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.

PEACE JIRGA BLOG 2: Peace Jirga goes to Washington: whose opinions count on reconciling Taliban?

Kate Clark

‘Peace Jirga goes to Washington,’ was the headline in Payam-e Mujahid newspaper this week. The headline sums up how politics have been on hold in Afghanistan since President Karzai was invited to Washington and also, very succinctly, where the power of decision-making in Afghanistan lies. By Kate Clark, currently engaged as Senior Analyst with AAN. […]

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Counterinsurgency in Kandahar: what happened to the fence?

Martine van Bijlert

A short visit to Kandahar, as it has been a while. In the afternoon there is a donkey cart bomb several blocks away. It kills three children, destroys a police post and rattles the office I am visiting. The blast of moving air tells the body something about vulnerability that it had forgotten. In the […]

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New troops too late for Badghis?

Monica Bernabe

Inactive foreign troops and gross human rights violations with an ethnic bias have made the population of Badghis ‘poor, fed up and completely alienated from the government’, an ideal breeding ground for the Taleban and an eight-fold increase of poppy cultivation. A rare glimpse into one of the most neglected provinces of Afghanistan. By Mònica […]

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How ‘neo’ were the ‘Neo-Taleban’?

Thomas Ruttig

Since the Taleban’s quick resurgence after the fall of their regime in 2001, their insurgency often is described with the term ‘Neo-Taleban’. Here it is argued, though, that there was more continuity than change from the pre-9/11 to the post-9/11 Taleban movement. The real ‘neo-Taleban’ might emerge now – after the arrest of accommodation-inclined Taleban […]

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Don’t Call That Warlord a Warlord

Antonio Giustozzi

In Afghanistan, some feel insulted when they are called a ‘warlord’. Some rather call them, euphemistically, ‘local power brokers’ or ‘strongmen’. The author of this blog thinks that the term still is useful – but that it should not be used randomly and proposes a sharper definition. By Antonio Giustozzi. This blog first appeared on […]

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Finding Kabir

Willi Germund

Arresting the former deputy ‚prime minister‘ of the Taleban apparently needed less than rocket science. Pakistani intelligence sources also confirm that the arrests of Maulawi Kabir and Mulla Baradar foremost serve Pakistani interests, both with regard to urgently needed financial resources and possibly to the strengthening of an old ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. A guest blog […]

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Some Birds with One Stone

Christopher Reuter

Pakistan is establishing a new Taleban leadership that is more aggressive, less inclined to talk and primarily follows the instructions of its ISI minders, says Christoph Reuter(1). With this aim, it manipulates different leaders of militant groups, using targeted arrests and ‘invitations’ into ‘guesthouses’. When it became known on 16 Februar that the number three […]

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Strangers kicking in your door

Martine van Bijlert

“Hello, I am calling from Kandahar. I got your number from a friend. One of my employees, a driver, was arrested a month ago. ISAF forces came to my house at night and took three people away. They also almost took me. They are still holding the driver, the ICRC says he is in Bagram. […]

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Flash from the Past: Russian Advice on Afghanistan

AAN Team

‘In fact, we [the Soviet Union] were the first to defend Western civilization against the attacks of Muslim fanatics. No one thanked us.’ This is only one of the core sentences in an op-ed I almost had missed. It was co-authored by ex-General Boris Gromov, now the governor of the Moscow region who commanded the […]

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Taleban Attack on Muhammad’s Birthday

Thomas Ruttig

It was around 6.30 this morning when we were woken up by a violent blast. As it turned out, it was another of the ‘complex’ (or multiple) attacks using suicide bombers and ‘commandos’ armed with small arms for which the Taleban have regularly claimed responsibility. The main targets seem to have been two guesthouses in […]

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Recommended readings: 114,000 plus…

Thomas Ruttig

With the US troop surge and announcements at and around the London conference that additional troops will be deployed from other NATO countries, NATO and its allies are now exceeding the number of troops the Soviet Union had sent to occupy the country between 1979 and 1989. This does not include contractors from private military […]

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Implications of Mulla Baradar’s Arrest

Thomas Ruttig

With Mulla Baradar the operational leader of the Taleban movement has been captured. Mulla Baradar – this is a nom-de-guerre and his real name is Abdul Ghani – had been appointed one of the two deputies of Mulla Muhammad Omar when the movement reorganized after its collapse in late 2001. That made him the movement’s […]

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