Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

AAN In The Media – September 2012

7 min

The Tricky Business Of Reintegrating The Taliban 
NPR, 28 September 2012
In an attempt to put down the insurgency in Afghanistan, the international community has spent millions to try to reintegrate former Taliban fighters and other militants back into society. So how well has it worked? Critics like Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network say many militants use these programs to gain access to arms and money, without necessarily changing their ways. “It’s a complete disaster, because there is not enough rule of law here to ensure that people — whether or not they have a good or bad past — will not prey on the local population again,” Clark says.

Afghan doctor wins alternative Nobel Prize
Deutsche Welle (English), 28 September 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig called the award to Samar ‘richly deserved.’ Her human rights commission, Ruttig notes, is ‘increasingly working in an unfriendly environment.’ Unfortunately, too, support for the commission by the West has dropped off more and more over the last several years. ‘Therefore, the prize is also a political signal not to forget Afghanistan in the wake of Western troop withdrawals’. Many of the country’s problems have yet to be solved, he added.

Pause in joint patrols threatens NATO mission
Deutsche Welle (English), 28 September 2012
Here, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on the recently finished US surge: ‘My take on the surge is that it has actually even made [some] things worse in Afghanistan because it has triggered an escalation. The surge has been followed by a surge on the part of the Taliban, which includes that wave of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and targeted assassinations that is a reflection of the kill-and-capture strategy of US special forces. I do not see that the situation has improved in the key areas where the surge has happened.’

Für Frieden und Sicherheit: Alternativer Nobelpreis
Neues Deutschland (Berlin), 28 September 2012
AAN’sThomas Ruttig is quoted here on the ‘alternative Nobel Prize’ for Sima Samar, saying that this is an »important political signal at the right time«. Samar’s AIHRC, he adds. works in an »increasingly unfriendly atmosphere« and staff members »complain about weakening support auch einen Rückgang by the democratic countries in the West«. The commission also has to face growing pressure by mujahedin leaders in the government of President Hamid Karzai

Afghanistan-Experte: Auszeichnung Samars ist «politisches Signal»
dpa, 27 September 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig calls the award of the ‘Alternative Nobel Price’ to Sima Samar as ‘highly deserved’. He also warns that Samar’s AIHRC increasingly stands alone and is under pressure in Afghanistan, that members are worried about declining international support and recent publications of the commission have been suppressed so far (in German).

Mit Warlords zum Frieden
tageszeitung (Berlin), 27 September 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments on and criticises ,in an op-ed, on a new concept of the German government for ‘fragile states’ that attempts to draw lessons from the case of Afghanistan – termed by a German minister as ‘case of loss’ when introducing the paper – and that suggests that the government should, in future, should link up more with ‘local perceptions of legitimacy’ and ‘endogenous traditions and institutions’, instead, as another minister remarked, ‘export our model of democracy’. Rightly so, says Thomas, just that the West has not exported democracy to Afghanistan, but reinjected warlord rule (in German).

Sulla lavagna afghana un vecchio copione
il manifesto (Italy), 19 September 2012
Italian journalist Giuliano Battiston reviews three publications (in Italian) dealing with leftist political movements in Afghanistan, including AAN’s report ‘Ideology without Leadership. The Rise and Decline of Maoism in Afghanistan’ by Niamatullah Ibrahimi and a new book about the Sholai (Maoist) movement, ‘Shùlai: The Afghan Maoist Movement Testonies Told by Militants’, by Enrico Piovesana (Kindle edition only in English so far), concentrating on Rehayi, or Afghan Liberation Organisation.

Foreign troops killed in southern Afghanistan 
Al Jazeera, 17 September 2012
Kate Clark, a Kabul-based analyst with the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), told Al Jazeera that insider attacks “strike right at the heart of what ISAF and NATO are trying to do [in Afghanistan]”. “I think as such the Taliban are one part of the problem. Mullah Omar, in a recent message marking the occasion of the end of Ramadan, actually called on his fighters to specifically target the foreign military in this way. But there’s also the attacks arising from the friction between people from different nations fighting or training together,” she said. She said that the scale of the coalition’s training effort for the Afghan security forces creates definite vulnerabilities. “And the very speed of that training programme, the vastness of it [with] tens of thousands of men being trained, means that I think it’s been difficult to keep a handle on it. It’s a vulnerable place where people with malintent can get close to the foreign forces,” she said.

Pashtun Awakening: Defeat The Taliban By Changing The Narrative
Eurasia Review, 15 September 2012
In this analysis of what the review calls the ‘Pashtun Awakening’ (the anti-Taleban uprisings in several provinces) AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted, describing (in an earlier paper) the lack of options the Pashtuns have available: ‘In today’s violent atmosphere, between the anvil of the Karzai government and the hammer of the T’liban, there are no viable political alternatives for Pashtuns.”

‘Die Menschen fühlen da eine viel tiefere Beleidigung’
Deutschlandradio Kultur, 14 September 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig about the possibility of violent protests against an anti-Islamic video, for which Thomas does not see any signs currently, and the background for the protests (in German, with audio).

Bagram-Knast wird afghanisch
tageszeitung (Berlin), 11 September 2012
In a report about the handover of Afghan detainees from US into Afghan custody, AAN’s Kate Clark is quoted on a group of 30-50 detainees that had so far been excluded from the move. She assumes that Afghan-US differences in these cases are about ‘detention without trial’, a practice the US side pressures the Afghan government to adopt.

