Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – November 2011

10 min

Vier Optionen – alle negativ
Mannheimer Morgen, 30 November 2011
The German local newspaper, in an article describing Afghanistan’s situation before the Bonn 2 conference, summarises the four post-2014 options laid out in a joint paper earlier this year by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and the SWP’s Citha Maaß.

Pakistan boykottiert Bonn
Neues Deutschland, 30 November 2011
The Berlin-based leftwing daily quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig sa saying that the situation after the recent border incident between US and Pakistani troops is ‘very critical’, bit for US-Pakistani and Afghan-Pakistani relations.

US leads calls on Pakistan to reverse Bonn boycott
AFP, 30 November 2011
AAN’s Fabrizio Foschinii on Pakistan’s refusal to attend the upcoming Bonn conference: “I think something could still be done even without Pakistan because it was never going to be focused only on the Taliban and Pakistan.”

Afghanistan Seeks Enduring Support
Wall Street Journal, 29 November 2011
“Everyone knows—only most governments don’t admit this—that the money will leave with the soldiers,” says Thomas Ruttig, senior analyst at the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network. “Transition is a colossus built of clay.”

Afghanistan Seeks Enduring Support
Wall Street Journal, 29 November 2011
‘The international community will assure in a credible way that it will not repeat the mistakes of the past,’ says Michael Steiner, Germany’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments in the article: ‘Everyone knows—only most governments don’t admit this—that the money will leave with the soldiers. Transition is a colossus built of clay.’

Fears of Being Left in the Cold after Troop Pullout
IPS, 28 November 2011
AAN’s Advisory Board Chairman Francesc Vendrell is quoted from his presentation at the 23 November Böll conference here: From the very beginning the western allies committed serious mistakes, said Francesc Vendrell, former UN/EU Special Representative to Afghanistan. “In the difficult Afghan setting it’s important to take advantage of the few materialising opportunities,” he told IPS. “This has not happened.” Two “cardinal mistakes” he mentioned were the decision by western countries to include Afghan warlords in the government and the sidelining of the United Nations. In his point of view the reduced U.N. participation in the peace process has created more space for combat-ready actors like NATO and the United States, whose pretext for invading Afghanistan was to fight the Taliban for harbouring Al Qaeda. Because of their neutrality, the U.N. would be the best facilitators of talks with the Taliban and others in Afghanistan, who are essential for peace, Vendrell said. The Bonn conference is being held much too early, Vendrell criticised. Without clear positions on the part of the actors involved, the conference will be a “waste of money,” he said.

‘Pakistan sieht sich von allen Seiten bedrängt’
Der Standard (Vienna), 28 November 2011
AAN’s Thoms Ruttig (in German) about repercussions of the latest US airstrike on Pakistani territory.

Afghanistan – ten years after Petersberg
Heinrich Böll Foundation, 26 November 2011
Listen to the full audio stream of a panel with AAN’s Francesc Vendrell and Thomas Ruttig as well as Amrullah Saleh, Shinkai Karokhel and former UN SRSG Tom Koenigs (only intro is in German, all statements in English).

Mỹ và tham vọng biến Trung Đông thành sân sau mãi mãi (Vietnam), 25 November 2011
AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is quoted on this Vietnamese website: ‘Ai cũng biết rõ Afghanistan giàu khoáng sản, đặc biệt là đồng, vàng, đá ruby, than đá và đất hiếm, những nguyên liệu cần thiết giúp tạo nên những thiết bị công nghệ cao như điện thoại Blackberry hay ôtô Prius. Tuy nhiên, tài nguyên khoáng sản cũng không thể khỏa lấp chỗ trống mà Mỹ để lại sau khi rút quân khỏi đây’.

Afghanistan: Dieci anni di occupazione, Loya Jirga e un destino avvolto nella nebbia
Radio Onda D’Urto, 24 November 2011
Link to a radio program (in Italian) discussing the situation in Afghanistan after ten years of international presence. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini is among the interviewed analysts.

Let’s Hear from the Spies
The New Yorker, 24 November 2011
Steve Coll discusses the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), currently still in draft, which ‘on the whole is gloomier than the typical public statements made by U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan.’ He further observes that you don’t need secret information to assess the Afghan stalemate, but that reports from the Times, the Af-Pak Channel and AAN give you all the raw material you need for your own, customized NIE.

Afghan mines no solution for economic woes
Reuters, 22 November 2011
‘Mining is seen as a silver bullet, not only by the Afghan government but also by the international community [for solving its post-2014 financial problems]’, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here. ‘It is very welcome that Afghanistan has mining on the horizon… (but) extraction of mineral wealth does not necessarily produce an improvement of life for the local population. Very often, mining under a weak state which cannot control it is a recipe for more conflict.’

Genährt und gelähmt durch Hilfsgelder: Düstere Perspektiven für Afghanistans Wirtschaft 
ARD (German TV), 21 November 2011
In an analysis about expected economic problems in post.2014 Afghanistan, AAN’s Martine van Bijlert is quoted: ‘In almost all sectors, there is more money circulating then ever before’, pushing prices up, making live more expensive and rents in Kabul unaffordable for many people.

