Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Martine van Bijlert

The Focus of the Taleban’s New Government: Internal cohesion, external dominance

Martine van Bijlert

As the twentieth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks that brought the US to Afghanistan to topple the Taleban’s emirate came round, it was the Taleban who were back in power. This week, they announced their new interim administration. It is all-male, almost all-Pashtun, almost all clerical and all-Taleban. Set alongside their sustained military campaign in […]

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The Moment in Between: After the Americans, before the new regime

Martine van Bijlert

Monday night, Centcom Commander General Kenneth McKenzie announced the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan as complete, while the Taleban declared the country once again a “free and sovereign nation.” After the last American soldier left Afghan soil, Taleban forces giddily moved into the last part of Kabul airport that had still been in […]

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The Taleban leadership converges on Kabul as remnants of the republic reposition themselves

Martine van Bijlert

The various Taleban leaders have started converging on Kabul. The ever-elusive but eminently reachable, Taleban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed showed his face for the first time in a press conference at Kabul’s media centre. What he said matched earlier messaging by the Taleban, as he sought to assure both the Afghans and the international community of […]

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Afghanistan Has a New Government: The country wonders what the new normal will look like

Martine van Bijlert

Afghanistan has a new government. Its exact shape is not yet clear, but its contours can be discerned from a combination of messaging, how the Taleban entered and then took control of Kabul and reports from areas that had come under their control over the last few weeks, months and years. So far, the public […]

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Is This How It Ends? With the Taleban closing in on Kabul, President Ghani faces tough decisions

Martine van Bijlert

Things have been moving at breakneck speed since the first provincial capital – Zaranj in Nimruz – fell to the Taleban on 6 August. Six of the seven zonal army corps have either surrendered or dissolved, with only the Shaheen Corps in Jalalabad left, which has not been attacked yet. Over 20 provincial capitals are […]

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New special report: ‘Between Hope and Fear. Rural Afghan women talk about peace and war’

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

As the United States pushes ahead with the rapid and unconditional withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, an unrelenting Taleban offensive has driven the Afghan government out of scores of districts across the country. Many Afghans are seeing their fears about the fallout from the ill-considered US-driven peace process come true. Against this backdrop, AAN’s […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (10): What to watch out for on election day

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

Past Afghan elections have frequently been bewildering and surreal, even for those following the politics of the country for a long time. With this in mind, and taking into account the recent measures adopted to try to stave off a repeat of the chaos, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, Martine van Bijlert, Ali Yawar Adili and Jelena […]

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US-Taleban talks: An imminent agreement without peace?

Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

News coming out of the latest round of US-Taleban negotiations suggest that an agreement is imminent, but that in the desire to meet the White House’s 1 September 2019 deadline, the US have made concessions that may well complicate an actual peace agreement in Afghanistan. It appears that the US have dropped the “nothing is […]

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What Other Peace Processes Can Teach Afghanistan (1): Colombia’s agreement with FARC

Martine van Bijlert

With the renewed focus on possible peace talks in Afghanistan, it is useful to look at what can be learned from processes in other countries. Although they cannot be treated as models, they can serve as examples of what is possible and provide inspiration, ideas and a shared language. In the first dispatch of a […]

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Taleban Attacks on Khas Uruzgan, Jaghori and Malestan (II): A new and violent push into Hazara areas

Ali Yawar Adili Martine van Bijlert

The Taleban attacks on Hazara areas in Uruzgan and Ghazni were unprecedented in their reach and led to massive displacement. The attacks indicated a clear shift in the Taleban’s behaviour towards the Hazara areas, stimulating various hypotheses about their motives. In this second part of a series of two dispatches, AAN’s Ali Yawar Adili and […]

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Taleban Attacks on Khas Uruzgan, Jaghori and Malestan (I): A new and violent push into Hazara areas

Ali Yawar Adili Martine van Bijlert

In late October 2018, the Taleban pushed deeper into Hazara areas than they had ever done before. They first pursued Hakim Shujai, a notorious former Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander, into Malestan, then launched an assault on the district of Jaghori and thereafter attacked Malestan’s district centre, almost resulting in its collapse. The attacks were […]

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Before Election Day Three: Looking at Kandahar’s upcoming vote

Martine van Bijlert

Tomorrow, on 27 October 2018, Kandahar will vote in the country’s parliamentary election – a week later than the rest of the country. The delay comes after the assassination of, among others, the province’s police chief and strongman Abdul Razeq on 18 October 2018. The IEC has tried to remedy the problems that plagued the […]

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