Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Kate Clark

Inspiration in Kabul: Nancy Dupree and the Opening of the Afghanistan Centre

Kate Clark

The Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) has been officially opened. A beautiful, airy building with a central green courtyard, it has space for both researchers and the Centre’s collection of 80,000 (and increasing) documents collected over the last three decades. The driving force behind the project is Nancy Hatch Dupree who said that ‘for […]

Context and Culture Read more

The ‘Bagram Duck’: Migrant bird killed north of Kabul and offered as game

Kate Clark

If you drive to the Bagram detention centre, you pass by a row of small shops selling birds. Live finches and other wild song birds hop about in cages which hang among dead game birds on hooks, ready for the pot. The well-watered lands of the Shomali Plain, home to waders, ducks and many other […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Other Guantanamo 5: A New MoU for Bagram and, Finally, a Handover?

Kate Clark

The Pentagon has announced and the Afghan presidential palace confirmed that the US military will hand over its detention facility at Bagram Airbase to the Afghan authorities tomorrow, 25 March 2013. The presidential spokesman, Aimal Faizy, told AAN the two governments have negotiated a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which, unlike the first MoU on […]

International Engagement Read more

Rancour between the Allies: Karzai speaks to the Americans

Kate Clark

If the Americans ‘surrender’ to Afghan demands, President Karzai has said, he will sign a bilateral security agreement with them. He told an Afghan audience on national TV that the US wanted bases in Afghanistan – a globally significant country – and, as the audience laughed and applauded, he said: ‘The USA has come and […]

International Engagement Read more

Sal-e Naw Mubarak! Neway kal-mu mubarak!

Kate Clark

AAN would like to wish all our beloved readers and contributors a peaceful and happy new year. The signs of spring are all about us here in Kabul – blossom on the almond trees, cats a-courting and sunshine, warm and pleasant, is mixed with thunder showers. The mud underfoot is drying to dust in the […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Other Guantanamo 4: The Final Handover of Bagram in Sight?

Kate Clark

The transfer of detainees held at Bagram airbase from US to Afghan hands is once again in full swing. Transfers had begun after the US and Afghan governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on transferring Bagram almost a year ago, but they were suspended by the US in late summer 2012, due to reluctance […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Torture, Illegal Armed Groups: Signs of Possible Afghan Government Action?

Kate Clark

Many were surprised by the eventual response of the Afghan government to the detailed allegations made by UNAMA in January concerning torture carried out by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Afghan National Police (ANP). The government’s initial denials that any problem existed were predictable enough, but were followed by President Karzai ordering […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Fewer Deaths, But…: UNAMA’s 2012 Civilian Casualties Report (amended)

Kate Clark

‘Civilian deaths in Afghan Conflict fall for the first time in six years’ was the good news top line of the new 2012 report by UNAMA on the protection of civilians. Fewer civilians were killed in suicide attacks, ground engagements and aerial attacks, said UNAMA. The Taleban remain responsible for bulk of civilian deaths, while […]

War and Peace Read more

Allen, Obama and Orwell: Continuing War is Victory

Kate Clark

President Obama in his State of the Union address announced what to many looks like an accelerated drawdown of US troops with half out of Afghanistan by this time next year. ‘We can say with confidence,’ Obama said, ‘that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of […]

War and Peace Read more

General Allen Leaves with an Improved Report Card on Civilian Casualties and Torture

Kate Clark

Today, 10 February 2012, the commander of ISAF and US forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, leaves after a year and a half in the job. ‘When I got here,’ he told The New York Times, ‘I measured success in how well and how often we were fighting. Today, it’s a very different environment. The […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Ambiguous about Torture: Zero Dark Thirty, the Movie

Kate Clark

Oscar-winning film director, Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Zero Dark Thirty tells the story of the search for and eventual killing of Osama Bin Laden. The film has proved controversial – praised by some for its cool realism, it has also been castigated for inaccuracies. Above all, though, it has been accused of justifying torture. AAN […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

UN Torture Report: still no accountability for torture

Kate Clark

UNAMA’s new report on the torture of ‘conflict related detainees’ makes bleak reading and not only because of the scale and weight of evidence against Afghan intelligence and the police. UNAMA reported that more than half of those interviewed had experienced torture or ill-treatment. They included children as young as 14. The UN also says […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more