Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Kate Clark

The Emperor’s New Clothes: The leaked NATO report on the Taleban

Kate Clark

The BBC and The Times have obtained a classified NATO assessment of the Taleban. The leaked report, which has made headline news, has informed us that NATO thinks Pakistan is supporting the Taleban, that the Taleban are defiant and enjoy widespread support, that Afghans frequently prefer them to their corrupt government and that Afghan government […]

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Talking and Killing in Early 2012

Kate Clark

A series of suicide attacks have left dozens of people killed and injured in the last few days in southern Afghanistan. There was inevitable carnage among civilians when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowded bazaar in Helmand on Wednesday (18 January) and at the entrance to the NATO base in Kandahar on Thursday. […]

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Bargaining over US bases: Will they stay or will they go?

Kate Clark

US intentions – what it wants or plans or thinks it might possibly do in Afghanistan after 2014 – are again in the news. Will Washington want bases? Will US soldiers ‘just’ be training Afghan troops or participate in fighting? And how many soldiers might remain in Afghanistan? On the Afghan side, both President Karzai […]

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Ashura Attacks 2: Flash from the Past, Ashura 2002 (amended)

Kate Clark

The bombs which ripped through Ashura processions in Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif and likely targeted – futilely – a ceremony in Kandahar killed dozens, raising the spectre of sectarianism in Afghanistan. Every year since 2001, says Kate Clark, the Ashura ceremonies have become larger and more public as the Afghanistan’s Shi’a communities have grown in […]

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Ashura Attacks (1): Playing with Fire

Kate Clark

Attacks have targeted Shi’as in two of Afghanistan’s major cities as they gathered for Ashura, to lament the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and members of his family in Iraq in 680 AD. The attack in Kabul was particularly serious and left dozens dead. Such violence is a new phenomenon, says Kate Clark, deeply troubling and […]

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2001 Ten Years on (3): The fall of Loya Paktia and why the US preferred warlords

Kate Clark

In Loya Paktia the people, rather than commanders, overthrew the Taleban in 2001 – one of the very few places where this happened. Tribal councils took power, driving out al-Qaida fighters and doing all of it peacefully. Khost and then Paktia provinces fell to tribal coalitions on 14 November 2001, just one day after the […]

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Traditional Loya Jirga 3: lacklustre political theatre (amended)

Kate Clark

The Traditional Loya Jirga (TLJ) is over, after a drab last day in which President Karzai got his public backing for signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with the United States. However, it was clear to all watching the proceedings on television that the discussion had hardly been lively and the results tightly controlled. The […]

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Traditional Loya Jirga 2: Not Sellers of the nation – but lions! (amended)

Kate Clark

President Hamed Karzai flew in by helicopter the few kilometres from his palace to the site of the ‘Traditional Loya Jirga’. He said later in his speech that he had been impressed to see just how much Kabul had grown and developed. He arrived to give the opening speech of the jirga to the two […]

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Traditional Loya Jirga 1: Why the Jirga?

Kate Clark

More than two thousand delegates have gathered in Kabul for the ‘Traditional Loya Jirga’. Business in the Afghan capital has stopped, the major east-west arteries have been blocked, check points set up all over and at least some of those living near the site itself are in lock-down. The jirga is to discuss two items: […]

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2001 Ten Years On (1): How the Taleban fled Kabul (amended)

Kate Clark

It is ten years since Taleban-controlled Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance after just five weeks of US bombing. AAN’s Kate Clark, then the BBC correspondent, had been expelled from Kabul in March 2001 over reporting on the Taleban’s destruction of the Buddha statues in Bamyan and had spent eight months based in Islamabad. She […]

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Two Eid messages from the Warring Leaders

Kate Clark

Both General Allen, overall ISAF commander, and Mulla Omar, supreme Taleban leader, have issued messages of felicitations to Afghans for Eid ul-Adha. They make interesting reading. Allen, in a message which rivals Omar’s in terms of Islamic references, appeals to the Taleban to stop fighting and urges the Afghan people to continue standing ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with […]

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War of the Narratives: Words, Stories…and Killing

Kate Clark

It has been a bad week for the international military, but – according to the Pentagon – it has also been a good six months. On 28 October 2011, ISAF suffered its worst attack in Kabul ever, with 13 people* killed in a suicide attack, along with four Afghan civilians, 2 of whom were children. […]

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