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.

Building for Eternity? The Issue of the US Afghan Bases (amended)

Thomas Ruttig

Will the US really withdraw (most of its) its troops – those who will not be rebranded ‘trainers’ and advisors’ like in Iraq – by 2014? Is general Petraeus following his own timeline? For sure, the US is planning to keep (some of) its bases in Afghanistan, and it is expanding them rapidly. A US […]

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Figure of the Day: US$ 100 m. (in destroyed orchards)

Thomas Ruttig

An Afghan government delegation has reported that ‘Afghan and foreign forces have caused more than US$ 100 million damage to fruit crops and homes during security operations in southern Kandahar province’. AAN’s senior analyst Thomas Ruttig remembers an episode last summer. When a young Afghan visited our office last summer and told us about US […]

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Because the Night Belongs to Raiders: Special ops in Nangrahar

Fabrizio Foschini

The first days of 2011 have already been dotted with reports of renewed night raids by US special forces turning lethal for civilians, as the ones in Ghazni and Kunduz apparently were. The resentment these operations stir up among Afghans countrywide seems likely to wipe out any possible military benefit deriving from them. The negative […]

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For a Handful of Dollars: Taleban allowed to join ALP

Kate Clark

It’s official: reintegrated Taleban will be able to join the Afghan Local Police (ALP) – referred to more commonly by civilians as militias or arbaki. This is according to the head of ISAF’s Regional Command North (who also said such Taleban might become teachers). In flat contradiction, the MoI told AAN today that Taleban will […]

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What comes after remembering? Some thoughts after National Victims Day in Afghanistan

Sari Kouvo

There are days when Afghanistan’s sadness becomes overwhelming. For us, the Afghan National Victims’ Day was such a day. AAN Senior Analyst Sari Kouvo and Political Researcher Obaid Ali participated in the Afghan National Victims’ Day demonstration and commemoration. Around forty women and men have already gathered when we early Friday morning arrived at Kabul’s […]

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Obama’s War Strategy: Stamping out the fire by pouring on gasoline

Kate Clark

President Obama’s review of the first year of his war strategy in Afghanistan is extraordinarily upbeat. “The momentum achieved by the Taliban in recent years,” it says, “has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in some key areas… The surge… has reduced overall Taleban influence.”(*) For those of us living in Afghanistan, […]

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Guest blog: Peace on Hold

Naqib Ahmad Atal

In spring of this year US troops in South East Afghanistan introduced a local peace initiative. It should have been a model for the whole country. Instead, it has ground to a halt, which highlights the huge challenge for the much vaunted reconciliation process. Nangarhar journalist Naqib Ahmad Atal, writing for Afghanistan Today, describes where […]

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Gulbuddin ante portas – again (2)

Thomas Ruttig

Veteran mujahedin and current no. 2 insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar gave a rare and extensive interview to German TV. AAN’s Senior Analyst Thomas Ruttig thinks that he was trying a walk on the tightrope, responding to the opened doors for ‘reconciliation’ while projecting that he is not too soft on the US and Kabul’s offers […]

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Splitting the Haqqanis with NATO Reconciliation Air?

Thomas Ruttig

The initial big wave of reports about talks with the Taleban gathering speed and of a possible short-term ‘reconciliation’ have given way for a slower but steady trickle of spicy detail. A detail dropped here, some names there, mixed with half-denials like Richard Holbrooke’s ‘There is less than meets the eye’ line keep the shurwa(*) […]

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A Washington Diary: Partition Lite and a lot of hope

Thomas Ruttig

Less than two weeks to go to the US mid-term elections with the expected rout of Obama’s democrats, the war in Afghanistan is no issue at all in the campaign. The decision, says everyone here, is taken anyway: The US will pull out most of its troops, re-label the rest as trainers and advisers, keep […]

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A Karzai-Taleban coalition won’t survive a few days

Francesc Vendrell

Former UN and EU Special Envoy to Afghanistan and the chairman of AAN’s advisory board Francesc Vendrell talked to the Voice of America about the much-reported contacts between the Afghan government and some elements of the Taliban on possible peace negotiations. Here some relatively expansive quotes from the 19 October article. Francesc Vendrell who is […]

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Talking to the Taleban: Who’s under pressure now?

Anand Gopal

The last US plan – to have a more broad-based reconciliation process only after its military would regain the upper hand on the battlefield – has not worked. The surge has not shifted the momentum. Not the Taleban but in reality the US are under pressure, and fundamental questions open about how and where a […]

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