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 in the Districts (1): A chasm between high talks and local concerns in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

As talks between the United States and the Taleban resume in Doha, we bring you the first of two dispatches on what Afghans in ten districts across the country think about the prospects for peace. The focus of the first dispatch is a theme which emerged from the interviews, the relationship – or lack of […]

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A Maelstrom of Militias: Takhar, a case study of strongmen co-opting the ALP

Kate Clark

When the Ministry of Interior officials and human rights activists are asked where the worst Afghan Local Police (ALP) are, Takhar province is usually on the list. The reasons given are the enduring power of local strongmen over the force and the involvement of ALP units in crime, especially drug smuggling, and abuses of the […]

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Government Rule Confined to District and Provincial Centres: Zabul’s capital under threat

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The Taleban have not yet been able to fully capture any province in Afghanistan, but they have been very close to capturing, or have briefly held, the provincial capitals of Kunduz, Farah, Ghazni, Uruzgan and Helmand in the recent past. Zabul province also remains on the brink, with the Taleban in control of most of […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (19): An ambiguous picture of E-day civilian casualties

Thomas Ruttig

The latest UNAMA report and other figures paint a mixed picture of the level of violence Afghanistan experienced on election day. On one hand, the day remained calmer than many feared, without the massive terror attacks threatened by the Taleban. On the other hand, 28 September was the second-most violent election day the country has ever […]

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A US Air Force A-10 strikes alleged Taliban narcotics facility in Farah province on 3 April 2018. US forces in Afghanistan and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces conducted a series of strikes on alleged Taliban narcotics production facilities in Farah and Nimroz provinces in April 2018 and May 2019. Photo: Resolute Support website.

New UNAMA Civilian Causalities Report: US targeting of alleged drug labs goes against international humanitarian law

Jelena Bjelica

UNAMA released a special report on Wednesday 9 October, which examines in detail the United States airstrikes against alleged methamphetamine processing facilities in Bakwa district of Farah province. The report concludes that the operation, which took place on 5 May 2019, “did not meet the definition of legitimate military objectives under international law.” It is […]

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Taleban attacks on Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri: Symbolic operations

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

In the last week Taleban have attacked and entered three provincial centres, Kunduz city, Pul-e Khumri in Baghlan and Farah city, before being pushed back. This dispatch focusses on the offensives against Pul-e Khumri and Kunduz, considering them in the context of the regional security of northeastern Afghanistan. It finds that key lessons from earlier […]

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Trump Ends Talks with the Taleban: What happens next?

Kate Clark

United States president Donald Trump has called off talks with the Taleban and cancelled signing of an agreement with them. The trigger, he said, was a suicide bomb which killed one US soldier and “11 other people” carried out “seemingly [to] strengthen their bargaining position.” However, voices against the ‘agreement in principle’ deal had already […]

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

Obaid Ali Christian Bleuer Sayed Asadullah Sadat

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?

Thomas Ruttig Martine van Bijlert

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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