Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN in the Media – May 2013

6 min

A party with many faces
AfPak Channel, 31 May 2013
In another analysis of Hezb-e Islami, ex-TLO analyst Casey Garret Johnson quotes from the Borhan Osman’s and Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog that appeared on the AfPakChannel in an updated version on 24 May this year

Afghan attacks put aid groups in the line of fire
New Straits Times/AFP, 31 May 2013
AAN’s Kate Clark about the ICRC attack again which ‘is particularly disturbing as they have got such a strong reputation here. They are not just another aid group. From an Afghan point of view, they have been here through thick and thin, even during civil war in Kabul in the mid-1990s when very few organisations stayed. They’re known for their neutrality. … Pure self-interest should cause the Taliban to leave the ICRC alone. … The ICRC is symbolic in that they are the last to ever leave. If the ICRC isn’t safe and off-limits, then who is?’

Afghanistan Red Cross office attack sets dangerous precedent for aid work
Guardian, 30 May 2013
In a report about the terrorist attack against an ICRC office in Jalalabad two days ago, the AAN blog by Kate Clark is quoted: ‘No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Nevertheless, the insurgency has crossed a red line. It is not just that the ICRC enjoys special protection under the Geneva conventions. In Afghanistan, the organisation has earned itself a reputation for neutrality and dedication through successive stages of the decades-long war. Its worth is acknowledged by all, including the Taliban.’

Unkoordinierter Rückzug mit Schuss
Frankfurter Allgemeine, 28 May 2013
The German daily reports about a 4 May incident in Baghlan during which a German soldier was killed, reports a dismal performance of an ANP special unit and questions the results of ANSF training by Western forces. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted about Taleban pushing back into areas cleared from Taleban in Kunduz province, mentions incidents of ANSF units not holding against or making deals with insurgents in other provinces, in order to prepare for post-2014 eventualities.

Fighting by bullet and ballot in Afghanistan
AfPak Channel, 24 May 2013
An updated version by Borhan Osman of his and Thomas Ruttig’s recent AAN blog on Hezb-e Islami.

Local political tensions have negative impact on special ops in Afghan district
Stars and Stripes, 21 May 2013
Reporting about SOF cooperation with semi-regular Afghan militias quotes from an earlier AAN report: ‘The array of armed groups in the coalition’s corner can be dizzying. In addition to uniformed troops with the ANSF, an analysis from the Afghanistan Analysts Network earlier this year listed the ALP, convoy security personnel, private security companies, and groups called Afghan Security Guards who are formally tasked with guarding bases but allegedly are used by Special Forces to carry out other operations as well.’

EVAW Law to protect women & girls in Afghanistan stalled in Parliament
Women News Network, 20 May 2013
The article quotes extensively from a related blog by AAN, ‘an independent non-profit policy research organization funded by the Government of Sweden that includes a core team of analysts and a network of contributors with expertise in the fields of Afghan politics, governance, rule of law, security, and regional affairs.’

For Europe in Afghanistan, Long-term Commitment Despite Lack of Interests
World Politics Review, 20 May 2013
A review of European commitments to Afghanistan for after 2014 quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig: ‘From the Germans there is a commitment to try and keep aid around current levels,” says Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent think tank based in Berlin and Kabul. “This would be good if it happened, but financial constraints remain, and everything depends on how parliament [decides].’

Women betrayed by their champion
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2013
In a harsh comment on the developments around the EVAW law, the newspaper’s chief foreign correspondent looks at what he calls Fawzia Kufi’s ‘insane political gambit … in the name of a presidential bid that has zero chance of success: she is opening the way for all the protective EVAW elements … to be unpicked by the conservative crazies’. He briefly quotes AAN on the conservatives’ main target points in the law.

Ohne ISAF-Truppen kehrt der Krieg nach Faryab zurück, 18 May 2013
German Afghanistan and Bundeswehr watcher Thomas Wiegold picks up Obaid Ali’s blog about post-PRT Faryab in his RC North Watch series on his blog.

Frauenrechten droht Rückschlag
Tageszeitung (Berlin), 17 May 2013
Article by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reporting the upcoming debate about the Elimination of Violence against Woman law initiatied by MP Fawzia Kufi and rejected by a majority of women rights activists in Afghanista. The article is based on AAN’s blog on the same issue, dated 16 May 2013.

Afghan Warlord’s Group Hits Convoy
Wall Street Journal, 16 May 2013
The US daily, in its report on the 16 May car bomb attack in Kabul, claimed by Hezb-e Islami, quotes from Borhan Osman’s AAN blog: ‘”They are not happy with the results of the talks,” says Borhan Osman, a political analyst with the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analyst Network, “They really want to show that if you don’t want to make peace with us, we can make life difficult for you.”Thursday’s attack, analysts say, is a sign that Hezb-e-Islami wants to gain leverage in the reconciliation process, which has focused overwhelmingly on brokering a peace deal with the Taliban, ahead of the American withdrawal.’

