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 Killing Continues – the Taloqan attack (Updated)

Martine van Bijlert

The impact of yesterday’s suicide attack in Takhar, which killed the police commander of the northern zone General Daud and six others, is wide ranging. The international security forces and those counting on a smooth transition have lost an important partner. The Jamiat-based networks have lost a battlefield commander. The (northern) youth have lost a […]

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The Enteqal Seven (3): Lashkargah – Southern Poster Child for Transition

Jen Mackenzie

The choice of Lashkargah as one of the first areas to be transferred into Afghan security responsibility was a surprise but can be explained: It is to give credence to the fulsome ISAF reports and certain sections of the media that peace, hope, and stability are just around the corner in this troubled corner of […]

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Kill or Capture 2: Another Takhar Night Raid Fans Ethnic Discontent

Kate Clark

The repercussions of a night raid by US Special Forces and Afghan police, which left two men, a woman and a girl dead in Takhar a week ago (whether they were civilians or insurgents, depends on whose version of events you believe) are still being played out. The provincial council has gone on strike in […]

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Killing Civilians: Taleban and International Law

Kate Clark

When the Taleban attacked the 400-bed military hospital in Kabul on 21 May 2011, they committed a gross violation of the international law that protects medical personnel during conflict. The Taleban spokesman heaped praise on those who attacked the hospital, even though, a few days earlier, he had been condemning the international military’s ‘crime against […]

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Direct US-Taleban talks and the Bonn 2 conference (amended)

Thomas Ruttig

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the US have ‘speeded up’ direct talks with the Taleban. According to this report, such talks have been ‘initiated several months ago’ and that ‘at least three meetings in Qatar and Germany, one as recently as “eight or nine days ago,” with a Taliban official considered close to […]

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Kill or Capture 1: Owning up to civilian casualties

Kate Clark

US Special Forces carry out the vast majority of night raids and targeted killings in Afghanistan, but it is ISAF – through its media office – which deals with any news or fall-out arising from them. In responses to questions by journalists about AAN’s latest report about a case of intelligence failures and targeted killing […]

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The Enteqal Seven (2): Around Mehtarlam, an ‘insurgency corridor’ in the making

Fabrizio Foschini

The start of the Taleban spring offensive is not stopping preparations that are on track for the announced transfer of security to Afghan forces, beginning in July. In the Eastern region, however, besides the scheduled transition in Mehtarlam district of Laghman, a much more problematic development can be witnessed, as US troops that abandon positions […]

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Ahmed Rashid in Berlin: Transition before a political settlement ‘is absurd’

Thomas Ruttig

Earlier today, Ahmed Rashid participated in a Chatham House-ruled podium in Berlin about ‘Afghanistan on the Road to Bonn: Impacts of a Region in Change’. Of course, the event was overshadowed by the recent killing of OBL in Abbottabad, which has created some optimism for an opening political solution in Afghanistan amongst participants, and Ahmed […]

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Al-Qaeda headless – Taleban unaltered

Thomas Ruttig

The symbiotic relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taleban had been over-emphasised. Therefore, the impact on them by OBL’s death will remain limited, argues AAN’s Thomas Ruttig – in part 2 of a series of still raw thoughts on the Abbottabad raid. ‘Bin Laden had mostly taken on a symbolic role and his removal doesn’t directly […]

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The Afghan War without Osama – seven boiled-down thoughts

Martine van Bijlert

So what to add to the cacophony of opinion and analysis that has already filled the airwaves and the internet? Some thoughts, boiled down to their very basic bottom-line. I don’t think the death of bin Laden will directly impact the fighting capabilities of any of the parties engaged in the war in Afghanistan. I […]

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Taleban ‘spring campaign starts’: more suicide attacks, fewer civilian casualties?

Kate Clark

The suicide attack today (18 April 2011) on the Afghan ministry of defence followed a warning by the Taleban spokesman that the movement would be focussing on greater infiltration of the Afghan security forces in order to carry out attacks. He said the attack marked the start of the Taleban’s ‘spring campaign’. It was a […]

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One Week in Vain: An operation in Nerkh

Thomas Ruttig

In March, US troops carried out an operation to secure the volatile district of Nerkh, just south of Kabul. They thought it will take them less than a week to bring ‘visible improvements’, establish a couple of shuras and ‘local police’. A Spanish journalist witnessed this operation and found that nothing of this finally materialised […]

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