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.

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. […]

War and Peace Read more
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 […]

War and Peace Read more

“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 […]

War and Peace Read more

Speculation Abounding: Trying to make sense of the attacks against Shias in Herat city

S Reza Kazemi

Herat – the generally safe and prosperous city in western Afghanistan – has seen a series of attacks against Shia religious figures and sites, especially since 2016. Fieldwork shows there is little empirical evidence as to who the perpetrators are or why they carried out these attacks. Based on conversations with Shia and Sunni activists, […]

War and Peace Read more
One of two cars the family said the Khost Protection Force burned during their attack.

Khost Protection Force Accused of Fresh Killings: Six men shot dead in Zurmat

Kate Clark

There has been a fresh attack on civilians by armed men whom the victims’ family and the Paktia provincial governor’s spokesman have said were from the Khost Protection Force, an irregular militia supported by the CIA. A survivor of the attack carried out in Surkai village in Zurmat district, in Paktia province, described to AAN […]

War and Peace Read more

The Afghan Territorial Force: Learning from the lessons of the past?

Kate Clark

A new local defence force is being mobilised in Afghanistan. The establishment of the Afghan National Army Territorial Force was announced by President Ashraf Ghani in April 2018. Careful consideration has gone into its design, with safeguards built in to try to avoid the pitfalls associated with previous locally-recruited forces, such as the Afghan Local […]

War and Peace Read more
One of the three civilian cars that were destroyed in a night raid on 30 November 2018 in Alizai village of Andar district. Photo: Author/2018

Unheeded Warnings (2): Ghazni city as vulnerable to Taleban as before

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

The Taleban may have been pushed back out of Ghazni city after their five-day siege in August, but they have continued to expand into new territory around the city. They now have full control of eight districts in Ghazni province. They control the Ghazni-Paktika highway and continue to put pressure on the Kabul-Kandahar highway. In […]

War and Peace Read more
Normally, this area would be bustling, with second-hand clothes and shoes sold from handcarts. During the August attack on Ghazni city, as many as 73 handcarts, all loaded with merchandise were burnt, according to a government fact-finding team. A month after the attack, this area, on the west bank of the River Jalga in the heart of the city, was still deserted. (Fazl Muzhary/AAN 2018)

Unheeded Warnings (1): Looking back at the Taleban attack on Ghazni

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

Four months after the Taleban captured large parts of the strategic and historic city of Ghazni during a five-day siege in August 2018, local people live in fear of a new onslaught. While the Taleban were ultimately pushed out – or withdrew – from the city, they remain in the suburbs and have extended their […]

War and Peace Read more

What Other Peace Processes Can Teach Afghanistan (1): Colombia’s agreement with FARC

Martine van Bijlert

With the renewed focus on possible peace talks in Afghanistan, it is useful to look at what can be learned from processes in other countries. Although they cannot be treated as models, they can serve as examples of what is possible and provide inspiration, ideas and a shared language. In the first dispatch of a […]

War and Peace Read more

How to Set up a ‘Good ALP’: The experience of Yahyakhel district, Paktika and how it became more peaceful

Fazl Rahman Muzhary Kate Clark

Yahyakhel district in Paktika province was once as pro-Taleban as it is now pro-government. The turning point came in 2011/2012, with the formation of a tribal militia, which was soon formalised into an Afghan Local Police (ALP) unit. Unlike many other ALP units, it has enjoyed local popular support and control. It has not abused […]

War and Peace Read more

Getting to the Steering Wheel: President Ghani’s new set of peace proposals

Thomas Ruttig

President Ashraf Ghani updated peace plan, presented at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on 28 November, the 13th international Afghanistan conference since 2001, built on the February 2018 Kabul Process proposals. Ghani foresees a five-phase approach to consultations and five years of implementation. At the same time, these proposals represent an attempt to reassert the Afghan government’s […]

War and Peace Read more

Taleban Attacks on Khas Uruzgan, Jaghori and Malestan (II): A new and violent push into Hazara areas

Ali Yawar Adili Martine van Bijlert

The Taleban attacks on Hazara areas in Uruzgan and Ghazni were unprecedented in their reach and led to massive displacement. The attacks indicated a clear shift in the Taleban’s behaviour towards the Hazara areas, stimulating various hypotheses about their motives. In this second part of a series of two dispatches, AAN’s Ali Yawar Adili and […]

War and Peace Read more