Taliban rival claims Kabul blast that leaves at least 15 dead, including two U.S. troops
Washington Post, 16 May 2013
After teh Kabul car bomb attack claimed by Hezb-e Islami, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here: ‘They have been part of an insurgency for a long time, but never as strong or important as the Taliban,” said Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, speaking from Berlin. “Our impression in recent months was that the two factions were having a kind of rapprochement and making overtures to the government. There are signs that they are not really split. I am a bit surprised if they hit this strongly after trying to get into talks.’

Unravelling the Civil War Propaganda
IPS, 16 May 2013
“Originally intended to foster regional cooperation in the so-called ‘heart of Asia’ – primarily between Afghanistan and its neighbours – this year’s high-level gathering delved into a host of social issues, from education to disaster management, to help strengthen the war-torn country’s economic stability. The independent Afghanistan Analysts Network said the Afghan government’s participation made clear that it saw the regional initiative as crucial to securing its future after 2014.”

Suicide bomber kills 15 in Kabul, including US troops and contractors
Stars and Stripes, 16 May 2013
In its report about the 16 May car bomb attack in Kabul, claimed by Hezb-e Islami and the largest one this year so far, the newspaper quotes from Borhan Osman’s AAN blog on Hezb: ‘The commander of Hezb-e-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, announced last month that the group would participate in the upcoming presidential election — a departure from earlier pronouncements that the group would join the political process only if the NATO coalition withdrew from Afghanistan, according to a paper by Borhan Osman with the Afghanistan Analysts Network.’

Afghans voice wariness of Pakistan’s Sharif
Washington Post, 15 May 2013
Pam Constable quotes Ahmed Rashid from a blog published by AAN on the outcome of the Pakistani elections: ‘With the heavy mandate Sharif has obtained and his own desire to be more involved with foreign policy, there will be more interlocutors to influence policy toward the Taliban. … After many years, there will be civilian input into the military’s policy toward Afghanistan and the Taliban, which is a good thing.’

Afghan finance minister offers peek at high-level corruption
Stars and Stripes, 14 May 2013
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is paraphrased and quoted in this article on Minister Zakhilwal’s open attack in Parliament on 6 MPs, where he provided details of alleged corruption: “In Afghanistan, you usually don’t get in trouble for corruption just because you’re corrupt. Most of the time it’s because someone wants to come after you.”

Hæren klarer ikke holde Taliban unna
Aftenposten, 11 May 2013
Aftenposten quotes AAN’s Martine van Bijlert and Obaid Ali on the readiness of the Afghan Security Forces. Obaid Ali (translation): “Look for example at Almar, 30 kilometers from Maimana, where the Taliban have power at night. Some say they were in power even when the Norwegians were there, but after the Norwegians left, there are reports that the Taliban and armed rebels feel stronger.” In winter Ali got a call from a source in Almar, who said that a group of rebels came to his home. They had arrested two people, killed two to three others, and remained there until the next morning. “I asked him why he didn’t call the security forces. He said they called many security forces, but they did not answer the phone. They know what the situation is.”

Nicht hinter jedem Anschlag stecken die Taliban
Stuttgarter Zeitung, 8 May 2013
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German) looking at the context of the recent killing of a German special forces soldier in Baghlan province, mainly laying out the different conflict lines in that area: ‘Taleban are not behind all attacks’. Asked about whether further attacks can be expected, he says that while the Soviets – when withdrawing in 1989 – had an agreement with the mujahedin that there would be no attacks (not to provoke a stop of the withdrawal), a similar one does not exist with the Taleban and that they could be tempted to lash out at the withdrawing forces.

Afghanistan: Die unvollendete Mission
HR2 (German radio), 7 May 2013
Download and listen to a podcast (in German) of an hour-long programme discussing the achievements of the ‘unfinished mission’ (that’s the title) in Afghanistan, involving an interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan: Das tägliche Risiko
Tagesspiegel (Berlin), 6 May 2013
Following the killing of a German special forces member in Baghlan province, the Berlin daily analysis the context and quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and blogs.

VS bestrijden én stimuleren corruptie (US both fights and encourages corruption)
Reformatorisch Dagblad (NL), 2 May 2013
Dutch daily discusses the large CIA payments to President Karzai and quotes extensively from the recent blog by AAN’s Kate Clark on CIA involvement in two Kunar airstrikes.