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.

One Land, Two Rules (8): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected insurgent-controlled Zurmat district

Obaid Ali Sayed Asadullah Sadat Christian Bleuer

The Taleban’s military dominance in Zurmat district of Paktia province has allowed them to assert their will over how government and NGO-provided public services are delivered. Their motivation varies from ideological control (education and media) to revenue generation (taxes on telecommunications and public infrastructure projects). In this district, the Taleban have expanded into tax collection […]

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US-Taleban talks: An imminent agreement without peace?

Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

News coming out of the latest round of US-Taleban negotiations suggest that an agreement is imminent, but that in the desire to meet the White House’s 1 September 2019 deadline, the US have made concessions that may well complicate an actual peace agreement in Afghanistan. It appears that the US have dropped the “nothing is […]

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“Murder Is Always”: The Kulalgo night raid killings

Thomas Ruttig AAN Team

On the night of 11 and 12 August, what seems to have been a mixed US-Afghan commando raided several homes in Kulalgo, a large village in Zurmat district, Paktia. Eleven people were killed, civilians who had nothing to do with the insurgency, according to family members and local elders. They were ‘Taleban’ according to official […]

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Kandahar from Razeq to Tadin (2): The collapse foretold that did not happen

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Thomas Ruttig

After the assassination in October 2018 of Kandahar’s powerful police chief and ruthless anti-Taleban strongman, General Abdul Razeq, it was feared that the security regime he had installed in central parts of the province might break down without him and the Taleban might capitalise on this. Although fighting has since increased, the feared collapse has […]

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Kandahar from Razeq to Tadin (1): Building the ‘American tribe’

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Thomas Ruttig

After the assassination in October 2018 of Kandahar’s powerful police chief and ruthless anti-Taleban strongman, General Abdul Razeq, it was feared that the security regime he installed in central parts of the province might break down without him and the Taleban might capitalise on it. Although fighting has since increased, the feared collapse has not […]

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AAN Q&A: What came out of the Doha intra-Afghan conference?

Thomas Ruttig

Representatives of Afghanistan’s warring parties and civil society met at a peace conference in Qatar’s capital Doha on 7-8 July 2019. They all participated ‘in their personal capacities’ in order to circumvent the Taleban’s rejection of direct talks with the Afghan government. The conference that took place behind closed doors ended with a joint final […]

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Before Doha 7: Afghanistan peace efforts recovering from a lull?

Thomas Ruttig

The seventh round of United States-Taleban talks in Doha is imminent. But US-Taleban negotiations in Doha for a negotiated solution to the Afghan war have been stalling in recent rounds, after some initial progress. So far they also still exclude the third key actor, the Afghan government. Parties in the so-called intra-Afghan dialogue have also […]

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AAN Q&A: Between ‘Peace Talks’ and Elections – The 2019 Consultative Peace Loya Jirga

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

The four-day Consultative Peace Loya Jirga will commence on Monday, 29 April 2019. This assembly – the sixth loya jirga since 2001 – was convened by President Ghani with the aim of discussing the framework for negotiations with the Taleban. Originally scheduled to start on 17 March, it had to be delayed for organisational reasons. […]

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Women and Afghan Peace Talks: ‘Peace consensus’ gathering left Afghan women without reassurance

Thomas Ruttig

One of the recurrent themes around the US-Taleban negotiations to end the Afghan war (so far without participation of the Afghan government) is the demand of Afghan women for “meaningfully participation” in the preparations for inclusive peace talks. This expectation also figured at a national consensus gathering (ejma) in Kabul in late February this year. […]

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The front page of UNAMA’s 2018 report into the protection of civilians shows a group of journalists and first responders caught in a suicide attack in downtown Kabul on 30 April 2018. They had arrived at the scene of an earlier blast when a suicide attacker posing as a journalist detonated another explosive device. Nine journalists were killed and six injured. ISKP claimed responsibility for both attacks, which together killed 21 civilians and injured 42 others, including four children. (Photo: Omar Sobhani /Reuters)

Record Numbers of Civilian Casualties Overall, from Suicide Attacks and Air Strikes: UNAMA reports on the conflict in 2018

Kate Clark

The downturn in civilian casualties recorded in 2017 has reversed. UNAMA, in its 2018 Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan, released today, records almost 11,000 civilians injured or killed in 2018, a five per cent increase compared to 2017. It is the highest number of civilian casualties on record. […]

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Smoke rises from where an American airstrike targeted a presumed ISKP fighting position in Mamand Valley. As seen from Combat Outpost Blackfish on April 22, 2018. Photo: Author

“Faint lights twinkling against the dark”: Reportage from the fight against ISKP in Nangrahar

Andrew

It has been almost four years since the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) captured territory in southern Nangrahar province, where it ruled with extreme brutality, and nearly two years since the United States military and Afghan government forces began concertedly fighting the group there. (The Taleban, too, have fought ISKP sporadically.) The last commander of […]

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“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”: First steps in Afghan peace negotiations

Thomas Ruttig

With the US-Taleban negotiations in Doha actually addressing how to end the Afghan war, and with first progress being made in the form of an agreed draft framework, Afghanistan seems to be slowly inching beyond the impasse of only ‘talks about talks.’ With this, a peace process has possibly left the starting blocks, but only […]

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