Afghanistans Präsident auf Zickzackkurs
Neues Deutschland, 19-20 November 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig reports about the handpicked Traditional Loya Jirga in Kabul which is not considered as legitimate (and even legal) by relevant political groups. Therefore, he argues, it will fail – again – to establish a national consensus about US bases and talks with the Taleban. Therefore, -Gespräche stellt diese Dschirga and rather heat up than calm down the country’s domestic political debates (in German, subscribers only).

Hamid Karzai, il funambolo destinato a cadere
il manifesto, 20 November 2011
The article (in Italian) quotes one of Kate Clark’s blogs on the Traditional Loya Jirga, noting a basic incompatibility between its push for national sovereignty and the long-term presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Key Afghan meeting backs troop deal with US 
AFP, 19 November 2011
‘The aim of the jirga appears not to be to deliver fresh policy but to get political cover so the president can cite it as evidence that the people supported a deal with the Americans,’ Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network wrote this week in a blog posting.

Afghan leaders want Nato night raids to end
Gulf Times, 19 November 2011
“The aim of the jirga appears not to be to deliver fresh policy but to get political cover so the president can cite it as evidence that the people supported a deal with the Americans,” Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network wrote this week in a blog posting.

Loya Dschirga in Afghanistan: Karzais Ablenkungsmanöver
Frankfurter Allgemeine, 17 November 2011
AAN’s Kate Clark is quoted here as doubtful about whether this Loya Jirga can establish a national consensus about a strategic partnership with the US: ‘if it were about a national consensus, one would chose people who are influential in their regions, with a certain independence.’ But instead the government has invited mainly ‘Karzai loyalists’.

Kabul’s unlikely housing bubble seems ready to burst
McClatchy newspapers, 17 November 2011
In this article about possible repercussions of the Western drawdown in Afghanistan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that ‘[t]here are fears — and I think they are realistic — that the drawdown has economic effects long term’: Besides a decline in foreign assistance, ‘a lot of jobs will be lost when the drawdown happens and other international actors reduce’ their presence.

Afghanistan’s interminable war: Looking for the exit
Economist, 16 November 2011
Reading the Guardian’s Jonathan Steele’s book ‘Ghosts of Afghanistan’ on ‘transition, the favoured common euphemism for foreign withdrawal’, the reviewer picks a quote of the former UN and EU special envoy (and head of the AAN advisory board) Francesc Vendrell that stands at the end of it: ‘Having failed dismally to make the Afghan people our allies, we will inevitably abandon them to a combination of Taliban in the south and the warlords in the north, and (having somehow redefined success) we will go home convinced that it is the Afghan people who have failed us.’

The Afghan banking crisis
Le Monde diplomatique, November 2011
Louis Imbert’s article (with a more striking headline in the German edition: Kabul’s Robber Bank) quotes from Martine van Bijlert’s AAN blog on the aspect of the IMF-Afghan government tug-of-war of stopping or allowing further international cash flows (the English, French and German online versions of the article are subscribers only).

Afghan elders hold key talks on US ties, peace
AFP, 16 November 2011
“The delegates themselves have been left mystified as to what exactly they will be discussing and why,” wrote Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in a blog post Wednesday.

Afghans to debate future of U.S. presence, Taliban vow attacks
Reuters, 16 November 2011
AAN’s Kate clark is quoted as expecting little of substance to come from the meeting: “Either you would want to have an agreement sorted out (with the United States) so they could discuss it and ratify it, or you would want a discussion that would give red lines or mandate the government in such a way that it would have a national consensus for negotiating. We are definitely not going to see a draft document. And as this is a jirga of selected delegates, we can’t expect this to be a forum for thrashing out difficult issues.”

Loja Dschirga im Nebel
ARD Tagesschau (German TV), 16 November 2011
AAN’s Kate Clark is quoted here as saying that the jirga could help in fixing principles, drawing lines and work out demands for the strategic partnership agreement with the US: ‘if this is its aim’. And on talks with the Taleban: There is no real will to enter into talks, both by the Taleban as by the US: both follow a course of killing and talking at the same time, while the killing takes priority.

Karzai Call for Meeting of Elders Questioned
New York Times, 15 November 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the Loya Jirga myth and on the background of the latest jirga: ‘Afghans tend to see the jirgas in a golden light and speak of them as a very traditional way of deciding things’, but in fact they have been used by Afghan leaders to give a populist imprimatur to their policies only in the past 85 years, starting with King Amanullah in the 1920s. ‘[T]hey can be useful when you have relative stability, but when you have instability and don’t reflect the broad set of opinions, then they run into trouble’. If the seemingly intentional vagueness reflects a certain rudderless state of mind in the Afghan leadership, that would also be worrisome: ‘The government is not supposed to be amateurs. They are supposed to lead the country and know the Constitution, but they seem sometimes not to know it very well.’

Afghanistan and the Taliban: Collateral damage
Economist, 14 November 2011
AAN’s Kate Clark reports that in the south-east, the insurgents’ quasi-legal structures for establishing the guilt of alleged spies have largely been abandoned in favour of summary executions.

