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 Killing of Razeq: Removing the Taleban’s strongest foe in Kandahar, an indirect hit at elections

Thomas Ruttig

An attack in Kandahar city has left the province’s governor, NDS chief and police commander, the unrivalled strongman of southern Afghanistan, General Abdul Razeq, dead. The commander of United States and NATO forces, General Scott Austin Miller who had just been meeting the three, was unharmed. The attack mimics earlier assassinations of officials and strongmen. […]

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Before Ashura: Extra security measures in place for second year running

Kate Clark

This year, the ten-day commemoration of Muharram by Afghanistan’s Shia Muslims follows a wave of bloody attacks directed against them, most claimed by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). In 2017, the government armed and paid guards at some mosques and other religious buildings in an attempt to thwart attacks. Those guards have stayed […]

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Footage from the Islamic Jihad Union's al-Sodiqlar social media channel.

New Confusion About ISKP: A case study from Sar-e Pul

Obaid Ali

After the defeat of a self-proclaimed ISKP group in Jawzjan in July 2018, focus has shifted to neighbouring Sar-e Pul. Russian media in particular have alleged that there are more pro-ISKP groups active in this province. AAN’s Obaid Ali (with inputs from Thomas Ruttig) has looked into Sar-e Pul’s insurgency landscape and found no indication […]

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Hitting Gardez: A vicious attack on Paktia’s Shias

Fabrizio Foschini

Afghan Shia Muslims are feeling increasingly beleaguered after two massacres targeting their community this month. Both were claimed by the Afghan ‘franchise’ of Daesh, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). On 3 August, gunmen killed at least 38 men and boys during Friday prayers at a village mosque in the outskirts of Gardez city. […]

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Caption: Some of the self-proclaimed ISKP fighters outside the Darzab district centre mosque, still with guns/under armed guard. Photo: social media/2018

Qari Hekmat’s Island Overrun: Taleban defeat ‘ISKP’ in Jawzjan

Obaid Ali

 The Taleban have eliminated the self-proclaimed Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) group that had been holding an enclave of territory in the isolated districts of Qush Tepa and Darzab in Jawzjan province for the last three years. It was the only ISKP-aligned group with territorial control outside the east of Afghanistan. The group failed to […]

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Helmand peace marchers in front of the Russian embassy. Photo: People's Peace Movement/2018

“The Eid ceasefire helped our efforts well”: Helmand peace marchers keep up the pressure

Thomas Ruttig Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Although the Eid ceasefires have been and gone, they have rekindled hopes across Afghanistan that peace is possible. Helmand’s peace movement is keeping up the pressure. It has staged sit-ins in front of embassies in Kabul and sent letters to countries participating in or supporting the war effort. The movement has also reached other parts […]

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The Insecure Spring of Ghazni: Results of third-grade treatment by the centre?

Ehsan Qaane

Ghazni is one province where the Taleban have long-established significant influence. Actually, they dominate it militarily, with the exception of the provincial capital, all but one of the 18 district centres and some larger areas in three districts. Over the spring of 2018, the Taleban – although not capturing more territory –, have significantly expanded […]

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Enemy Number One: How the Taleban deal with the ALP and uprising groups

Borhan Osman Kate Clark

It is one of the few ‘truths’ of the Afghan insurgency that the Taleban hate arbaki– their term for locally-recruited defence forces, primarily the Afghan Local Police and uprising groups.These forces have always been a mixed bag, with some abusing the local population or captured by ethnic, factional or criminal interests. However, especially where they […]

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UNAMA Mid-Year Report on Civilian Casualties: Highest number of deaths on record

Kate Clark

UNAMA has released its mid-year assessment of the harm done to civilians in the Afghan conflict. It found that more civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018 than in any year since 2009 when UNAMA started systematic monitoring. This was despite the Eid ul-Fitr ceasefire, which all parties to the conflict apart […]

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Graft and Remilitarisation: A look back at efforts to disarm, demobilise, reconcile and reintegrate

Kate Clark

Even before the Eid truce suddenly made a peace process in Afghanistan imaginable, international civilian and military circles were wondering what they could do to support one. The government, the High Peace Council (HPC) and donors are also currently negotiating future funding for the HPC. It seems a good moment, says AAN’s Kate Clark, to […]

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Chai ne-khorda, solh ne-mesha. Photo: Thomas Ruttig

Understanding Hurdles to Afghan Peace Talks: Are the Taleban a political party?

Khalilullah Safi Thomas Ruttig

Following his February 2018 offer of peace talks to the Taleban, President Ashraf Ghani proposed that they run as a political party in the upcoming elections. In 2011, his predecessor, Hamed Karzai, had offered something different, that the government would support the Taleban’s recognition by the United Nations Security Council as a “party to the […]

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Interior Minister Wais Barmak stops on the road into Kabul to meet Taleban who have come into the capital during the Eid truce (Photo: taken by someone in the crowd and posted on social media)

The Eid Ceasefire: Allowing Afghans to imagine their country at peace

Kate Clark

Ceasefires by the government, the Taleban and the United States over the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr has partially ended with the Taleban ordering their fighters back to “normal operations.” However, the three-day truce resulted in an unprecedented peaceful movement of fighters and soldiers into territories controlled by the other. The media was full of […]

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