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.

Kabul Conference (3): More plans and programs, but what has happened to the earlier ones?

Thomas Ruttig

There are mixed feelings among Afghans on the eve of Kabul International Conference. Many people who are involved in convening the Conference, are extremely excited and proud that it’s the FIRST international event being hosted and planned by the Afghan government during the past ten years. However, there are some other critics who continue with […]

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Kabul Conference (1): Outsmarted and made to pay

Martine van Bijlert

For weeks I have dismissed the Kabul conference as yet another conference – as something diplomats do, when they don’t know what to do. It was, as usual, preceded by a merry-go-round of pre-meetings and document-drafting-sessions and discrete enquiries (who is coming from your side? are you pledging?), which made it look like simply more […]

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Congratulations, Francesc!

Thomas Ruttig

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) conveys its best wishes to Ambassador Francesc Vendrell, Chairman of its Advisory Board, former Special Representative of the UN and the EU to and in Afghanistan, on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Find below some of his selected statement, predictions, warnings – and also some regrets for misjudgements. General […]

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GUEST BLOG: The Story of ‘M’: US-Dutch Shouting Matches in Uruzgan

Bette Dam

In a reply to a recent article in the New York Times, our guest author discusses different approaches of how different NATO countries deal with what could be labeled ‘allied illegitimate armed groups’. By Bette Dam (*) Last weekend the New York Times wrote an interesting pieceabout the head of a private army in Uruzgan province, Matiullah Khan, […]

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German President’s Resignation (Not) Afghanistan-Linked

Thomas Ruttig

More News from the German Front: In a surprise move, without precedence in German post-war history, head of state (Bundespräsident) Horst Köhler stepped down from his office with immediate effect today after noon. His step was triggered by remarks he made on the return of his first trip to Afghanistan (after six years in the […]

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News from the German Front: The West’s Afghan Policy ‘has failed’

Thomas Ruttig

Five German institutes draw a condemning conclusion about the West’s policy in Afghanistan +++ Another institute alleges that the German government hides the larger portion of its Afghan military mission’s cost +++ Germany’s Minister of Defence does not know what happened to Afghans taken into custody and handed over to Afghan authorities +++ The ‘German […]

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Guest Blog: We are One Tribe – and Live in The Society of Intervention

Michael Daxner

A critique of intervening half-education, in reply to Major Jim Gant’s much-read blog and paper ‘One Tribe at a Time’. By Prof. Michael Daxner (*) Important notice for the readers: it is unusual for blogs to annotate them with references from scientific literature. However, I will use some special terms that may raise your interest […]

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Reliable partners

Martine van Bijlert

The pendulum has swung again. After a few days of crisis and strained relations the US administration has publicly smoothed over the unease and the anger and has welcomed Karzai back into the ranks of ‘reliable partners’. Letters have been sent, joint appearances made and reassuring statements given. It is difficult to know what is […]

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Wondering where all of this is going

Martine van Bijlert

Back in Kabul, I am struck by the sense underlying most conversations that things are happening above people’s heads, out of their reach and largely unseen. The London conference seems to have confused more than it has clarified and the questions that are always latently present are becoming more pronounced: What are the foreigners doing? […]

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World to Afghans: ‘Unhappy with our choices? Grin and bear it.’

Fatima Ayub

After participating in parallel events to the main London Afghanistan conference, FATIMA AYUB points at the alarm amongst many Afghans caused by indications of a ‘headlong dash to give Taliban leaders recognition and power’. A near-hysterical optimism accompanies any official event on Afghanistan, and the London Conference almost two weeks ago was no different. To […]

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A challenge for the next head of UNAMA

Minna Jarvenpaa

Minna Jarvenpaa, AAN founding member and former head of UNAMA’s Analysis and Policy Unit, looks ahead at the challenges faced by Afghanistan’s new UN SRSG. Staffan di Mistura, who on the eve of the London Conference was appointed by Ban Ki-moon as his Special Representative to head up the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), […]

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London Conference (2): Peace, Reconciliation and Reintegration

Martine van Bijlert

The London Conference and the media chatter around it has put the subject of reintegration and negotiations with the Taliban firmly on the agenda. Although both issues had been repeatedly raised by Afghan government and international officials over the last few years, the media and wider public still seemed to be taken by surprise. A […]

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