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.

Still under the IS’s Black Flag: Qari Hekmat’s ISKP island in Jawzjan after his death by drone

Obaid Ali

In April, Qari Hekmatullah, the self-proclaimed commander of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), was killed in a US airstrike. Under his command, a local affiliate of the Afghan-Pakistani Daesh affiliate, ISKP, had challenged both the government and the Taleban and established almost full control over two remote districts of Jawzjan province, Darzab and Qush […]

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Helmand Peace March Initiative protestors pray for peace in their tent at the Ghazi Ayub Khan Stadium. Photo: c/o Helmand Peace March Initiative, 2018.

Going Nationwide: The Helmand peace march initiative

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Protests in Helmand calling for a ceasefire and talks between insurgents and government are about to enter their second month. The pro-peace demonstrations which began in what are often described as the Taleban’s ‘southern heartlands’, have been spreading: they can now be found in half of Afghanistan’s provinces and for now, at least, they are […]

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Battle for Faryab: Fighting intensifies on one of Afghanistan’s major frontlines

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

An intense battle is under way near the city of Maimana, the capital of Faryab. In this northern province, the Taleban gained control over a majority of districts over 2017, including all of those close to the provincial capital, which is practically under siege. They also threaten the national ring road and important provincial roads. […]

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Precarious Consolidation: Qari Hekmat’s IS-affiliated ‘island’ survives another Taleban onslaught

Obaid Ali

Qari Hekmat, a self-proclaimed IS commander in control of parts of Jawzjan, has survived another Taleban attempt to oust him from the area in January 2018. Following this, he attempted – without success – to take a district centre in the province from government control. AAN’s Obaid Ali has compiled additional information about how he […]

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The Second meeting of Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation, held on 28 February 2018 in the Afghan capital, marked a change in peace rhetoric. Credit: Tolo

Who shall cease the fire first? Afghanistan’s peace offer to the Taleban

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The second meeting of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation that was held in the Afghan capital on 28 February 2018 marked a change in the peace rhetoric. The Afghan government presented some very concrete proposals for peace talks with the Taleban. It came with a few conditions (not called as such) – mainly […]

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The cover of the 2017 UNAMA report showing a victim of the 25 August, ISKP-claimed attack on the Shia Imam Zaman Mosque in Kabul city. A suicide bomber and four gunmen killed 35 civilians and injured 65 others during Friday prayers. Photo: (C) Omar Sobhani, Reuters

Nine Per Cent Reduction in Civilian Casualties in 2017: Better news (but still bad)

Kate Clark

For the first time since 2012, UNAMA has recorded a year-on-year decrease – of nine per cent – in civilian casualties sustained during the Afghan conflict. This relatively good news still meant that more than ten thousand civilians were killed and injured during 2017. There are glimmers of hope in UNAMA’s report; the Afghan National […]

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After the deadly truck bomb that hit Kabul on 31 May 2017. Photo: Andrew Quilty

Five Questions to Make Sense of the New Peak in Urban Attacks and a Violent Week in Kabul

Thomas Ruttig

Between 20 and 29 January 2018, there were five high profile attacks in major cities and districts in Afghanistan. The three by far largest ones happened in the capital Kabul. This feeds into a month-long period of such attacks that began in late December 2017. Altogether, almost 250 people, most of them civilians, were killed […]

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civilian casualties have reached an all-time high, plateauing in 2016 and 2017. children and women represented two thirds of casualties by air strikes in the first nine months of 2017: injured boy in helmand province. photo: andrew quilty (2015)

More violent, more widespread: Trends in Afghan security in 2017

Thomas Ruttig

Continuing our look back at key developments in Afghanistan in 2017, after migration and peace talks, we come to security. Tracking trends in security has become more difficult, as more areas suffering conflict have become inaccessible and those fighting – both Afghan and international –less transparent. However, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has identified indicators to gauge […]

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Words, No Deeds: 2017, another lost year for peace (talks) in Afghanistan

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

Despite a new offer by the Afghan government through the High Peace Council, there was not much movement toward government-Taleban talks to end the war peacefully in the past year. Both sides continue to engage in general pro-peace rhetoric, while allowing little to happen in practice. Currently, they are bogged down in a dispute over […]

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A view on Qush Tepe district centre. Photo: Muhammad Tamkeen

Qari Hekmat’s Island: A Daesh enclave in Jawzjan?

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have failed either to re-enlist or to eliminate a dissident commander in Jawzjan who, as a result of internal Taleban conflicts over territorial control and taxation, has aligned himself with Daesh. A recent military offensive – in which fighters from several provinces were mobilised – remained unsuccessful in the second half of October. […]

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Damage to the Paktia police and army headquarters in Gardez after the first Taleban attack in June 2017. Photo: Tolo.

The ‘Humvee Bomb’ Series: The October wave of Taleban attacks in 2017 context

Thomas Ruttig

In October 2017, Afghans experienced another particularly violent period. A series of high-profile insurgent attacks took place almost simultaneously in Kabul and five provinces. Provincial and district centres were targeted, as well as ANSF installations and Sunni and Shia mosques. The overall number of people killed in these attacks is estimated to be over 200, […]

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The CIA, keen to ‘hunt' and kill Taleban, is reported to be about to start flying armed drones, such as MQ‐9 Reapers, for the first time in Afghanistan. Credit: US Air National Guard photo/Senior Airman Michael Quiboloy 2014.

CIA-proxy militias, CIA-drones in Afghanistan: “Hunt and kill” déjà vu

Kate Clark

Reporting from the United States has said that the CIA is expanding its operations in Afghanistan, running Afghan militias to “hunt and kill” Taleban and “poised” to start flying armed drones. The CIA has run Afghan militias in the past; they were notorious for human rights abuses and for not being subject to the state […]

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