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.

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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Abdul Zahir was detained by the US from his home in 2002 after a false tip-off that he had weapons of mass destruction. He has had successive "major depressive episodes” in Guantanamo. In July 2016, he was cleared for transfer, but is still waiting to get out. (Photo: New York Times)

Waiting for Release: Will Afghans cleared to leave Guantanamo get out before Trump gets in?

Kate Clark

American president-elect Donald Trump has said that no more detainees should be transferred out of America’s war on terror detention camp in Guantanamo Bay. He takes office on 20 January 2017, which leaves the Obama administration just a few days to get men cleared for transfer out of Cuba. Among those waiting to see if […]

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The NUG, brought to light by 'midwife' John Kerry in 2014, will be part of Obama's Afghan legacy for President Donald Trump. Photo c/o US Embassy Kabul

“People That Hate Us”: What can Afghans expect from President Trump?

Kate Clark Thomas Ruttig

If Hillary Clinton had won Tuesday’s race for the White House, the world would now have a good sense of who her top officials would be and what her foreign policy would look like. With a Secretary of State-turned-president, Afghanistan could have expected business to carry on pretty much as normal. With Donald Trump coming […]

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The Brussels conference will be the eleventh donor conference since the 2001 US-led intervention in Afghanistan.

The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan: Between aid and migration

AAN Team

The Afghan Government and the EU will co-host the Brussels conference on 5 October 2016. A couple of side events will take place on 4 October, and a high-level dialogue on migration is scheduled for 3 October. Around 70 countries and 30 international organisations will come together in the Belgian capital to review the achievements […]

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