Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – November 2009

6 min

Talking with the Taliban
Time magazine, 30 November 2009
In this analysis of the pros and cons of negotiiating with the Taleban, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted: ‘Even before 9/11 the [Taleban] wanted to play ball. We didn’t take them seriously then, but we should start doing that now.’

Liberal Peace is dead? Not so Fast
Open Democracy, 27 November 2009
This long and interesting blog/essay by Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh quotes Martine van Bijlert: “In the last eight years international contractors, policy makers and military have become part of an intricate patronage and racketeering network, sometimes as hostage, sometimes as unwitting contributors, but often as an active party seeking to further their perceived economic, political or security interests.”

Afghan Taliban may wait out Washington’s ‘endgame’
Reuters, 27 November 2009
Thomas Ruttig says in this article that a timline for withdrawal ‘might help the Taliban to pursue the approach they have been pursuing, to outwait the West’s engagement in Afghanistan. Let’s not forget, for Afghans, the war has gone on for 30 years.’

Top German commander resigns over deadly air strike, 26 November 2009
According to Thomas Ruttig the German public response to the Kunduz strike is also “linked to how the German government has dealt with its military mission in Afghanistan. (…) The German government, like many Western governments, has claimed that this is not a war, it’s a stabilization exercise and development mission, (…) there was not enough transparency on how the situation looked like in Afghanistan.”

Zermürbt zum Korruptionsmakler (The Demoralised Turn to the Corruption Broker)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung online, 25 November 2009
In this reportage describing corruption mechanisms, Thomas Ruttig is quoted being sceptical about anti-graft steps announced by the Afghan government but also says that certain donor practices encourage corruption.

Troop increase for Afghanistan must be linked to reforms, says expert
Deutsche Welle, 24 November 2009
In this interview, Francesc Vendrell argues that any increase to the troop levels in Afghanistan should only be made on the condition that Kabul carries out an ambitious reform program (full transcript).

Amnesia and Arrogance on Display in US Aid to Afghan Militias
The Moderate Voice (blog), 23 November 2009
Blog on CDI quotes Jon Boone quoting Thomas Ruttig.

US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Guardian, 22 November 2009
Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that the latest US-supported militia project (CDI) risks losing control over groups which have in the past turned to looting shops and setting up illegal road checkpoints when they lose foreign support.

‘Aus dem Wundertäter wird der Sündenbock’ (Miracle Worker Became Scapegoat)
Berliner Zeitung, 20 November 2009
Francesc Vendrell in an interview with the Berlin daily says that no one could have succeeded in the Afghan president’s position because hope was put into a person, not institutions. And he comments on the German discussion about ‘war’ in Afghanistan: ‘A

Korruption vil fortsat trives i Afghanistan
Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark), 20 November 2009
In this article in Danish, Thomas Ruttig is quoted as follows: ‘If Karzai is serious, the international community needs to support him robustly, The US and other countries must make clear to the warlords that there will be no tolerance for violence and for further disappropriation of external funds. But the international community itself has lost a lot of credibility’.

Reasons behind the return of the caravan of terror
The Telegraph (India), 20 November
The article discusses ‘Decoding the Taliban’ and refers to Martine van Bijlert’s contribution on Uruzgan to the book.

Afghanistan President Karzai inaugural: promises of a clean cabinet
Christian Science Monitor, 19 November 2009
“The current pressure by the international community seems largely aimed at getting a cabinet that they are happy with and that they can show to their home audiences as a step in the right direction,” says Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul. “This is partly about not having obvious names in it that everybody recognizes – so they can come out publicly and say we welcome this cabinet.”

Afghanistan to form anti-graft unit as pressure grows
Reuters, 17 November 2009
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here as follows: ‘On the one hand the [Afghan government is] responding to the international demands to do more against corruption, but we will have to wait [for ajudgement] until they become active and come up with results,

“Decoding the New Taliban”
New Yorker, 12 November 2009
In his blog “Think Tank” Steve Coll singles out the contributions by Joanna Nathan and Thomas Ruttig in his discussion of Antonio Giustozzi’s new book “Decoding the New Taliban”.

The Economist encircled the elections (translated from Chinese), 11 November 2009
AAN’s “Martin Wan Bai Jie Lete” on the need to better supervise the elections and not just take for granted or wish that the second time will be better.

‘Militärisch nicht mehr zu gewinnen’ (No military victory possible anymore)
Salzburger Nachrichten (Austria), 7 November 2009
The Austrian daily publishes a long interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on future strategies for Afghanistan (in German)

Afghanistan: ‘Das ist Krieg, Mann gegen Mann’ (Afghanistan – That’s War)
Die Presse (Vienna), 5 November 2009
The Viennese daily reports on an Afghanistan conference in Bavaria in which AAN’s Thomas Ruttig participated. He pleaded for a ‘comprehensive political strategy’ in which a dialog with ‘pragmatic, politically thinking Taleban is only one element’. At the same time, he added, there is a tradition of struggles for democrac in Afghanistan. Therefore, those alternative forces need to be supported and strengthened as a counterweight to surging Islamist forces.

