Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Kate Clark

Afghanistan is (still) not Iraq

Kate Clark

One of the monsters thought to be slain has raised one of its ugly heads again: the ‘let’s replicate our Iraq success in Afghanistan’ discussion, seasoned with ‘yes we know Afghanistan is not Iraq but…’ attachments. See the surge that supposedly has brought a decrease of violence in Baghdad and elsewhere and has been replicated […]

International Engagement Read more

Kabul Conference (2): How to spend three quarters of a billion dollars

Kate Clark

AAN has seen and studied the – not yet public – Afghan government’s plan to reintegrate Taleban who lay down their arms. We also took a look at an earlier draft (see an earlier blog) and have been following the process since well before the London conference. Now comes the moment, at the Kabul Conference, […]

Political Landscape Read more

New NDS boss – who is he?

Kate Clark

The appointment of a new head of NDS (National Directorate of Security) has come with a lot less fanfare than the departure of the old one, Amrullah Saleh, who resigned after deep disagreements with the president over policy towards the Taleban. The acting director, Engineer Ibrahim Spinzada, has returned to the shadows and his day […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

UK court rules on detainee transfers and the risk of torture

Kate Clark

Judges at the Royal Courts of Justice in London have given a ‘mixed ruling’ on a bid to stop UK forces transferring detainees to the Afghan intelligence directorate, the NDS. They found that there was risk of torture – which should make transfers illegal – but ruled that they could continue to be transferred to […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

How to become a minister: bribe the parliament (UPDATED)

Kate Clark

(With the results of Monday’s vote on seven ministries) Five more men have become ministers after gaining a majority of votes from the Afghan parliament. Two others failed to gain MPs’ approval. As with the earlier votes, both in January, allegations are circulating that some MPs’ votes were bought. While AAN is not accusing any […]

Political Landscape Read more

Flash from the Past: Football under the Taleban (1)

Kate Clark

he World Cup 2010 in South Africa is in its first round of the knock-out stage. It has seen favourite teams crashing and others shining. Afghanistan did not qualify. It lost both first round Asia qualification matches against Syria 1:5 on aggregate. Afghanistan’s only scorer was Obaidullah Karimi who plays for Hamm United FC in […]

Context and Culture Read more

“Hundreds of Taleban released last year”

Kate Clark

A senior Taleban commander quietly pardoned by President Hamed Karzai last year, Akbar Agha, has given his first interview since being released from Pul-e Charkhi jail. He told AAN’s Senior Analyst, Kate Clark, that he was one of “hundreds of Taleban prisoners” across the country who were released by the president to mark Eid al-Fitr […]

War and Peace Read more

Reviewing prisoners after the peace jirga

Kate Clark

AAN has learned that a new committee to review security prisoners – as called for by the peace jirga and decreed by the president on 5 June – has been set up and has held its first meetings. Member and spokesperson for the committee, Professor Nasrullah Stanekzai, told AAN the committee was currently getting lists […]

War and Peace Read more

Freeing the Prisoners Blog 2: Protecting the Innocent?

Kate Clark

An unknown number of Afghans are being held in custody suspected of being Taleban or convicted of insurgency-related crimes. Complaints about wrongful arrest, detention without trial, torture and a justice system where influence and money count for more than guilt or innocence are rife – and, of course, not limited to security prisoners. President Karzai’s […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Freeing the Prisoners Blog 1: Letting the Guilty Go Free?

Kate Clark

When the Afghan intelligence boss, Amrullah Saleh, said he could not, in all conscience, carry on in his post if it entailed “negotiating with suicide bombers” he became the first person to take a principled, stand against the way Afghan policy on the Taleban is developing. Saleh is particularly opposed to freeing Taleban prisoners. Yet […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

More on the resignation of Atmar and Saleh – and who might replace them

Kate Clark

The repercussions of the sacking/resignation of two of the president’s three top security officials on Sunday are still sinking in, along with the President’s decree that the status of Taleban prisoners must be reviewed. These major changes on security follow his proclaimed success in demonstrating ‘national unity’ at the peace jirga. Despite the tent being […]

Political Landscape Read more

PEACE JIRGA BLOG 8: The Afghan jungle’s big beasts and ‘lively debate’

Kate Clark

The peace jirga has left the older generation of factional leaders nicely split: a few (Sayyaf, Rabbani, Mujadddidi) have been honoured by the president and treated like long-lost brothers by the world’s diplomats; others (Dostum, Mohaqiq, Abdullah) are sitting, Achilles-like, sulking in their tents; while just a couple from the 80s generation of mujahideen stalwarts […]

War and Peace Read more