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.

Still Ifs and Whens: The US and the Taleban inch toward a bilateral agreement

Thomas Ruttig

There have been increasing indications over the past few days that the United States and the Taleban are edging toward an agreement – or possibly two. While a declaration of a mutual ‘reduction of violence’ seems imminent, a bilateral US-Taleban agreement opening the way to peace negotiations between the Afghan parties to the conflict appears […]

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US-Taleban Agreement Still in the Air: Disputes about a ‘ceasefire’ versus ‘reduction of violence’

Thomas Ruttig

Over the past few weeks, the Taleban first stoked expectations that an agreement with the United States was imminent, and then expressed frustration that it was not yet signed. They had appeared to be trying to edge forward to an agreement by offering to “scale down military operations” against both US and Afghan troops – […]

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“Our Lives Changed”: Afghans remember the coming of the Soviet troops

AAN Team S Reza Kazemi

Forty years ago, Soviet forces entered Afghanistan, killed then President Hafizullah Amin from the Khalq faction of the ruling communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) on 27 December 1979 and brought to power Babrak Karmal, who was from the rival Parcham faction. The move was meant to be a relatively short-lived, regime change operation, […]

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A Turning Point in World History: 40 years ago, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan 40 years ago today, on 25 December 1979. Two days later, on 27 December, they toppled and killed Amin’s Khalqi’s government which had called for the troops and had assumed they had come for their rescue. The resulting occupation that would last for more than ten years became the last direct […]

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Peace in the Districts (2): Prospects, approaches and an emphasis on a ‘good peace’

S Reza Kazemi

In this second of two dispatches on what people in ten districts across Afghanistan think about prospects for peace, we hear their views on the relationship between a possible high-level peace deal and actual peace in the districts. Interviewees expressed a striking mix of optimistic and sceptical opinions as to the local viability of any […]

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Peace in the Districts (1): A chasm between high talks and local concerns in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

As talks between the United States and the Taleban resume in Doha, we bring you the first of two dispatches on what Afghans in ten districts across the country think about the prospects for peace. The focus of the first dispatch is a theme which emerged from the interviews, the relationship – or lack of […]

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A Maelstrom of Militias: Takhar, a case study of strongmen co-opting the ALP

Kate Clark

When the Ministry of Interior officials and human rights activists are asked where the worst Afghan Local Police (ALP) are, Takhar province is usually on the list. The reasons given are the enduring power of local strongmen over the force and the involvement of ALP units in crime, especially drug smuggling, and abuses of the […]

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Government Rule Confined to District and Provincial Centres: Zabul’s capital under threat

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The Taleban have not yet been able to fully capture any province in Afghanistan, but they have been very close to capturing, or have briefly held, the provincial capitals of Kunduz, Farah, Ghazni, Uruzgan and Helmand in the recent past. Zabul province also remains on the brink, with the Taleban in control of most of […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (19): An ambiguous picture of E-day civilian casualties

Thomas Ruttig

The latest UNAMA report and other figures paint a mixed picture of the level of violence Afghanistan experienced on election day. On one hand, the day remained calmer than many feared, without the massive terror attacks threatened by the Taleban. On the other hand, 28 September was the second-most violent election day the country has ever […]

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A US Air Force A-10 strikes alleged Taliban narcotics facility in Farah province on 3 April 2018. US forces in Afghanistan and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces conducted a series of strikes on alleged Taliban narcotics production facilities in Farah and Nimroz provinces in April 2018 and May 2019. Photo: Resolute Support website.

New UNAMA Civilian Causalities Report: US targeting of alleged drug labs goes against international humanitarian law

Jelena Bjelica

UNAMA released a special report on Wednesday 9 October, which examines in detail the United States airstrikes against alleged methamphetamine processing facilities in Bakwa district of Farah province. The report concludes that the operation, which took place on 5 May 2019, “did not meet the definition of legitimate military objectives under international law.” It is […]

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Taleban attacks on Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri: Symbolic operations

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

In the last week Taleban have attacked and entered three provincial centres, Kunduz city, Pul-e Khumri in Baghlan and Farah city, before being pushed back. This dispatch focusses on the offensives against Pul-e Khumri and Kunduz, considering them in the context of the regional security of northeastern Afghanistan. It finds that key lessons from earlier […]

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Trump Ends Talks with the Taleban: What happens next?

Kate Clark

United States president Donald Trump has called off talks with the Taleban and cancelled signing of an agreement with them. The trigger, he said, was a suicide bomb which killed one US soldier and “11 other people” carried out “seemingly [to] strengthen their bargaining position.” However, voices against the ‘agreement in principle’ deal had already […]

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