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.

civilian casualties have reached an all-time high, plateauing in 2016 and 2017. children and women represented two thirds of casualties by air strikes in the first nine months of 2017: injured boy in helmand province. photo: andrew quilty (2015)

More violent, more widespread: Trends in Afghan security in 2017

Thomas Ruttig

Continuing our look back at key developments in Afghanistan in 2017, after migration and peace talks, we come to security. Tracking trends in security has become more difficult, as more areas suffering conflict have become inaccessible and those fighting – both Afghan and international –less transparent. However, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has identified indicators to gauge […]

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Words, No Deeds: 2017, another lost year for peace (talks) in Afghanistan

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

Despite a new offer by the Afghan government through the High Peace Council, there was not much movement toward government-Taleban talks to end the war peacefully in the past year. Both sides continue to engage in general pro-peace rhetoric, while allowing little to happen in practice. Currently, they are bogged down in a dispute over […]

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A view on Qush Tepe district centre. Photo: Muhammad Tamkeen

Qari Hekmat’s Island: A Daesh enclave in Jawzjan?

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have failed either to re-enlist or to eliminate a dissident commander in Jawzjan who, as a result of internal Taleban conflicts over territorial control and taxation, has aligned himself with Daesh. A recent military offensive – in which fighters from several provinces were mobilised – remained unsuccessful in the second half of October. […]

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Damage to the Paktia police and army headquarters in Gardez after the first Taleban attack in June 2017. Photo: Tolo.

The ‘Humvee Bomb’ Series: The October wave of Taleban attacks in 2017 context

Thomas Ruttig

In October 2017, Afghans experienced another particularly violent period. A series of high-profile insurgent attacks took place almost simultaneously in Kabul and five provinces. Provincial and district centres were targeted, as well as ANSF installations and Sunni and Shia mosques. The overall number of people killed in these attacks is estimated to be over 200, […]

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The CIA, keen to ‘hunt' and kill Taleban, is reported to be about to start flying armed drones, such as MQ‐9 Reapers, for the first time in Afghanistan. Credit: US Air National Guard photo/Senior Airman Michael Quiboloy 2014.

CIA-proxy militias, CIA-drones in Afghanistan: “Hunt and kill” déjà vu

Kate Clark

Reporting from the United States has said that the CIA is expanding its operations in Afghanistan, running Afghan militias to “hunt and kill” Taleban and “poised” to start flying armed drones. The CIA has run Afghan militias in the past; they were notorious for human rights abuses and for not being subject to the state […]

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After the deadly truck bomb that hit Kabul on 31 May 2017. Photo: Andrew Quilty

UNAMA Documents Slight Decrease in Civilian Casualties: Indications of new trends in the Afghan war

Kate Clark

There has been a six per cent decrease in the number of civilians killed and wounded in the conflict this year compared to the first nine months of 2016 – a year which saw record highs in civilian harm. The latest UNAMA report on civilian casualties provides, as always, sobering statistics of how Afghan civilians are being […]

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ANASOC National Mission Brigade inauguration at 31 July 2017. Photo: Franz J. Marty.

Expanding Afghanistan’s Special Operations Forces: Doubling their success or further diluting their mission?

Franz J Marty

One of the key elements of the Afghan government’s Road Map for pushing back the insurgency is increasing the fighting capabilities of Afghan government forces. This includes the expansion of the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) praised special operations forces. However, this expansion is spurring already existing tendencies that are turning these units into shock troops, […]

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Bracing for Attacks on Ashura: Extra security measures for Shia mourners

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

The Afghan government is arming local civilians and strengthening the police presence across the country to try to protect Shia Muslim places of worship in the run-up to Ashura. The commemoration will take place this Sunday (1 October 2017). With these last-minute measures, the government is reacting to demands from the community and criticism that […]

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The New Kabul ‘Green Belt’ Security Plan: More Security for Whom?

Jelena Bjelica Kate Clark

Following the devastating 31 May 2017 bomb attack in the Afghan capital, President Ashraf Ghani commissioned his security experts to develop a new security plan for Kabul. Although apparently not officially approved or fully funded yet, the plan called the ‘Zarghun Belt’ (Green Belt) was announced in mid-August. Jelena Bjelica and Kate Clark (with input […]

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Haji Zaher Qader on the battlements. Credit: Zaher's Facebook Page, posted 12 February 2016

More Militias? Part 2: The proposed Afghan Territorial Army in the fight against ISKP

Borhan Osman Kate Clark

In recent days, Afghan government officials have raised the possibility of standing up a new militia force, the Afghan Territorial Army (ATA), modelled after both its Indian namesake and the Afghan Local Police (ALP). AAN understands that President Ghani is currently considering a pilot project for the ATA in the Achin and Kot districts of […]

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ALP and ANP prepare ammunition for a live fire training exercise in Helmand province, 2013 (US Marine photo Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

More Militias? Part 1: Déjà vu double plus with the proposed ‘Afghan Territorial Army’

Kate Clark

The Afghan government and its United States military backers are considering standing up a new militia force, an army version of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and modelled on the Indian Territorial Army. Officials claim this is their only option if isolated communities are to be protected from insurgents. Human rights groups have reacted with […]

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Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (4): A case study from Jawzjan

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have put in place administrative and military institutions in northern Jawzjan province that function relatively well. The shadow administrative posts are held by local non-Pashtuns. The recruitment of Uzbeks, in particular, has proved effective for the Taleban. However, Daesh’s appearance in this Uzbek-dominated province has created concerns, not only for the local government, […]

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