Am Ende gibt es nur Verlierer (In the End, There Are Only Losers)
Rheinischer Merkur (Bonn), 5 November 2009
An analysis of the Afghan elections as a manifestation for the failed democratisation of Afghanistan by Britta Petersen quotes AAN’s Francesc Vendrell and Thomas Ruttig on the necessity of an ’emergency government’ and a Loya Jirga as a way out of the current crisis as well as on the failed post-2001 disarmament of militias as a major reason for this failure.

Grading the Afpak experts
The Afpak channel (Foreign Policy), 3 November 2009.
Afghan experts informally predicted the election results and Martine van Bijlert did well.

Trans-Afghan gas pipeline, the dream that won’t die
Reuters, 3 November 2011

Afghan Electoral Outcome Presents Both Problems, Opportunity for US
Voice of America, 3 November 2009
AAN advisory board member Francesc Vendrell is quoted as saying that after the elections ‘one is faced with an administration in Kabul that has little legitimacy’. He is sceptical about the international response: ‘The [US] administration, as well as other European governments, will probably claim that things are now fine’.

Afghanen bang dat het Westen nu verkeerde conclusies zal trekken (Afghans fear the West will draw the wrong conclusions)
3 November 2009, Reformatorisch Dagblad.
Interview with Martine van Bijlert on the elections and what will happen now.

Democratie in Afghanistan en Burma?
VPRO Radio (podcast), 3 November 2009.
Radio interview with AAN´s Martine on Karzai’s second term and on how to deal with the country´s corruption.

Karzai vows to stamp out corruption during the second term
Radio France International, 3 November 2009.
Quotes from a radio interview by Martine van Bijlert (“Martina van Bylitt from Afghanistan Analysts in Holland”) on the emerging narratives on the elections.

Ein Land in der Sackgasse (A country in a cul-de-sac)
tageszeitung (Berlin), 2 November 2009
Find an English and extended version of this commentary provided by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig to the Berlin daily under his logs on this website.

Afghaanse schijnverkiezing (Afghanistan’s pretend-election)
De Standaard Online (Belgium), 2 November 2009.
Martine van Bijlert warns that if the second round is to take place, it threatens to be as problematic and marred by fraud as the first one.

‘Karzai will unbedingt an der Macht bleiben’ (‘Karzai tries to stay in power, no matter how’)
Berliner Zeitung, 2 November 2009
In this interview, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig says that he does not share US Secretary of State’s assessment that the withdrawal of Dr Abdullah from the second election round does not undermine President Karzai’s credibility

Herausforderer Abdullah will Stichwahl in Afghanistan boykottieren (Abdullah Will Boycott Run-Off)
Saarbruecker Zeitung, 2 November 2009
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted with his doubts that a second round of elections will produce a more legitimate outcome than the first one.

‘Karzai will unbedingt an der Macht bleiben’ (‘Karzai tries to stay in power, no matter how’)
Berliner Zeitung, 2 November 2009
In this interview, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig says that he does not share US Secretary of State’s assessment that the withdrawal of Dr Abdullah from the second election round does not undermine President Karzai’s credibility

Westen schluckt Karsais Sieg (The West Swallows Karzai’s Victory)
Financial Times Deutschland, 2 November 2009
The German daily also quotes Francesc Vendrell’s proposal to install an ’emergency government’ in Afghanistan to lead the country out of the crisis.

Afeganistão. Karzai vai a votos sozinho na segunda volta
Informacao (Lisbon), 2 November 2009
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted with his doubts that a second round of elections will produce a more legitimate outcome than the frirst one.

Analysis: Karzai will struggle for credibility
The Times, 1 November 2009
In Tom Coghlan’s analysis, AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is quoted as saying: ‘All indications are that the second round will be a repeat of the first one (in terms of fraud), but there will be much less appetite (among voters) for it. It will damage Karzai’s legitimacy rather than build it up.’

Afghanistan faces a crisis of credibility.
Globe and Mail, 1 November 2009
Article quotes Martine van Bijlert on Abdullah’s withdrawal: “My sense is there has been quite a push to find other ways of resolution without going ahead with an election,”

Abdullah’s withdrawal leaves Afghanistan with a stained president
Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November 2009
In Paul McGeough’s article, AAN’s Martine van Bijlert analyses that Dr Abdullah might ‘be doing many of the stakeholders a favour [by opting out], because there were very few people who really want this second round to happen’.


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