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 Cost of Victory: How the Taleban used IEDS to win the war, despite the misgivings of some

Sabawoon Samim

During their long and ultimately successful insurgency, the Taleban, like their foreign enemies, were faced with choices over battlefield tactics, between military effectiveness and trying to win over, or at least not alienate, local people. As insurgents, the Taleban were up against well-drilled foreign forces with advanced weaponry and a monopoly on air power, but […]

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A still file image from a video released by al-Qaeda’s media arm as-Sahab and obtained on 8 June 2011 courtesy of the Site Intelligence Group shows the now late Aiman al-Zawahri in characteristic finger-wagging mode as he gives a eulogy for slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a video released on jihadist forums. Photo: Site Intelligence Group/AFP.

Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Kabul: What might be the repercussions for the Taleban and Afghanistan?

Kate Clark

President Joe Biden has announced the killing of the leader of al-Qaeda, Aiman al-Zawahri, in a drone strike. Zawahri was central to the founding of al-Qaeda, the intellectual and organisational force behind the group, key to the decision to attack US targets in east Africa, the Gulf, New York and Washington DC, and deputy and […]

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Conviction of an Afghan War Criminal: A trial years later and far from the scene

Ehsan Qaane

A 76-year old Afghan has been convicted of war crimes in a Dutch court for crimes committed when he was a senior figure at the notorious Pul-e Charkhi prison in the 1980s. The court sentenced Abdul Razaq Arif to twelve years imprisonment for the crimes of arbitrary detention, cruel and inhuman treatment and assault on the personal […]

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A Community Under Attack: How successive governments failed west Kabul and the Hazaras who live there

Ali Yawar Adili

The Hazara-Shia community in west Kabul city, particularly its sprawling neighbourhood Dasht-e Barchi, has been the target of some of the city’s deadliest attacks, especially since 2016. The community has particularly been hit hard in west Kabul, but Hazaras and Shias have also been persistently targeted elsewhere in Afghanistan. While the former government promised to […]

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Taleban fighters celebrate their capture of Jalalabad, on 15 August 2021. Photo: AFP

Afghanistan’s conflict in 2021 (2): Republic collapse and Taleban victory in the long-view of history

Kate Clark

For the first time in the long decades of conflict endured by Afghans since the 1978 communist coup sparked armed rebellion, Afghanistan is largely at peace. And for only the second time in that period, the country is under one unitary authority. This then is a historic moment, but will it last? In the second […]

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Afghanistan’s Conflict in 2021 (1): The Taleban’s sweeping offensive as told by people on the ground

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

As Afghanistan’s former leaders publicly reflect and comment on the events that led to the fall of the Republic, it has been easy to lose sight of what those months in the summer of 2021 were like for the people who lived through them. In this first of two reports we look back at 2021’s […]

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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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