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 late Haji Gul Agha, ALP police chief for Shajoy district, Zabul. Photo: Pajhwok.

How to replace a bad ALP commander: in Shajoy, success and now calamity

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

The Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander in Shajoy district, Zabul province, Haji Gul Agha, has been killed in a Taleban ambush, along with four of his men. AAN’s Fazal Muzhary had been researching Gul Agha’s record as his was an interesting example of locals managing, with great difficulty, to get rid of an abusive ALP […]

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The complex attack on the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul started around 7 pm on 24 August 2016 with an explosion followed by armed assailants storming the campus. (Photo Source: Tolonews)

The Attack on the American University in Kabul (2): Who did it and why?

Borhan Osman

The attack on the American University in Kabul on 24 August 2016 was unprecedented in many respects. For the first time, a ‘complex attack’ – often reserved for high-profile and well-guarded targets – hit an educational institution. It also came in the wake of an ideological campaign by circles in the Taleban movement that had […]

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The campus of the American University in Afghanistan, which opened in 2006, came under attack in the evening hours of 24 August 2016. (Photo Source: American University Afghanistan (AUAF) Facebook Page)

The Attack on the American University in Kabul (1): What happened and who the victims were

AAN Team

By the time the attack on the American University in Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul on 24 August 2016 ended, 13 people had been killed and 49 wounded, most of them students. Families looking forward to bright futures for their children have been left to bury them or are now waiting anxiously at hospital bedsides. No group […]

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Far From Back to Normal: The Kunduz crisis lingers on

Lola Cecchinel

The Taleban’s recent takeover of both Qala-ye Zal and Dasht-e Archi’s district centres is the latest episode in the long-running battle for possession of Kunduz province. It follows the spectacular takeover of Kunduz’s provincial centre by insurgents in late September 2015, the hard-won recapture by pro-government forces two weeks later and the government’s unsuccessful counter-offensive […]

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Surkh Kotal, here seen from afar, came under Taleban control in mid-May 2016 and was only recaptured after ANSF operations a month later. (Photo Source: Heritage Institute)

Taleban in the North: Gaining ground along the Ring Road in Baghlan

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have made significant inroads in a number of strategic areas in the northern province of Baghlan over the past two years. They now pose a greater threat than ever to the Baghlan-Balkh highway, part of the Ring Road which here links Kabul to the north. The Taleban know that by blocking highways, they […]

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The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar

Borhan Osman

The Islamic State’s local franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the TUTAP protests in Kabul on 23 July 2016. The attack killed more than 80 people and injured over 230 others in Deh Mazang Square in western Kabul. The target of […]

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Afghan Islamic State supporters posted this photo: a small group of Daesh-affiliated fighters raising the IS flag inside a mosque in Afghanistan's northeast, they said. Photo: unknown IS supporter on social media.

The 2016 Insurgency in the North: Raising the Daesh flag (although not for long)

Obaid Ali

The flag of the Islamic State (IS, or Daesh) has been flown twice in the last year in Takhar and Baghlan provinces by a group of ethnic Uzbek Afghans who had set up their own insurgent group, Jundullah, in 2009. It had enjoyed an uneasy alliance with the Taleban, but tried to use the turmoil […]

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Taleban propaganda films (with scenes such as the above of a gathering of fighters in Kunduz province pledging allegiance to Akhtar Mansur in August 2015) can been seen as evidence of how much the Taleban's decision-making mechanism, its organisational structure and communication strategies have evolved over the past two decades of its existence. (Photo Source: Taleban Propaganda Website 2015)

Taleban in Transition 2: Who is in charge now?

Borhan Osman

The new Taleban leader, Mullah Haibatullah, is being closely scrutinised to see if he will try to shape the goals and methods of the insurgency. The question is not just whether he wants to, but if he can. Gone are the days when the amir of the Taleban, by mere virtue of his position, had […]

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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)

Taleban in Transition: How Mansur’s death and Haibatullah’s ascension may affect the war (and peace)

Borhan Osman

The killing of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansur in an American drone strike has deprived the Taleban of their official, and before that, de facto leader of six years. Mansur had shaped the movement profoundly – leaving it stronger militarily, but with more internal dissension. His successor, Mullah Haibatullah, is an austere, pious man with higher religious […]

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HIG leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Photo: website of Shahadat daily.

Almost Signed? The peace agreement with Hezb-e Islami

Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

On 18 May 2016, two delegations representing respectively the insurgent faction of Hezb-e Islami-ye Afghanistan and the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) initialled a draft peace agreement that should end Hezb’s armed struggle. The status of the document – and whether it may still be subject to changes – is not fully clear, but there is […]

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Ghani’s Speech to the Parliament: A hardening position on war, peace and Pakistan

Martine van Bijlert

President Ghani’s speech to the Afghan parliament, in an extraordinary joint session on 25 April 2016, was unprecedented. Made in response to demands that he clarify the government’s security policies, the televised speech was sober and dignified, and detailed the government’s hardening stance against Pakistan, the Haqqani network, Daesh and “parts of the Taleban.” Although, […]

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Security forces cordoned off the area along the bank of the Kabul River immediately after the attack allowing only ambulances to pass through the barriers. (Photo Source: Tolo News 19 April 2016)

A Shaken City: On the Taleban‘s truck-bomb attack in Kabul

Martine van Bijlert

The explosion which shook Kabul on 19 April 2016 was so large  its reverberation could be felt throughout almost the entire city. All that day, and the next, the death toll continued to rise. Official figures currently stand at 68 killed and 347 injured, but the real numbers are likely to be higher. The scale of the […]

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