Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – November 2010

6 min

Afghan officials free top Taliban fighters
Reuters, 30 November 2010
Afghan security forces and hig-ranking officials, including President Karzai, are freeing captured senior Taliban for payment or political motives, states this article. Reuters gives the case of GHulam Haidar, a leading insurgent commander from Kandahar. AAN’s Kate Clark adds that some Taleban are freed legally but with a worrying lack of transparency, citing the case of Akbar Agha freed late last year by Karzai.

Underrättelsemiss skymmer utsikterna till fred
Hufvudstadsbladet (Helsinki), 27 November 2010
The Finnish daily quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig on the fake Taleban leader affair as follows: ‘Jag är förbluffad över att hela militär- och underrättelseapparaturen i Afghanistan, främst amerikanerna, inte kunde identifiera talibanernas nummer 2 när de träffar honom. De gör sig själva till åtlöje och, vad värre är, rubbar förtroendet för alla försök att skapa den försoning som afghanerna desperat behöver. (He is flabbergasted that the large US and others’ military and intelligence apparatuses are not able to clearly identify even one of the top-most Taleban and basically asks whether the money invested in them could have been used more efficiently.)

Afghans Arrest 5 on Vote Bribe Charges
New York Times, 26 November 2010
In an article about the developing post-electoral crisis in Afghanistan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that ‘[w]hat’s behind this is a power struggle between the presidential palace and the [independent election] commission. The commission has turned out to be much more independent than many people thought.’

Afghan Election Results Stir Up New Controversy
National Public Radio, 25 November 2010
With regard to the current post-election drama, AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini remarks that ‘[s]ome people really see the possibility of the election results being rejected, and even the possibility of a new election, which is completely crazy’ and that the real danger is that the tainted election is eroding Afghans’ faith in the democratic process.

Gewehre und Geld regieren
tageszeitung (Berlin), 25 November 2010
A short analysis of the almost complete final result of the Afghan parliamentary elections by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (in German). More details in his AAN blog dated 23 November.

AFGHANISTAN: Kuchi minority complain of marginalization
IRIN Asia, 23 November 2010
In a report by IRIN on the conditions of the Kuchi community in the suburbs of Kabul, Fabrizio Foschini, a political researcher with the Afghanistan Analysts Network, speaks of government money paid to influential Kuchi leaders last year to ensure Kuchis did not enter Hazara areas.

Unresolved Afghan election could undercut U.S. efforts
McClatchy Newspapers, 22 November 2010
In a report about the outcome of the elections in Ghazni province where no Pashtun candidate made it through after disqualifications, AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini says that ‘it will be a huge propaganda issue’ for the Taleban who will be able to say that Pashtuns are kep out of government and ‘you must be with us’ therefore.

Sicherheit mit Warlords?
Islamische Zeitung (Berlin) online, 22 November 2010
The German newspaper quotes extensively from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blogs about militias/Local Defence Initiative and the inteqal process.

Afghan timeline seen fraying under military pressure
Reuters, 18 November 2010
NATO CivRep Sedwill’s warning that the alliance may miss a 2014 deadline for handing over control of Afghan security exposed a gulf between political timelines and complex military reality in Afghanistan, writes the news agency. Both Martine van Bijlert and Thomas Ruttig are quoted here. Martine: ‘[A]lthough you can spin quite a lot there are limits, and that is perhaps where this comes from — trying to soften the timeline while holding onto the message they are transitioning and planning to leave.’ Thomas: ‘We need to keep the troops but move away from the primarily military effort and push for a political solution instead.’

Ryssland på väg tillbaka till Afghanistan (Russia returns to Afghanistan)
Expressen (Swedish Daily), 19 November 2010
Very small quote from Martine van Bijlert on a possible greater role for Russia in NATO: “Där har varit flera olika spekulationer om vad deras roll kommer att vara i Afghanistan och förhoppningsvis får vi veta nu” (there has been a lot of speculation).

Assertive Karzai bewilders allies
AP, 18 November 2010
On the latest US-Karzai controversy about night raids and other military tactics, AAN’s Martine van Bijlert says that ‘[b]oth [sides] see the other side as erratic, duplicitous, not honest about their own agenda.’ And USIP’s Andrew Wilder adds that Karzai is ‘quite skillful at using these confrontations over tactical issues, which end up consuming large amounts of time and energy of top international policymakers … to distract attention from more important strategic issues that he does not want the international community dealing with.’

Niets is zeker in slangenkuil Uruzgan (Nothing is Certain in Snake Pit Uruzgan)
De Pers (NL daily), 18 November 2010
Article on the death of Moallem Sadiq in Chora (killed in his own guestroom by a suicide bomber two days earlier) quotes AAN’s Martine van Bijlert: “The death of a leader weakens a community. In this case it has become more difficult for the Achekzai tribe [in the area] to defend themselves, against the taleban, but also against hostile tribes or the government”.