Britanci žele dijeliti Afganistan na osam zona?
Večernji list (Croatia), 10 September 2012
The Croatian daily also reports on ‘Plan C’ and quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig via The Independent.

«Plan C», le futur de l’Afghanistan, diviser pour mieux régner
45e Nord (Canadian blog), 10 September 2012
An article about the infamous ‘Plan C’ to split Afgganistan into different regions, quoting AAN’s Thomas Ruttig – via The Independent:’ C’est à cause de divisions comme celles-ci qu’en 1994 a débuté la création des « seigneurs de la guerre » (Warlords) qui s’est traduite par le régime des talibans’.

Controversial plan to split up Afghanistan
The Independent, 9 September 2012
In this article about the suggestion of a British Tory MP to split Afghanistan into several parts (Plan C), Wazhma Frogh, executive director of Afghanistan’s Research Institute for Women, Peace and Security, says: ‘Who is the British MP sitting in London and deciding for Afghanistan? It should be us, the people of this country, deciding if we want to divide into states or collapse as a nation. I am surprised to see an MP of a democratic country creating the future and showing solutions for a country in which he doesn’t have to live and where his children will not have to live.’ And AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that splitting the country into such regions will result in the empowerment of what we have started calling ‘local (or regional) power brokers’ and what was known as ‘warlords’ before, whose misrule between 1992 and 1996 caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place’.

‘I talebani ora vogliono rendersi presentabili’ (not online)
Il Piccolo (Trieste), 8 September 2012
Interview with AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, panelist at a conference in Trieste, on the Taleban’s attempts to make themselves more presetable to the outside world (not online).

Föråldrad analys förödande för Afghanistan
Svenska Dagbladet, 6 September 2012
In the leading Swedish newspaper, Swedish Ambassador to Georgia and Armenia Dina Janse (she had been posted to Afghanistan earlier) extensively reviews the book ‘Under the Drones’ edited by Stanford University’s Robert Crews, containing a chapter by AAN’s Thomas Ruttig (on the Taleban) and contribution by other AAN contributors, including Lutz Rzehak.

Why declaring the Haqqanis terrorists presents a problem for the US
Guardian, 7 September 2012
AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted here, arguing that the coming US presidential election is the main driver behind the decision on the Haqqanis. ‘You could have made them a terrorist organisation 10 years ago. But when there are attempts to get talks going again it is a surprising time to do it. It has to do with American politics and the election campaign.’ Ruttig said the other variable has been the desire of both sides of the debate in Washington to send a message to Pakistan, whose intelligence agency, the ISI, has been accused by US generals of being the Haqqanis’ primary backer.

Zwischen zwei Monstern
WOZ (Zurich), No. 36/2012, 6 September 2012
AAN’s Emal Habib and Thomas Ruttig render the story of the Andar ‘uprising’ and its instrumentalisation by the government (local and national) through local voices who feel like between a rock (the Taleban) and hard place (the arbaki) or, as the headline says, ‘between two monsters’. They also say that the proliferation of militias, pro- and anti-government, may foreshadow the post-2014 landscape in Afghanistan.

Afghan army purges soldiers with Taliban links
Radio Australia, 6 September 2012
This year, Afghan soldiers have killed at least 45 western troops in so-called ‘green on blue’ attacks and 7 Australians have died at the hands of Afghan allies in the past 2 years. The move comes in the wake of a diplomatic row that followed the raid by Australian troops in Afghanistan over the weekend – that Afghan President Karzai described as unauthorised and in breach of a NATO agreement. Tracee Hutchison spoke to Kate Clark, Senior Analyst, at the Kabul-based Afghan [sic] Analysts Network (audio file).

Afghan Local Police: A Dangerous and Deadly Path
Afghanistan 101 (blog), 4 September 2012
Refers to the AAN blog written by Emal Habib on the ‘Andar uprising’.

Zwischen zwei Monstern
tageszeitung (Berlin), 3 September 2012
AAN’s Emal Habib and Thomas Ruttig render the story of the Andar ‘uprising’ and its instrumentalisation by the government (local and national) through local voices who feel like between a rock (the Taleban) and hard place (the arbaki) or, as the headline says, ‘between two monsters’. They also say that the proliferation of militias, pro- and anti-government, may foreshadow the post-2014 landscape in Afghanistan.

Attacks by Afghan army on foreign troops rise
Al Jazeera, 2 September 2012
Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Afghanistan Analyst Network, told Al Jazeera that the expectations of soldiers and average citizens may have been too high but general frustration that the past decade “didn’t bring peace … didn’t bring stability” to the country, permeates across the ANSF ranks.

Butchered and beheaded for singing and dancing (or were they?)
The Independent, 1 September 2012
The British daily looks at the contradictions involved in reporting the Roshanabad massacre, of participants of what has been described a mixed men/women dance party. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini is quoted as explaining: ‘A no-man’s land between [the remote rural districts of] Kajaki and Musa Qala is not the best spot for such a merry social event. If you have the money to organise that, you at least go to [the relatively bustling provincial capital] Lashkar Gah. […] The Taliban sensed it and reacted – ruthlessly’, Fabrizio explains as he describes this rendering of events. ‘On top of it, they killed a couple of women [and] circulated rumours that they [were] Pakistani dancers.’ But plausible as the story is, he says, there’s as little evidence substantiating it as there is for the other accounts.


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