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.

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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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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