Karzai stösst seine Verbündeten vor den Kopf
Tagesanzeiger, 18 November 2010
Martine van Bijlert on how many Afghans view the international military engagement: “Die Ausländer kämen mit all ihrem Militär und ihrem Geld ins Land, um gegen die Taliban zu kämpfen, doch warum würden die Aufständischen dann immer stärker? Das fragten sich die meisten Afghanen.” (The foreigners came with all their troops and all their money to fight the Taleban, so why is the insurgency growing in strength?”)

How Afghans View the NATO Summit
Christian Science Monitor, 18 November 2010
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert: “For Afghans, the discussion of the date has been a big thing. The suggestion that troops would be leaving by 2011 has caused quite a bit of consternation and concern”.

Wary of Taliban, Afghan mujahedeen ready for fight
Associated Press, 13 November 2010
Martine van Bijlert on the concerns many Afghans feel: “The expectation is that insecurity will increase, that the hold of the government will slip even further, (m)any fear that it will be like the early 1990s, when there was civil war in Afghanistan and everyone fought everyone.”

Billions for Aid Never Reaches Afghans (audio)
NPR, 12 November 2010
Highly critical feature on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ discusses aid wastage and quotes AAN’s Martine van Bijlert “to announce how much you have spent to prove how much you have done, only makes people more angry”.

Erst zuschlagen, dann reden und spalten (print only)
Wochenzeitung (Zurich), 11 November 2010
In this article (print only), AAN’s Thomas Ruttig analysis the latest wave of reports about ‘Taleban contacts’ as the psyops part of a new US strategy in Afghanistan.

Dossier: Der Krieg in Afghanistan
Thurgauer Zeitung, 10 November 2010
The Swiss daily includes an earlier interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the reported talks between the Kabul government and Taleban into its Afghanistan Dossier (in German).

Was wird aus 50.000 Bewaffneten?
Frankfurter Algemeine, 9 November 2010
Martine van Bijlert quoted on the latest PSC (private security company) controversy: Der Präsident verhalte sich in dieser Frage „ungewöhnlich standfest“, meint Martine van Bijlert vom „Afghanistan Analysts Network“. Ein Motiv könnte seine „echte Sorge“ über ein fehlendes staatliches Gewaltmonopol sein. Aber wie viele andere hält Frau Bijlert auch für möglich, dass ein „Geschäftsfeld bereinigt“ werden soll.

Die Spannung ist aus den Gesichtern gewichen
Frankfurter Algemeine, 8 November 2010
Martine van Bijlert on the recent NATO spin: „Natürlich versuchen sie die Stimmung zu drehen vor Lissabon und dem Review in Washington (…) Derzeit versucht die Isaf, mit gewaltigen Anstrengungen eine kritische Masse zu erzeugen, die dann alles in die andere Richtung bewegen soll. Doch es klafft eine Lücke zwischen den Verlautbarungen und der Wirklichkeit im Land.“

413 Afghan parliamentary candidates charged with election fraud, 7 November 2010
Article leans heavily on Martine van Bijlert’s election blogs.

Hekmatyar fordert Abzug (Hekmatyar Demands Troop Withdrawal)
ZDF, 5 November 2010
Watch a video of a report with a rare interview with warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on German TV, including comment by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig.

Afghanistan War: Let the Transition Begin
Global Post (blog), 5 November 2010
Jean MacKenzie’s article on ‘Mr Transition’ quotes Martine van Bijlert on the recent optimistic reports that ‘peace is on the way’: “Some of the internationals do not have the details on the ground and they assume that the stories of change and momentum are true, Others are true believers. They think that while things look bleak now, it will get better down the road. They see the signs everywhere. And then there are those who know that the upbeat picture is nonsense, but they see it as the only way out.”

Taliban, Haqqani and Hezb-i-Islami akin to modern-day Nazis
National Examiner, 7 November 2010
Although we would not subscribe to the equation in this headline, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here from his recent last blog about Hezb-e Islami.

Proliferation of armed groups threatens aid work 
Alertnet, 1 November 2010
Article on the increasing impact of irregular armed groups quotes Thomas Ruttig:

FACTBOX-Afghanistan’s troubled history of attempted talks 
Reuters, 1 November 2010
AAN made it into the reuters factbox about the heavily discussed ‘talks’ issue, with Martine van Bijlert putting the record straight: ‘There always have been talks and there always will be. Faultlines in Afghanistan tend to be fluid and not very clear cut. Adversaries tend to stay in touch with each other as much as possible.’

No Peace without Justice and Equality in Afghanistan
Huffington Post, 1 November 2010
Foreign Policy Strategist blogger Michael Hughes quotes extensively from Horia Mosadiq#s latest guest blog on AAN and summarises the rest. he calls ‘the notion that Afghans are uninterested in living in a progressive, just and free society is most certainly a colonial and racist one’ but ‘a premise that serves Afghanistan’s ruling minority quite well’ and Lakhdar Brahimi’s sentence on justice and peace the ‘most glaring violation of ignoring the Afghan voice occurred after the Taliban regime collapsed in 2001’ where B. ‘in close cooperation with and under significant pressure from Zalmay Khalilzad, then the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, opened the gate for bringing the warlords and human rights perpetrators back to power’.


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