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.

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

UNAMA Documents Slight Decrease in Civilian Casualties: Indications of new trends in the Afghan war

Kate Clark

There has been a six per cent decrease in the number of civilians killed and wounded in the conflict this year compared to the first nine months of 2016 – a year which saw record highs in civilian harm. The latest UNAMA report on civilian casualties provides, as always, sobering statistics of how Afghan civilians are being […]

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ANASOC National Mission Brigade inauguration at 31 July 2017. Photo: Franz J. Marty.

Expanding Afghanistan’s Special Operations Forces: Doubling their success or further diluting their mission?

Franz J Marty

One of the key elements of the Afghan government’s Road Map for pushing back the insurgency is increasing the fighting capabilities of Afghan government forces. This includes the expansion of the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) praised special operations forces. However, this expansion is spurring already existing tendencies that are turning these units into shock troops, […]

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Bracing for Attacks on Ashura: Extra security measures for Shia mourners

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

The Afghan government is arming local civilians and strengthening the police presence across the country to try to protect Shia Muslim places of worship in the run-up to Ashura. The commemoration will take place this Sunday (1 October 2017). With these last-minute measures, the government is reacting to demands from the community and criticism that […]

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The New Kabul ‘Green Belt’ Security Plan: More Security for Whom?

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

Following the devastating 31 May 2017 bomb attack in the Afghan capital, President Ashraf Ghani commissioned his security experts to develop a new security plan for Kabul. Although apparently not officially approved or fully funded yet, the plan called the ‘Zarghun Belt’ (Green Belt) was announced in mid-August. Jelena Bjelica and Kate Clark (with input […]

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Haji Zaher Qader on the battlements. Credit: Zaher's Facebook Page, posted 12 February 2016

More Militias? Part 2: The proposed Afghan Territorial Army in the fight against ISKP

Kate Clark Borhan Osman

In recent days, Afghan government officials have raised the possibility of standing up a new militia force, the Afghan Territorial Army (ATA), modelled after both its Indian namesake and the Afghan Local Police (ALP). AAN understands that President Ghani is currently considering a pilot project for the ATA in the Achin and Kot districts of […]

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ALP and ANP prepare ammunition for a live fire training exercise in Helmand province, 2013 (US Marine photo Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

More Militias? Part 1: Déjà vu double plus with the proposed ‘Afghan Territorial Army’

Kate Clark

The Afghan government and its United States military backers are considering standing up a new militia force, an army version of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and modelled on the Indian Territorial Army. Officials claim this is their only option if isolated communities are to be protected from insurgents. Human rights groups have reacted with […]

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Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (4): A case study from Jawzjan

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have put in place administrative and military institutions in northern Jawzjan province that function relatively well. The shadow administrative posts are held by local non-Pashtuns. The recruitment of Uzbeks, in particular, has proved effective for the Taleban. However, Daesh’s appearance in this Uzbek-dominated province has created concerns, not only for the local government, […]

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The Assault in Sayad: Did Taleban and Daesh really collaborate?

Obaid Ali

Armed militants have overrun Afghan Local Police (ALP) and a public uprising unit’s posts in the Mirza Olang village of Sayad district in Sar-e Pul province on 6 August 2017. Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed. There is another dimension, however, that created widespread international media reporting about the incident: claims by local officials that […]

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At the End of a Long Curve: The fall of Janikhel

Thomas Ruttig Fazl Rahman Muzhary

The temporary capture of Janikhel district centre by Taleban forces in late July 2017 stands out in the relatively static, mountainous and geographically and tribally fractured region of eastern Paktia and Khost. There, most district centres continue to be in government hands, while many areas outside of them are more or less under Taleban control. […]

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The Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (3): The Takhar case study

Obaid Ali

Despite some recent gains, the Taleban have struggled to establish a stronger foothold in the north-eastern province of Takhar. One of the reasons the movement they failed to do so have been growing tensions and power struggles among its Uzbek and Pashtun Taleban cadres. Strategically, this has left a geographical gap, preventing them from connecting […]

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A photo released by the ISKP from the Tora Bora Mountains.

Another ISKP leader “dead”: Where is the group headed after losing so many amirs?

Borhan Osman

The US military has announced that it has killed Abu Saeed, the amir of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), in an air strike in Kunar province earlier this month. Abu Saeed was a veteran fighter with a long militant career. His death – if confirmed – deals a considerable blow to the group, which is […]

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UNAMA Mid-Year Report 2017: Number of civilian casualties still at “record level”

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

The number of civilians in the war in Afghanistan remained on “record high levels” in the first six months of 2017, with Kabul remaining the most affected city in the country. These are the two main features that stand out in UNAMA’s just released mid-year report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It […]

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