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.

Bonn 2: A Top-down Approach to Civil Society Again

Thomas Ruttig

In November 2009, three months before the London Conference on Afghanistan, AAN’s Senior Analyst Thomas Ruttig wrote a blog under the title ‘A meaningful Afghanistan conference needs civil society involvement’. Re-reading it five months before the next one in the long series of Afghanistan conferences*, in Bonn again, he thought he can simply re-post it: […]

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… and now: Eikenberry’s Reply

Thomas Ruttig

President Karzai’s speech of 18 June, in which he called the US – amongst other things – ‘occupiers’ that ‘have not built the roads for us but for themselves’, has obviously hit a raw nerve. Karl Eikenberry, the US Ambassador in Kabul, gave a ‘surprisingly emotional response’ (The AfPakChannel) in Herat on Sunday which might […]

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Deaths Not in the News (amended)

Thomas Ruttig

Some TV stations have a programme called ‘No comment’. They just show pictures, without any explanation. Here, we just use words to report an incident from Logar, without any comment. It is from the Afghan War’s small print. Case 1 On Tuesday 14 June, around 1:30 pm, a mine went off in De Ahmadzaio Kala’s […]

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How the West Contributed to the ANSF’s Dire State

Thomas Ruttig

The Independent on Sunday came out today with an article highlighting the dire state of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The article’s headline is self-explanatory: ‘After 10 years, no security unit is fit to take over from coalition in Afghanistan’. Indeed, there are grave concerns whether the ANSF can fully take over by 2014 […]

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Towards a More United Voice of Afghan Civil Society: Step Two

Fabrizio Foschini

During the last week of May a delegation of Afghan civil society activists visited Italy in a follow-up to the Kabul conference of two months ago, by the title ‘Promoting Dialogue and Peace in Afghanistan: Strengthening Afghan Civil Society’. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini followed to Rome the members of the steering committee composed of several Afghan […]

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The Enteqal Seven (4): Herat, the Seeds of Fear

Fabrizio Foschini

Herat was a logical choice for the transition: rich, cultivated, well-connected, Herat makes the kind of city that can stand on its own feet without much effort. But of course, transition comes with a price. As it seems more and more apparent, the insurgents are keen on targeting these new would-be symbols of success for […]

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(Former) Red Lines and Blue Helmets: More on the Century Foundation report

Barbara Stapleton

AAN continues commenting on the Century Foundation’s Afghanistan Task Force report on ‘Negotiating Peace’. Today, Barbara J. Stapleton(*) points to the issue of (non-)permanent US bases in Afghanistan, to Hillary Clinton’s Asia Society speech that turned ‘red lines’ into an ’end state’, to Pakistan’s role and to the idea to deploy UN blue helmets after […]

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Celebrating Nawruz in Mazar-e Sharif, 2005 (Photo: Thomas Ruttig)

The Dead of Mazar

Thomas Ruttig

Today, our thoughts are with the UN colleagues who were killed in Mazar-e Sharif yesterday and also with the Afghans killed there(*), not knowing whether they had just been using their constitutional right to demonstrate or indeed had murder in their hearts. And we hope that Pastor Jones in Gainesville, Florida, had a sleepless night, […]

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Destruction is Rebuilding, or: Fare thee well, population-centric COIN

Thomas Ruttig

Words and deeds differ more and more in the US strategy in Afghanistan. A blogger made AAN’s Senior Analyst Thomas Ruttig think about her question ‘Is This What Population-centric Counterinsurgency Looks Like?’, remember some reports he read recently and conclude that the answer is ‘no’. Yesterday, we added a blogdescribing – and carrying a photo of […]

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Handing over Responsibilities in Afghanistan

Martine van Bijlert

International actors in Afghanistan have long been torn between negative trends, bleak assessments, ambitious strategies and ritualistic reports of hopeful developments. Their publics at home are uneasy about the lack of clarity on why their forces are in Afghanistan and what exactly they are achieving. Well-informed diplomats and policymakers are often very pessimistic in private, […]

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What comes after the Transition?

Martine van Bijlert

This evening I will be debating whether the West has failed in Afghanistan. Earlier this week I was asked to comment on Dutch plans to send a police mission to Kunduz. A week ago I spent two days brainstorming on what a sustainable transition in Afghanistan could look like (transition being code for phased exit). […]

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AAN Year-Ender: What we think about 2010 and 2011

Martine van Bijlert

As the year draws to a close we have asked friends, members and contributors to reflect on the year that lies behind us and on the new year that is about to start. The result is a long and eclectic list of observations, predictions, concerns and hopes. With the very best wishes for Afghanistan in […]

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