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.

An Offensive Foretold

Thomas Ruttig

When I checked the BBC website last night after watching the world premiere of the reconstructed famous 1927 German silent movie ‘Metropolis’ (a ‘don’t miss’ for all cineasts), the red ribbon for breaking news flashed: NATO and Afghan troops have started ‘Operation Moshtarak’ (Together) in Helmand. In Afghanistan, it was already after 2 am on […]

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On Commander Razeq again

Joanna Nathan

AAN member JOANNA NATHAN draws attention to the recent “mistaken” killing of civilians by Kandahar’s border police, which has gone largely unnoticed. So Commander Razeq is once again in the news with dead civilians on his men’s hands. TheNew York Times reports that seven people mistakenly thought to be insurgents were shot by the border police […]

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Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake

Candace Rondeaux

With this op-ed by NICK GRONO and CANDACE RONDEAUX* originally published in the Boston Globe we continue our discussion of the warlord issue in Afghanistan. As Washington rolls out its latest troop surge in Afghanistan, all eyes are on the violent south and east of the country to see whether the additional military muscle will […]

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Caught between the Taliban and the Special Forces

Captain Cat Diaries

It is an all too familiar story, but beautifully told. How elders seek out foreign strangers, hoping to find solace from the Special Forces’ search operations. Leaving a population not feeling very protected, despite all the recent population-centric military rhetoric. An excerpt from ‘Captain Cats Diaries’. Am I taking crazy pills? How difficult is it […]

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On Kunar’s Salafi Insurgents

Thomas Ruttig

Usually one needs two sources at least, but this one I find too interesting: A few days ago, on 9 January, the Taleban website Shahamat (which means ‘bravery’) reported that one of the smaller insurgent groups – the Salafi from Kunar – has pledged allegiance to Mulla Muhammad Omar. The Taleban gave its name as Jama’at […]

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Beheaded by the Taleban? No, this time it was about sex

Bette Dam

In Afghanistan, things are often more complicated than they look like at the first glance. Some armed fighting, for example, is motivated by local conflicts. But there are always people who are interested to present this as ‘Taleban’-driven. Our guest author Bette Dam*, a Dutch journalist, pleads for more accuracy in reporting such incidents. On […]

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Response to: ‘Time to Work with Warlords? What?’

Gerard Russel

The following response to my blog ‘Time to Work with Warlords? What?’ (30 Dec. 2009) came from the author of the original op-ed, GERARD RUSSELL, who criticizes that I did not pay sufficient attention ‘to what I actually said in my article’. Here his remarks: For one thing, I propose the same thing as you: […]

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What the Lakki Marwat Carnage Shows

Thomas Ruttig

With horror and disgust I was watching over the last days how the number of victims of a car-bomb detonated at a volleyball match in Shah Hassankhel village (Lakki Marwat area), close to South Waziristan, in Pakistan was steadily rising: 22, 32, 60, 75, 89, up to 93 Saturday afternoon. (No further reports from Sunday […]

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Until you get the wrong Ahmad…

Susanne Schmeidl

Recently, I participated in a discussion in Washington where I drew a lot of anger when I said that ‘kinetic’ house searches still alienate many Afghans – if they don’t push them into Taleban ranks. That’s not correct, I was told, the US and NATO forces have changed their approach. Here a first-hand story that […]

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Militia Sightings

Thomas Ruttig

Some see ‘hopes of a large-scale tribal rebellion against the Taliban’ But how spontaneously did the new militias really emerge? Here are some reports on the new militias found in the international media (further contributions welcome). Miralam Khan is the new hero of Kunduz. […] Many are convinced that the former mujahedin commander has single-handedly […]

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Ghosts of Najibullah

Thomas Ruttig

With President Obama’s release of the new Afghanistan strategy ahead on Tuesday and first details coming out, parts of the puzzle fall into place. As it looks it will be less than the US 40,000 troops desired by Gen Mc Chrystal that will be sent to Afghanistan – probably some 30,000. The gap is to […]

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A Suicide Attack in Uruzgan (UPDATED)

Thomas Ruttig

13 people killed by a suicide bomber. But who did it? Finding out what really is behind incidents like this one is extremely difficult. Facts are rare, versions and opinions, however, ample to find. While a suicide attack in a bazaar in Western Farah province on 20 November that claimed at least 16 lives made […]

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