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.

Risky German Development Strategy

Willi Germund

On Christmas Eve, a German development consultant working on a road-building project was murdered in Kholm (also called Tashkurghan) in Northern Afghanistan. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the murder. The following commentary by Willi Germund, a German free-lance journalist frequently travelling to Afghanistan and Pakistan and also a frequent contributor for AAN, has kicked off […]

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Reading papers on an airplane (amended)

Thomas Ruttig

A little press review by an analyst trying to catch up with the news after a few days off: the Obama review, terrorist threats in Europe, Dubai’s well-informed taxi-drivers, the inventors of waterboarding, a not so crazy Afghan project and Germany’s still grotesque discussion about whether that’s a war going on in Afghanistan. Thanks goodness, […]

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Plain Turkey by the AfViet Envoy

Kate Clark

In 1971, a secret history of the Vietnam War was leaked to the American press. One chapter of what became known as the Pentagon Papers, had been written by a young career diplomat called Richard Holbrooke. He of course, would in his final mission, serve as the US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan (he died […]

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Reviewing the US in Afghanistan

Martine van Bijlert

The changes in the US administration after Obama’s election brought a short and rather refreshing burst of frankness on how bleak the situation in Afghanistan was. At the time I mistook this for honesty and a tolerance for complexity, but it turned out to have been a somewhat sophisticated version of ‘slam the predecessor.’ This […]

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Guest blog on Reintegration: Anyone want to surrender?

A K Frentzen

The Afghan government and its international backers, most prominently the Coalition forces, have developed a reconciliation program that aims to entice insurgent fighters to lay down their arms and re-enter normal life. But how is the program viewed by the local population? A recent assessment of local perceptions in West-Afghanistan by A.K. Frentzen, a social […]

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The Inteqal Express Gets Green Light in Lisbon

Thomas Ruttig

This Friday’s NATO summit in Lisbon will nod through the Obama administration’s decision that there will be a phased handover of security tasks to the Afghan forces, maybe province-by-province, ‘inteqal’ in short. This is part of Petraeus’ copy-cat ‘Iraqi solution’ and the US allies’ exit strategy: declare combat operations over, withdraw a part of the […]

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Reconciliation in Afghanistan: Can the UN right some wrongs?

Horia Mosadiq

Our guest author Horia Mosadiq(*) looks at the United Nations’ role now and then in Afghanistan, with special attention to its numerous attempts to ‘peace deals relying largely on power-sharing’. She sees the latest initiatives for ‘reconciliation’ as a continuation of this approach and discusses its possible implications for justice, with its inherent differentiation of […]

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Enclaves of Optimism

Martine van Bijlert

In the midst of years of downhill trends and mounting complexities and a growing realisation of how intertwined we have all become in Afghanistan’s main problems, you can still find enclaves of optimism – at military headquarters, diplomatic gatherings, UN leadership levels. They are inhabited by people with a stubborn, but seemingly authentic belief that […]

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A back somersault in the US strategy: Lower aims, higher risks

Thomas Ruttig

Confronted with a too short timeline (the 2011-14 withdrawal plan), US strategy in Afghanistan is shifting again. In practice this means that political and military targets are ‘adjusted’ further downwards. Progress will be measured by purely quantitative criteria only. As one element of it, the population-centric COIN approach is being been sacrificed in favour of […]

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Empire Going Mad

Thomas Ruttig

The current US clue- and helplessness in Afghanistan, with its strategy that no one knows whether it will work and with no Plan B, is definitely crying out for some ‘out of the box’ thinking. But the ideas which have started to appear on various websites reminds one of the mad Dr. Strangelove, who learned […]

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Afghanistan is (still) not Iraq

Kate Clark

One of the monsters thought to be slain has raised one of its ugly heads again: the ‘let’s replicate our Iraq success in Afghanistan’ discussion, seasoned with ‘yes we know Afghanistan is not Iraq but…’ attachments. See the surge that supposedly has brought a decrease of violence in Baghdad and elsewhere and has been replicated […]

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Wikileaks, Strategic Communications and (Im-)Plausible Denials

Thomas Ruttig

Wikileaks, with its publication of some 75,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan on Sunday, has brilliantly made use of the summer slump. Instead of escaped crocodiles at lakes popular with swimmers (a favourite of the German media in former years) or silly ideas of backbenchers, we have been given the chance […]

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