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.

Guest Blog: A former Afghanistan jihadi in Libya’s revolution

Christopher Reuter

Our guest blogger Christoph Reuter(*) has met a former Afghanistan fighter in the liberated city of Darnah and found that Libya’s Islamists do not need a jihadi valve anymore. They even do not attempt to hijack the Libyan revolution – which is secular in character, like the ones in Egypt and Tunisia. When about a […]

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Flash from the Past: An Alternative to the Taleban?

Thomas Ruttig

A former Pakistani general pulled new strings in Afghanistan’s conflict in the summer of 2000, trying to set up a Pakistani-controlled ‘anti’ or ‘neo-Taleban’ force. It was to get rid of the increasingly discredited Mulla Omar, safeguard the alliance with the US – and Pakistan’s influence on Afghanistan. The plan failed, or was abandoned – […]

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The Survival of the Private Security Companies

Martine van Bijlert

“As we move towards the transition process, all foreign parallel functions and institutions including private security firms, the PRTs, existence of the militias, detention of Afghan citizens by foreign forces and arbitrary house searches must stop immediately.” – Karzai’s speech on 23 March 2011, announcing the first phase of the Enteqal process. There are a […]

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It Needs Two to Talk: Reading the Century Foundation report

Thomas Ruttig

Today, the US-based Century Foundation (TCF) came out with a comprehensive report containing a set of proposals on ‘Negotiating Peace’ in Afghanistan. It is not the first – and won’t be the last – paper of this kind but, with Brahimi and Pickering as co-chairs of this Task Force and Vendrell, Guehenno and others on […]

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Talking about peace talks; a morass of misunderstandings and abstractions

Martine van Bijlert

For a while now I have been feeling uneasy over the direction the debate on ‘talking to the Taleban’ is taking. The more I listen to conversation about reaching some kind of settlement, the more I feel as if I am wading into a morass of misunderstandings and abstractions, with a potentially dangerous level of […]

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Discussing the Taleban in the Age of Chatham House Rules

Thomas Ruttig

It is not easy to report on current events in our times when most conferences, workshops or seminars on Afghanistan with an interesting audience, including people with inside information, are held under Chatham House Rules. For those unfamiliar with this term: It means that you, as participant of such a meeting, can quote what was […]

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Reality off the records: Afghan civilian casualties and NATO’s narrative

Thomas Ruttig

Facts from the latest UN and AIHRC report: 2,777 Afghan civilians have been killed in 2010 – these are more than ever before since the US-led intervention started in 2001 and 15 per cent more than in 2009. Insurgents were held responsible for 75 per cent of these casualties, Afghan government and Western forces for […]

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‘Zoom In and You’ll See the Faces of Taleban’

Martine van Bijlert

Michael Yon travelled to Uruzgan to see what he could see. He is by his own description on “a long tour of Afghanistan” to discover what is going on in places where international forces have fought and died. Not a bad idea. These places are indeed “(n)ames that mean almost nothing to most people, but […]

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A Taleban ‘Shock and Awe’ Campaign

Fabrizio Foschini

The recent string of attacks, seemingly aimed at hitting in the heart of Afghan cities in a spectacular and murderous manner, continues. Starting from the battle at the Kandahar central police station on 12 February, in a ten-day span four more attacks – unlike the former aimed at soft, largely civilian targets – hit population […]

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The Start of Impunity: the killing of Dr Abdul Rahman

Kate Clark

[Photo: Dr Abdul Rahman (with dark glasses) standing behind German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (left) and later Afghan Minister of Economy Amin Farhang (r.) at the Bonn conference in 2001.] Everyone has their watershed moments when alarm bells started ringing over the post-2001 political settlement in Afghanistan. For AAN’s senior analyst, Kate Clark, one pivotal […]

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AAN Reads: The Great Talqaida Myth

Thomas Ruttig

Al-Qaida and the Taleban are basically the same, they are fanatical Islamist extremists who hate the West and are an imminent danger for all of us. This, at least, is what one influential school of terrorism experts says – which informs the latest US policy on Afghanistan which, on paper, concentrates on ‘disrupting’ al-Qaida while, […]

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Tactical or genuine? The Taleban’s ‘new education policy’

Thomas Ruttig

This time, the Times Education Supplement (TES) has the latest scoop about the Taleban. The article with the headline ‘Taliban “backs girls’ education”’ has already been picked up around the world. But it is worth to look at the source of the sensational statement. It is not from Mulla Omar’s ‘Quetta shura’ but from Kabul’s […]

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