘too early […] NATO tries to finalise the handover by end of 2014 and talks up the situation in Afghanistan’. In this light, Hollande’s decison is only ‘a blamish’ on the NATO plans. Meanwhile, the underlying problems in Afghanistan have not been solved – [the West] did not succeed in establishing peace, security and normal living conditions for most Afghans.’ Instead, war has ‘escalated’ over the past two to three years and the public institutions and the Afghan security forces are still ‘too weak and unstable’. No one can exclude the possibility of institutional breakdown.

Afghanistan pullout to dominate NATO summit
AFP, 20 May 2012
‘[A]nalysts have warned NATO’s rush to extricate itself from the Afghan quagmire carries high risks to stability. “The idea that the official transition timeline can generate even minimally conducive conditions on the Afghan ground — that would substantiate claims that the transition strategy can succeed — is a delusion,” wrote Barbara Stapleton, former deputy to the EU special representative for Afghanistan. Going ahead regardless, “increases the risk of the Afghan state’s collapse and with it, the prospect of strategic failure for NATO,” she said in a report for the independent Afghanistan Analysts Network.’

Ungeordneter Rückzug
Tagesspiegel, 19 May 2012
The Berlin-daily starts an article about the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago with Barbara Stapleton’s AAN report ‘Beating a Retreat’ and quoting the problem that the NATO transition plan is presented as ‘without alternative’, and that it is exactly this what might cause even more instability.

Nato’s rush for exit risks Afghan collapse
The News (Pakistan), 18 May 2012
The Pakistani daily reports Barbara Stapleton’s AAN report ‘Beating a Retreat’ – and also has NATO/ISAF’s expected reaction. An ISAF spokesman: ‘Clearly the international community is doing anything but retreating from Afghanistan’, and NATO SCR Simon Gass: ‘[T]ansition has been one of the success stories of the last 10 years’.:

Lessons Learned in Afghan School Closures
Wall Street Journal, 18 May 2012
In a report about forces school closures in parts of Ghazni province, AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini is quoted as saying that ‘To me, it looks like a local political move, not a nationwide phenomenon’.

Suicide Attack Kills 7 in Afghan Governor’s Office
Voice of America, 17 May 2012
Ahead of the summit, the research group Afghanistan Analysts Network released a new report cautioning that NATO’s Afghan policy must be flexible in order to achieve long-term security goals in the country. Researchers tell VOA that the Western alliance must focus not only on the Afghan army and police force, but also ensure that political institutions and development projects are in place.

Report: NATO’s Afghan Exit Risks State Collapse
Voice of America, 17 May 2012
‘NATO is rushing its withdrawal from Afghanistan and could risk reversing the gains made there during the past decade, according to a new report. The Afghanistan Analysts Network report was released before a NATO summit in Chicago. “Western governments need to be as concrete as possible, vis-a-vis Afghanistan, that after 2014 the country will not be forgotten again as happened last time when the Soviet occupation forces withdrew in 1989,” said Thomas Ruttig from the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Germany. The report, called “Beating a Retreat,” was written by former European Union advisor Barbara Stapleton. It says NATO policy needs to be flexible if long-term security goals are to be achieved.’

NATO’s rush for exit risks Afghan collapse: report 
AFP, 17 May 2012
AFP discusses AAN’s latest report ‘Beating a Retreat’, quoting extensively from its executive summary: ‘In the rush to get out of the quagmire that Afghanistan has become, the US and other NATO member states may be preparing the ground for more instability there, rather than less’.

The Mumbai Model and the threat of urban terrorism
Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, 16 May 2012
Adam Elkus, discussing tactical and operational questions and the future of the war in Afghanistan after the recent wave of complex insurgent attacks in Kabul, Paktia, Logar, and Nangarhar, quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on them via the New York Times.

Pingpong angeblich guter Nachrichten
tageszeitung (Berlin), 16 May 2012
An article by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the Germany visit of President Karzai, on the way to the Chicago NATO summit, and the signing of a strategic relations agreement with Berlin, saying that this as far as western governments can go: stating their intent to stand by Afghanistan, anchoring it in the Western camp, but under financial caveats, in the context of the worldwide financial crisis. At the same time, a ‘pingpong of good news’ is created, with Kabul saying that security has not deteriorated in a single Afghan area after transition, while events in Zana Khan – where a handover ceremony was dispersed by a Taleban attack – give an opposite example.

Afghanistan handover a test of security
The Australian, 15 May 2012
In an article about Uruzgan province as part of handover tranche 3 that is about to start, the Australian daily wonders about security repercussions. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini says it was too early to tell if there would be a power struggle between newly appointed governor Mullah Amir Mohammad Akhundzada and the Australian-backed police chief Matiullah once the drawdown of Australian and US troops began. ‘From the point of view of governance, we can say that the present people in the local institutions are not the best democratic options around’, he added. Susanne Schmeidl from the Liaison Office said the decision was likely to have been heavily influenced by Australia’s determination to accelerate its troop withdrawal rather than the province’s readiness to take over security responsibility: ‘The Afghans I have spoken to here think it’s a political decision. Right now 50 per cent of Oruzgan is still not controlled by the government’.

L’omicidio di Rahmani: Analisi dell’ultimo assassinio eccellente 
Lettera/Il Manifesto (Italy), 15 May 2012
In his article about the killing of Senator Arsala Rahmani, Il Manifesto’s Giualiano Battiston draws heavily on Kate Clark’s blog on the issue.

On the Afghan-German Strategic Partnership Agreement
Tolo TV, 15 May 2012
The Kabul-based TV channel talks live to AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the Afghan-German agreement (in Dari).

Meine Kalaschnikow gehört mir
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 13 May 2012
In an article about ANSF and ALP build-up, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted, on the latter, as saying that this is a concept of ‘we don’t care what happens after our withdrawal’. (in German, subscribers only)

Kabul, vite precarie
Lettera 43, 4 May 2012
The reportage (in Italian) focuses on the socio-economic situation of the Afghan capital, and quotes AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini on the damages done to national economy by foreign products and on the lack of alternatives that Kabul inhabitants are faced with.


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