Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

International Engagement

This thematic area covers reporting on various strands of the international intervention – military, diplomatic and, development and humanitarian aid. It includes analysis of high-level strategies, significant international conferences, major trends, as well as reporting on specific programmes.

Janus-Faced Pledges: A review of the 2020 Geneva donor conference on Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

The 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva (which took place virtually) has produced pledges of 12 to 13 billion US dollars for the period 2021-24. The result represents a drop of up to 20 per cent compared to the 15.2 billion pledged four years ago in Brussels for 2017-20 and significantly below UNDP projections for the […]

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Girls actually in the classroom. Getting Afghan children, especially girls, to school, has been considered a major success story for post-Taleban Afghanistan, but how many children appearing in the statistics are ‘ghosts'? (Photo: Christine-Felice Roehrs)

Less Money, More Conditionality? Stalled peace, Covid-19 and corruption foretell a sombre Afghanistan donor conference

Christine Roehrs AAN Team Ali Yawar Adili

On 23 and 24 November, the 2020 donor conference for Afghanistan takes place, which for the country matters more than ever. Rumours abound about cuts to foreign assistance, at a time when Afghanistan faces a stalled peace process and intensifying poverty and violence. Donors are concerned about the shape of the future state and corruption, with the pressure […]

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The Biden Presidency: What choices for Afghan policy remain?

Kate Clark

As of 20 January, the United States should have a new president, as Joe Biden takes over from Donald Trump. Decisions taken in Washington have, for the last 20 years, been fundamental to what happens in Afghanistan, and that is especially the case now. Biden takes power in the wake of President Trump’s decision to […]

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The Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan: An agenda for peace and development?

AAN Team

The Afghan Government and United Nations will co-host the Geneva ministerial conference on 28 November 2018. This is the 13th high-level international conference on Afghanistan since 2001. The focus of the conference will be peace efforts and development, but it will also be an opportunity to assess the Afghan government’s reform efforts and reconfirm commitments made […]

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Flash from the Past: Kabul security handed back to Afghans in 2008

Thomas Ruttig

Ten years (and a few weeks) ago, in August 2008, a process started that would later become known as enteqal (transition), namely of security responsibility from NATO to the Afghan forces. (*) This process was supposed to be finalised by the end of 2014. Full troop withdrawal was never fully achieved, though. NATO troops’ “watchful eye […]

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Ferocious Attack on ICC: Washington threatens court if it investigates alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan

Kate Clark

President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has made a withering attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC), threatening prosecutions against personnel and retaliation against any country cooperating with the Court if it ‘goes after’ America. Bolton’s intervention comes as the judges of the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber weigh up whether or not to authorise a […]

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The Road to Turkestan or: More Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan. Manifesto No 2

Thomas Ruttig

Author’s Note: The title and the theme of this set of theses refer to Barnett Rubin’s “Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan: A Manifesto” published in War on the Rocks on 23 February 2018 (read here). But these theses will mainly scrutinise Afghanistan’s internal institutional crisis that needs to be addressed in order to improve the […]

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The United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction, since 2001. Here a picture of government-led eradication in Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkar Gah in 2015. The Afghan government’s erdication efforts have been negligible since 2014. Only 3,760 of 183,000 hectares planted with opium poppy have been eradicated in 2015. Credit: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

From Bad to Bombing: US counter-narcotics policies in Afghanistan

Jelena Bjelica

Afghanistan’s opium-driven economy has been a thorn in side of its international backers, and a major challenge for fighting the insurgency and rebuilding a functioning state. Through the lens of the military side of counter-narcotic strategies, the United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction. However, […]

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“Not nation-building,” but “killing terrorists”: Trump’s ‘new’ strategy for Afghanistan

Kate Clark

The American president’s long-awaited announcement on United States policy in Afghanistan has finally been made: more troops (number unspecified) and no end-date to the US deployment; fighting “to win” (defined only as preventing a Taleban take-over), aiming at “killing terrorists” and not “nation-building”; new, unspecified threats against Pakistan to stop supporting the Taleban and a […]

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Looking at the ‘Nicholson plan’: A bid to tilt the Afghan war in the government’s favour

Kate Clark

The United States is reviewing its military strategy towards Afghanistan, as part of an overall strategic review. Nothing is certain until President Trump makes a final decision, but proposals, drawn up with the Afghan government, are circulating. We already know what the commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, would like […]

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Police post in Kandahar, 2005. Photo: Thomas Ruttig

The Leahy Law and Human Rights Accountability in Afghanistan: Too little, too late or a model for the future?

Erica Gaston

The Leahy Amendment, or Leahy law, is a little known piece of United States legislation that bans US assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information that a member has committed gross violations of human rights. The Leahy law has accomplished far less than its champions hoped for, but far more […]

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A Reaper drone comes into land at Kandahar Airbase (Flying Officer Owen Cheverton: 2009)

Drone warfare 1: Afghanistan, birthplace of the armed drone

Kate Clark

Using drones to carry out targeted killings has become an integral part of the United States’ ‘war on terror’. Afghanistan in the late 1990s was the laboratory where the US developed armed drones as it searched for a way to deal with Osama bin Laden who was then ordering attacks on American targets from his […]

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