Quo vadis, Афганистан? Элементы сценарного …
Archangelskie Novosti (Russia), 14 November 2011
The analyst of the Northern Russian newspaper quotes a paper on possible post-2014 scenarios co-authored by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and Citha Maass, formerly with the SWP in Berlin.

Life better since Taliban driven from Kabul, says Nato
BBC, 13 November 2011
NATO says life in Kabul is better. AAN’s Kate Clark says: “People are always having to pay bribes for everything, even legal things,” and “One friend has lost several members of his family in Taliban attacks in the city. People assumed and hoped things would be a lot better by now.”

Taliban says stop civilian deaths, but actions speak louder
Reuters, 8 November 2011
AAN’s Kate Clark on whether Mulla Omar’s Eid messages signals a possible change in policy: “You have to give it a bit of time. I’d want to be looking at things like whether they are taking better precautions, and better targeting where the bomb is taking place. The attack on the ISAF bus (in late October in Kabul) — that’s not a place to be carrying out a suicide attack if you’re serious about protecting civilians.”

Istanbul, Kabul e l’ispirazione di Helsinki
Aspenia Online, 8 November 2011
Thomas Ruttig is quoted (article in Italian) on the West’s mistake of believing that ‘ it can handle Afghanistan alone’.

Desperate bid to purchase elusive peace
The Hindu, 5 November 2011
Praveen Swami, the Delhi daily’s chief-of-buerau, quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig’s sentence about the ‘younger, more radical generation of Taleban commanders’ again, and concludes that ‘leaders such as Mr. [Serajuddin] Haqqani, put simply, have more on-ground clout than the peacemakers — and the IEA chief, Mullah Muhammad Omar, doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring them.’

Desperate bid to purchase elusive peace
The Hindu, 5 November 2011
Praveen Swami, the Delhi daily’s chief-of-buerau in his lead article, quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig’s sentence about the ‘younger, more radical generation of Taleban commanders’ again, and concludes that ‘leaders such as Mr. [Serajuddin] Haqqani, put simply, have more on-ground clout than the peacemakers — and the IEA chief, Mullah Muhammad Omar, doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring them.’

Mullah Omar warns Taliban against hurting Afghan civilians
The Guardian, 4 November 2011
Kate Clark, a researcher at AAN, said even though the statement was in part propaganda it could also help civilians trapped in the middle of fighting between Nato and Taliban forces. “It is much, much more specific than ever before on the Taliban’s system of internal discipline and command and control. And they admit that they themselves are causing civilian casualties, not just people doing it in their name.”

USA mogą rozmawiać z mułłą Omarem
Gazeta Wyborcza (Polska), 4 November 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here as supporting talks with the Taleban, but wrongly as a ‘German diplomat’ (he is a former one): ‘- To decyzja ważna i dobra – mówi o rozmowach z talibami niemiecki dyplomata Thomas Ruttig, jeden z najwybitniejszych znawców Afganistanu. Ruttig nie wierzy jednak, by USA kiedykolwiek udało się tak osłabić partyzantów, by zgodzili się przystać na negocjacje na zachodnich warun Więcej…’

Das Gift des Abzugs: Afghanistan auf dem Weg zu neuer Instabilität
Deutschlandradio, 4 November 2011
A radio feature by Martin Gerner, including a discussion round featuring, amongst others, AAN’s Kate Clark, Afghn civil society rep Aziz Rafiee and former Taleban diplomat Abdul Hakim Mujahed (with transcript on the page’s right-hand side).

New ‘Truth and Justice’ Party Looks To Shake Up Afghan Politic
RFE/RL, 4 November 2011
The report about the party’s launching quotes information from Thomas Ruttig’s AAN blog about the same issue.

La conferenza di Istanbul prova a raddrizzare le sorti di Kabul
Terra, 3 November 2011
The article on the Istanbul conference (in Italian) quotes Thomas Ruttig ‘from the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a reliable research centre in Kabul’, on the Afghan hopes to see the set up of some sort of regional ‘mechanism’ to guarantee non-interference in Afghanistan and the opposition of some of the participant countries to the idea.

Trans-Afghan gas pipeline, the dream that won’t die
Reuters, 3 November 2011
Commenting on the TAPI pipeline, but generally also about plans to use Afghanistan as a transit country, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig warns against too high expectations: ‘pipelines, roads and railways, […] these are all very vulnerable […]. The pipeline is very long and very difficult to defend — you can’t put a soldier every 20 metres.’

Zachód oddaje pół Afganistanu Kabulowi
Gazeta Wyborcza (Polska), 2 November 2011
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here on phase 2 of enteqal, and about the situation in Ghazni, the Polish deployment province, in particular.

Dürre und Arbeitslosigkeit
Bayern 2 (radio), 2 November 2011
On the occasion of the Istanbul conference on Afghanistan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig gets the opportunity to talk about the under-reported socio-economic situation in Afghanistan, referring to the ongoing drought, unemployment etc. (listen to the audio in German).

Turkey talks aim for Afghanistan peace plan
Radio Australia, 2 November 2011
Listen to an audio: Thomas Ruttig from the Afghanistan Analysts Network talks about what the people of Afghanistan are hoping for from the Istanbul conference.


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