Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

War and Peace

This thematic category brings together AAN’s reporting on the conflict in Afghanistan, its underlying causes and drivers, the various armed actors and how it affects Afghans in their everyday lives.

The Focus of the Taleban’s New Government: Internal cohesion, external dominance

Martine van Bijlert

As the twentieth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks that brought the US to Afghanistan to topple the Taleban’s emirate came round, it was the Taleban who were back in power. This week, they announced their new interim administration. It is all-male, almost all-Pashtun, almost all clerical and all-Taleban. Set alongside their sustained military campaign in […]

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The Moment in Between: After the Americans, before the new regime

Martine van Bijlert

Monday night, Centcom Commander General Kenneth McKenzie announced the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan as complete, while the Taleban declared the country once again a “free and sovereign nation.” After the last American soldier left Afghan soil, Taleban forces giddily moved into the last part of Kabul airport that had still been in […]

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The Taleban’s rise to power: As the US prepared for peace, the Taleban prepared for war

Kate Clark

It seems likely that the twentieth anniversary of the al-Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on the United States – the event that brought the American military to Afghanistan – will be remembered for the start of the second Taleban emirate. After President Joe Biden announced the full, rapid and unconditional withdrawal of all international military forces from […]

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The Taleban leadership converges on Kabul as remnants of the republic reposition themselves

Martine van Bijlert

The various Taleban leaders have started converging on Kabul. The ever-elusive but eminently reachable, Taleban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed showed his face for the first time in a press conference at Kabul’s media centre. What he said matched earlier messaging by the Taleban, as he sought to assure both the Afghans and the international community of […]

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Afghanistan Has a New Government: The country wonders what the new normal will look like

Martine van Bijlert

Afghanistan has a new government. Its exact shape is not yet clear, but its contours can be discerned from a combination of messaging, how the Taleban entered and then took control of Kabul and reports from areas that had come under their control over the last few weeks, months and years. So far, the public […]

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Is This How It Ends? With the Taleban closing in on Kabul, President Ghani faces tough decisions

Martine van Bijlert

Things have been moving at breakneck speed since the first provincial capital – Zaranj in Nimruz – fell to the Taleban on 6 August. Six of the seven zonal army corps have either surrendered or dissolved, with only the Shaheen Corps in Jalalabad left, which has not been attacked yet. Over 20 provincial capitals are […]

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The Domino Effect in Paktia and the Fall of Zurmat: A case study of the Taleban surrounding Afghan cities

Thomas Ruttig Sayed Asadullah Sadat

After a siege of almost two months, the centre of the strategic district of Zurmat in Paktia province fell into the hands of the Taleban on 2 July 2021. This followed the successive collapse of 11 of the 14 districts of Paktia to the Taleban within six days in late June/early July. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig […]

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The Fall of Nimruz: A symbolic or economic game-changer?

Fabrizio Foschini

With the fall of five provincial capitals in three days – Zaranj in Nimruz, Sheberghan in Jowzjan, Sarepul, Kunduz and Taloqan in Takhar –, the Taleban switched pace. After an unexpected and highly successful sweep of rural districts in many parts of Afghanistan yielded particularly astounding results in areas considered ‘difficult’ for them, such as […]

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Taleban Victory or Government Failure? A security update on Laghman province 

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Laghman province saw four of its six districts fall to the Taleban between late May and mid-July, part of the countrywide territorial advance by the Taleban that coincided with the final phase of the United States withdrawal from 1 May onwards. Laghman has long been contested, with a strong Taleban presence in some rural areas, […]

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New UNAMA Civilian Casualties report: The human cost of the Taleban push to take territory

Kate Clark

Any notion that the Taleban capture of territory since 1 May has been virtually bloodless has been demolished by UNAMA’s mid-year report on civilian casualties, published today. The numbers of civilians killed and injured in the first six months of 2021 are back up to the record highs of 2014 to 2018. Moreover, nearly half […]

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Menace, Negotiation, Attack: The Taleban take more District Centres across Afghanistan

Kate Clark AAN Team

The Afghan government has continued to lose district centres to the Taleban. By our reckoning, the insurgents have gained control of almost 200 district centres since 1 May, most of them since mid-June. Added to the ones they already controlled, that puts the insurgents in charge of just over half of all Afghanistan’s district centres. […]

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A Quarter of Afghanistan’s Districts Fall to the Taleban amid Calls for a ‘Second Resistance’

Kate Clark Obaid Ali

In the last few weeks, the Taleban have captured scores of district centres across Afghanistan. In this report, we look at the general reasons for the success of the Taleban onslaught, before focusing on the north, which has seen a collapse of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) of unprecedented speed and scale. The fall […]

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