Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Reports

Reports – previously known as dispatches – are the flagship of the AAN website and our main type of publication. AAN reports are based on extensive desk and field research and provide timely and in-depth information and analysis.

London Conference (1): Calling for Afghan ownership and Afghan leadership

Martine van Bijlert

The London conference has come and gone. World leaders gathered to try to create a sense of momentum and partnership and to persuade sceptical audiences that there is a plan and an end in sight. There were several messages, but the one that was drowned out in the media coverage surrounding on what to do […]

International Engagement Read more

Are We Afghanistan-Driven in London?

Thomas Ruttig

While the 70 or so delegations to the London conference are already sitting in Lancaster House, here some first thought about what is being discussed and what not. No claim to be exhaustive here. Let me start with the German discussion because it points to one of the core problems. What mainly is looked at […]

International Engagement Read more

Between Frustration and Bakhshishs

Thomas Ruttig

Another attempt to make sense of the Wolesi Jirga vote of saturday 16 January which confirmed seven of candidates of President Karzai’s second list and rejected another ten. What at the first glance looks like another defeat for Hamed Karzai, actually brings the Afghan President further ahead. Bit for bit, in his characteristic tactics, he […]

Political Landscape Read more

Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake

Candace Rondeaux

With this op-ed by NICK GRONO and CANDACE RONDEAUX* originally published in the Boston Globe we continue our discussion of the warlord issue in Afghanistan. As Washington rolls out its latest troop surge in Afghanistan, all eyes are on the violent south and east of the country to see whether the additional military muscle will […]

War and Peace Read more

The Cabinet vote: Fourteen in, eleven to go

Martine van Bijlert

The Parliament has voted for the second time. Seven out of seventeen ministers were approved this time. We have a Cabinet of fourteen now, still eleven to go (we’re still waiting to see who is going to be introduced as Minister of Energy and Water). And though the dust has not settled yet, a few […]

Political Landscape Read more

Caught between the Taliban and the Special Forces

Captain Cat Diaries

It is an all too familiar story, but beautifully told. How elders seek out foreign strangers, hoping to find solace from the Special Forces’ search operations. Leaving a population not feeling very protected, despite all the recent population-centric military rhetoric. An excerpt from ‘Captain Cats Diaries’. Am I taking crazy pills? How difficult is it […]

War and Peace Read more

AAN Myth Busters (II): Taleban = Pashtuns?

Thomas Ruttig

The Afghan government’s draft strategy for reconciliation with the Taleban and other insurgents to be published soon is heating up the discussion about talks to ‘moderate’ Taleban amongst Western politicians. While this discussion is useful, it is necessary to look at its background a bit more closely. German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a rising […]

Political Landscape Read more

So where are we with the 2010 elections?

Martine van Bijlert

Despite what logic and reason tell us, all indications are still that the IEC is getting ready for a parliamentary election in May 2010. The date was announced on 2 January, the electoral calendar was presented on 7 January and the government’s intention to press ahead was confirmed in a 12 January press release from […]

Political Landscape Read more

On Kunar’s Salafi Insurgents

Thomas Ruttig

Usually one needs two sources at least, but this one I find too interesting: A few days ago, on 9 January, the Taleban website Shahamat (which means ‘bravery’) reported that one of the smaller insurgent groups – the Salafi from Kunar – has pledged allegiance to Mulla Muhammad Omar. The Taleban gave its name as Jama’at […]

War and Peace Read more

A GoA Reconciliation Policy in the Making

Thomas Ruttig

The government of Afghanistan (GoA) has announced that it is working on its own reconciliation strategy with its armed opponents. This has been confirmed over the last few days both by Vice President Muhammad Karim Khalili and by the presidential spokesman Wahid Omar. Also, various documents seem to be under discussion: a draft policy document by […]

Political Landscape Read more

A Note from the (Soccer) Field

AAN Guests

Here a dispatch received and sent in by ONE OF OUR FRIENDS in Afghanistan. It seems that not only the Africa Cup of Nations (with the attack on the Togo team bus) is overshadowed by violence. The dispatch has been slightly edited. For your information: In Kandahar province a football tournament has started on Friday […]

Context and Culture Read more

Beheaded by the Taleban? No, this time it was about sex

Bette Dam

In Afghanistan, things are often more complicated than they look like at the first glance. Some armed fighting, for example, is motivated by local conflicts. But there are always people who are interested to present this as ‘Taleban’-driven. Our guest author Bette Dam*, a Dutch journalist, pleads for more accuracy in reporting such incidents. On […]

War and Peace Read more