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 Assault in Sayad: Did Taleban and Daesh really collaborate?

Obaid Ali

Armed militants have overrun Afghan Local Police (ALP) and a public uprising unit’s posts in the Mirza Olang village of Sayad district in Sar-e Pul province on 6 August 2017. Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed. There is another dimension, however, that created widespread international media reporting about the incident: claims by local officials that […]

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At the End of a Long Curve: The fall of Janikhel

Fazl Rahman Muzhary Thomas Ruttig

The temporary capture of Janikhel district centre by Taleban forces in late July 2017 stands out in the relatively static, mountainous and geographically and tribally fractured region of eastern Paktia and Khost. There, most district centres continue to be in government hands, while many areas outside of them are more or less under Taleban control. […]

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The Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (3): The Takhar case study

Obaid Ali

Despite some recent gains, the Taleban have struggled to establish a stronger foothold in the north-eastern province of Takhar. One of the reasons the movement they failed to do so have been growing tensions and power struggles among its Uzbek and Pashtun Taleban cadres. Strategically, this has left a geographical gap, preventing them from connecting […]

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A photo released by the ISKP from the Tora Bora Mountains.

Another ISKP leader “dead”: Where is the group headed after losing so many amirs?

Borhan Osman

The US military has announced that it has killed Abu Saeed, the amir of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), in an air strike in Kunar province earlier this month. Abu Saeed was a veteran fighter with a long militant career. His death – if confirmed – deals a considerable blow to the group, which is […]

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UNAMA Mid-Year Report 2017: Number of civilian casualties still at “record level”

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The number of civilians in the war in Afghanistan remained on “record high levels” in the first six months of 2017, with Kabul remaining the most affected city in the country. These are the two main features that stand out in UNAMA’s just released mid-year report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It […]

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Photograph of the newly appointed Taleban leader Haibatullah, which circulated on social media within hours of the announcement - previous Taleban leaders were always careful to avoid having an up-to-date picture of them in the media (Photo Source: Islamic Emirates' social media post)

AAN Q&A: Taleban leader Hebatullah’s new treatise on jihad

Borhan Osman

Taleban leader Hebatullah Akhundzada has published a book which provides fresh clues about his current concerns and interests. The treatise is largely a collection of quotes from Islamic literature, mostly prophetic sayings, on various aspects of jihad. It contains little of the author’s personal opinions and interpretations. Yet, the choice of themes and sources, the […]

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New Taleban Attacks in Kunduz: Less coordinated, still well-placed to threaten the city

Obaid Ali

In early July 2017, the Taleban carried out several simultaneous attacks against the Afghan security forces in Kunduz province, in an attempt to, once again, inch closer to the provincial centre. The attacks were less coordinated and sustained than they had been in the past years (including in 2015 when Kunduz fell and in 2016 […]

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Update on the Afghan Local Police: Making sure they are armed, trained, paid and exist

Kate Clark

The Afghan Local Police (ALP) emerged out of an American special forces’ project to establish ‘community defence forces’ in 2009 and 2010. Despite being viewed by many as ‘militias in uniform’, the ALP has survived and grown to become a significant part of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), present in all but three of […]

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Silhouettes of armed men against a darkening sky

Reforming the Afghan Ministry of Interior: A way to ‘tilt’ the war?

Kate Clark

As part of their review of military strategy in Afghanistan, both President Ashraf Ghani and the Commander of United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, have honed in on the Ministry of Interior as a critical weakness in the government’s fight against the Taleban. The Afghan National Police, a paramilitary force, is […]

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A Black Week in Kabul (2): Who are the most likely perpetrators?

Borhan Osman

On 31 May and 3 June 2017, Kabul was the scene of a series of new terrorist bomb attacks that took a heavy toll on the civilian population. While no group has claimed the attacks, the Afghan government has pointed at the Haqqani network, which is part of the Taleban. All this leaves room for […]

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A Black Week in Kabul: Terror and protests

Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

It has been an incredibly difficult week for Kabul. In four days, over a hundred people were killed and several hundreds injured – most of them in a massive terrorist attack in central Kabul on 31 May 2017. Two days later, as angry protests threatened to become violent, the police opened fire killing and injuring […]

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The Battle for Mamand: ISKP under strain, but not yet defeated 

Borhan Osman

In recent weeks, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) has lost a significant part of its stronghold in Nangrahar as well as several senior commanders and its overall leader, Sheikh Abdul Hasib. Its losses have been mounting steadily since early April when American and Afghan special forces intensified their campaign against the group. This included […]

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