Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Kate Clark

The End of the Affair? Taleban Suspend Talks

Kate Clark

The Taleban have announced that they are suspending talks with the Americans, only six weeks after the opening of their political office in Qatar. In a statement, they described the US approach as ‘shaky, erratic and vague’ and accused the Americans of breaching a memorandum of understanding which had been previously arrived at. This decision […]

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Freeing the ‘Guantanamo Five’ 2: Kafka in Cuba

Kate Clark

Five Taleban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, whose release is a key demand of the Taleban, prior to/as part of peace talks, have said they are willing to be transferred to Qatar. President Karzai had said they had to be handed over to his government, but after a high level visit by Afghan officials, both Taleban […]

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Releasing the Guantanamo Five? 1: Biographies of the Prisoners (amended)

Kate Clark

Releasing Taleban from Guantanamo Bay is on the agenda – in the context of finding a negotiated end to the conflict. Four senior and one junior Taleban official may be freed, or exchanged for the captured US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl. The idea has caused consternation among some in the US Congress, as well as consternation […]

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War Without Accountability: The CIA, Special Forces and plans for Afghanistan’s future

Kate Clark

That US Special Forces are likely to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 and for the long haul, has been discussed for some time. According to The Washington Post, which went to a talk by the former head of US Special Operations Forces (SOF) in Afghanistan, Admiral Bill McRaven, at the National Defence Industrial Association in […]

International Engagement Read more

Talks Have Not Stopped Killing of Afghan Civilians

Kate Clark

The number of Afghan civilians being killed in the war has risen yet again, according to UNAMA’s yearly assessment of civilian casualties for 2011. The eight per cent increase since 2010 (25 per cent increase since 2009) is largely due to the actions of ‘anti-government elements’, as the UN refers to the insurgents who are, […]

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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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