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.

MEI paper repost: How to respond to a flawed election

Martine van Bijlert

The Middle East Institute released its ‘Viewpoints’ special edition on Afghanistan yesterday. It contains 53 short essays by leading experts and practicioners on Afghanistan’s recent history, including several AAN members. The paper below is a repost of Martine van Bijlert’s contribution (without the footnotes). Afghanistan’s Second Presidential Vote; How to Respond to a Flawed Election […]

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NDS detention – not just a Canadian problem

Martine van Bijlert

Former diplomat to Kabul, Richard Colvin, caused quite a stir in Canadian politics with his testimony to a parliamentary committee on the Afghan mission on 18 November 2009. Colvin described how he repeatedly alerted his superiors to the fact that prisoners handed over to the NDS (National Directorate of Security) were likely to face torture […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Militia Sightings

Thomas Ruttig

Some see ‘hopes of a large-scale tribal rebellion against the Taliban’ But how spontaneously did the new militias really emerge? Here are some reports on the new militias found in the international media (further contributions welcome). Miralam Khan is the new hero of Kunduz. […] Many are convinced that the former mujahedin commander has single-handedly […]

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Ghosts of Najibullah

Thomas Ruttig

With President Obama’s release of the new Afghanistan strategy ahead on Tuesday and first details coming out, parts of the puzzle fall into place. As it looks it will be less than the US 40,000 troops desired by Gen Mc Chrystal that will be sent to Afghanistan – probably some 30,000. The gap is to […]

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A meaningful Afghanistan conference needs civil society involvement

Thomas Ruttig

It apparently has been decided that the next international Afghanistan conference is to be held on 28 January in London. It might be followed by a second one in spring – perhaps March or April – in Kabul. But the latter is far from clear. The UK – with the Prime Minister under immense pressure […]

International Engagement Read more

Kabul Diary (2): A Ring of Steel Sheets

Thomas Ruttig

Finally, the long expected rain is falling in Kabul. But what’s good for next year’s crops makes life miserable for people in the cities. And for the first time, there were hours-long complete traffic break-downs in Kabul yesterday and today afternoon. Although President Obama today announced that he plans ‘to finish the job’ in Afghanistan […]

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A Suicide Attack in Uruzgan (UPDATED)

Thomas Ruttig

13 people killed by a suicide bomber. But who did it? Finding out what really is behind incidents like this one is extremely difficult. Facts are rare, versions and opinions, however, ample to find. While a suicide attack in a bazaar in Western Farah province on 20 November that claimed at least 16 lives made […]

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Militias – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Genies (2): A Look Forward

Thomas Ruttig

The case of Abdul Razeq’s police-unit-cum-militia (see our recent blog ‘Militias 1’) should send a stark warning to those planning envisaging a new version of ‘community-based’ defence forces. It is not clear yet how this exactly will look like but it seems to be sure that it will come. A few titles, names and concepts […]

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Corruption, corruption, corruption

Martine van Bijlert

Karzai’s international backers have made no secret of what their priorities for his new administration were: transfer of security responsibilities, reconciliation, economic development, relations with the neighbours, and corruption, corruption, corruption. They were well served by Karzai’s inaugural speech: everything was included – reason for a (small) collective sigh of relief. Another potential confrontation, with […]

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Surveyed: The Cost of War

Thomas Ruttig

The war-destroyed Dar-ul-Aman palace in the South of Kabul was the perfect venue for the presentation of the report ‘The Cost of War’ to the Afghan and international public. The palace, designed to house the first Afghan parliament established under King Amanullah (ruled 1919-29), never served its aim. Amanullah was toppled by a mulla-led and […]

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AAN Guest Blog: Influenza politica

Christopher Reuter

The following blog about a government-made swine flu hysteria is provided by CHRISTOPH REUTER, a reporter with ‘Stern’ magazine in Germany who is currently in Kabul. On 28 October, Afghanistan‘s Minister of Public Health issued a press release that did not receive much attention: Currently there were 58 cases of H1N1, better known as swine […]

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Militias – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Genies (1): A Look Back

Thomas Ruttig

When I read Matthieu Aikins’ brilliant reportage in Harpers (‘The Master of Spin Boldak’) about the mutation of a 1980s tribal militia into a drug trafficking network that survives to the day, I was reminded of an episode in 1988. I was living in Wazir Akbar Khan then. Around the corner was the house of […]

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