Afghanistan Analysts Network – English


Four next public events with AAN participation

Thomas Ruttig 4 min

There are four public events in the next two weeks with AAN participation, in Copenhagen (Denmark), Heidelberg and Berlin (both Germany), Basle (Switzerland).

Meeting of women activists in Khost, 2014. Photo: Pajhwok.Meeting of women activists in Khost, 2014. Photo: Pajhwok.


22 April 2015, 8pm at Heidelberg Theatre

Podium discussion (in German), “Peace?! Afghanistan after the ISAF mission“


• Thomas Ruttig, Co-Director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network;

• Ahmad Nasir Formuli from Kabul, puppeteer, director and actor, who had to flee the country after an attack during one of his shows in Kabul (at the French lycee, see here and here);

• Florian Kling, lieutenant and spokesman of the Darmstadt Signale, an association of pro-peace German soldiers;

• Matthias Kock, former intercultural advisor and GIZ specialists in Afghanistan, co-author of the script and advisor for the German Afghanistan movie “Zwischen Welten“ (In between worlds) that ran at this year’s Berlin Film Festival;

• Felix Meyer-Christian, artistical director of costa compagnie, author a play soon to be open at Heidelberg Theatre.

More information at the theatre’s website, here, and at that of costa compagnie, here



23 April 2015, 9.15am – 4.00pm, Copenhagen

Lessons-Learned-Seminar on Afghanistan organised by Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS)

KEYNOTE SPEECH: ‘AFGHANISTAN FROM 2001 TO 2015’. Barnett Rubin, CIC, will give the keynote speech.

The opening speech is meant to provide the contextual background for the seminar’s subsequent discussion of conceptual, operational and policy relevant aspects related to international actors’ attempts at applying a comprehensive approach to reconstruction and stabilisation in Afghanistan. The keynote speaker is invited to focus on aspects of change and continuity in Afghan state and society and to compare the current conditions on the ground in Afghanistan with the conditions that prevailed in 2001 prior to the international intervention: What has changed in the past 14 years? In what ways and to what extent has the international intervention been a success? In what ways and to what extent has it been a failure? Is Afghanistan today a better place to live than it was in 2001 and what are the prospects for the coming decade?


The purpose of the first panel is to provide a clarifying discussion of what we talk about, when we talk about civil-military coherence. Focusing on the conceptual understanding of civil-military coherence, this session will explore the ways in which notions of civil-military interactions have shifted and evolved over time in Afghanistan. As evident by the plethora of labels that are being used by the different international actors engaged in Afghanistan there is neither a common language, nor a shared definition of what civil-military coherence means in practice and how it should best be pursued, including whether it is best understood as a tactical measure or a strategic mechanism. This evidently makes it difficult to identify shared or common lessons learned, as different observers may take the same experiences to provide different lessons. Panellists are invited to reflect upon aspects of consensus and contestation and on how conceptual thinking on civil-military coherence has evolved over time in Afghanistan: Which ideas and notions of civil-military coherence have become parts of conventional knowledge and which ideas and notions remain controversial and contestable? In addition, the three panellists, Finn Stepputat (DIIS), Astri Suhrke (CMI), and Andrew Wilder (USIP) are each invited to focus on one of three main dimensions of coherence, respectively: i) Cross-government collaboration within one member of the international coalition, ii) Harmonization with other international actors, and iii) Alignment with local and national actors.


The second panel will bring together practitioners who have been actively engaged in international efforts in Afghanistan from different positions and at different stages. The purpose of the session is to provide a grounded understanding of how the dilemmas of civil-military coherence, coordination and collaboration have played out in practice in Afghanistan. Focusing on the everyday pursuit of civil-military coherence and by hearing anecdotal evidence from people who have taken active part in the international stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, the session will allow for a pragmatic discussion of some of the more principled questions to which the coherence agenda gives rise. This includes the balancing of short-term needs and long-term requirements, the politics of prioritizing different mandates and objectives, as well as the mitigation of clashes between different organizational and bureaucratic cultures. The panel includes Thomas Ruttig, Afghanistan Analysts Network, Franz-Michael Skjold Melbin, EUSR, Arne Vågen, Danish Red Cross and a military officer. The four panellists are invited to reflect –from their particular perspective—on these issues, focusing in particular on the main challenges and obstacles to coherence; what was done to address them; and what prevented/enabled a movement towards greater coherence?


The third session will attempt to look beyond Afghanistan and provide a forward-looking discussion of how experiences from Afghanistan are impacting the formulation of new policies and strategies for future interventions. The panel brings together policy makers from two of the leading actors in Afghanistan, NATO and the UK. Tom Rodwell from the UK Stabilization office will speak of the main lessons that the UK has learned in Afghanistan and how those experiences are informing and shaping the UK’s evolving concept of stabilization. From NATO SHAPE, Major General Gordon Davies Jr. will draw on his personal experiences from Afghanistan as he conveys how NATO sees the future of the ‘comprehensive approach’ and the use of land forces in possible out of area-operations. The panel further includes Mats Berdal, Kings College, who will focus on the limitations of coherence and learning and why it remains so difficult to translate civil-military lessons from the past into sound policies for the future.

More information and registration, via DIIS


25 April 2015, 1.00pm, Berlin

Afghanistan podium at daily taz’ “Gedöns Congress: What really counts”

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Theatersaal

“For hullabaloo into war”: The Afghan war after 9/11 was justified by the need for women’s liberation – was that wrong?


• Monika Hauser, gynaecologist and activist, founder of medica mondiale, awarded with the Alternative Nobel price;

• Saghar Chopan-Daud, political scientist

• Thomas Ruttig, Afghanistan Analysts Network

Moderator: Sven Hansen, taz Asia editor

Tickets here

The congress’ full programme here.


 3 May 2015, 11.00-12.00am, Basle

Guided tour throught the exhibition OPIUM at the Museum of Cultures (MKB)

With the exhibition’s curator Doris Buddenberg, member of the Advisory Board of the Afghanistan Analysts Network  and former UNODC country director in Kabul.

The exhibition is open from 20 March 2015 to 24 January 2016

More information here.


Basle Berlin Copenhagen DIIS Heidelberg ISAF opium War