Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Obaid Ali

Former Taleban shadow governor of Faryab, Qari Salahuddin Ayubi, (barefaced with black turban, sitting in the centre) used to be famous for mobilising fighters with fiery speeches in Uzbek. He was arrested by the NDS in September 2015. He was replaced by Mufti Muzafar. (photo: Taleban media)

Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (2): Case studies of Uzbek Taleban in Faryab and Sar-e Pul

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have spent many years ‘localising’ their fight in the north, recruiting local fighters and commanders and keying in to Afghan Uzbek madrassa networks in Pakistan and the north. That drive has paid off; in the Uzbek-majority provinces of Faryab and Sar-e Pul, the Taleban have gained significant ground against the government. In this […]

War and Peace Read more
Badakhshan – from anti-Taleban bulwark to contested province. Photo: Mirco Kreibich (2005).

The Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (1): A case study from Badakhshan

Obaid Ali

The Taleban movement is winning ground in the northern province of Badakhshan, a province that was never conquered when the Taleban were in power in the 1990s. Over the past two years, a new generation of largely Tajik Taleban has come to pose a serious challenge for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) : a […]

War and Peace Read more

The Taleban Assault on Kunduz city: Déjà vu, but why?

Obaid Ali

A little over a year after the temporary fall of Kunduz city to the Taleban, the city has become a battleground again. On 3 October 2016, the Taleban entered during a massive assault from three directions. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), supported by US forces and air power, are battling to recapture the areas they […]

War and Peace Read more
Surkh Kotal, here seen from afar, came under Taleban control in mid-May 2016 and was only recaptured after ANSF operations a month later. (Photo Source: Heritage Institute)

Taleban in the North: Gaining ground along the Ring Road in Baghlan

Obaid Ali

The Taleban have made significant inroads in a number of strategic areas in the northern province of Baghlan over the past two years. They now pose a greater threat than ever to the Baghlan-Balkh highway, part of the Ring Road which here links Kabul to the north. The Taleban know that by blocking highways, they […]

War and Peace Read more
Afghan Islamic State supporters posted this photo: a small group of Daesh-affiliated fighters raising the IS flag inside a mosque in Afghanistan's northeast, they said. Photo: unknown IS supporter on social media.

The 2016 Insurgency in the North: Raising the Daesh flag (although not for long)

Obaid Ali

The flag of the Islamic State (IS, or Daesh) has been flown twice in the last year in Takhar and Baghlan provinces by a group of ethnic Uzbek Afghans who had set up their own insurgent group, Jundullah, in 2009. It had enjoyed an uneasy alliance with the Taleban, but tried to use the turmoil […]

War and Peace Read more

AAN’s Obaid Ali on the security in Kunduz – February, 2016

Obaid Ali

AAN’s assistant country director Obaid Ali discusses security in Kunduz and insurgency in the north.  

Podcasts Read more

The 2016 Insurgency in the North: Beyond Kunduz city – lessons (not taken) from the Taleban takeover

Obaid Ali

In the last two months of 2015, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) conducted a significant counteroffensive to remove the Taleban from areas just outside Kunduz city as well as from a number of its outlying district centres. Since recapturing the city on 13 October 2015, efforts have barely had an impact, especially in the districts. Yet, […]

War and Peace Read more
Kuduz after the fighting on September 28, 2015. Photo Credit: @ehsan_af (Twitter)

The 2015 Insurgency in the North (3): The fall and recapture of Kunduz

Obaid Ali

It took 15 days of fierce fighting for Afghan government forces and their US allies to push the Taleban back out of Kunduz city. Clashes continue in the surrounding districts. The Taleban onslaught on 28 September should not have come as a surprise, given how much territory in the province the group was already controlling. […]

War and Peace Read more
Badakhshan – from anti-Taleban bulwark to contested province. Photo: Mirco Kreibich (2005).

The 2015 Insurgency in the North (2): Badakhshan’s Jurm district under siege

Obaid Ali

The foreign fighter communities are growing, their recruitment is speeding up and the national security forces deployed to fight them are regularly beaten back – or they give up their bases before, as some claim, “a single bullet has been shot.” Badakhshan, once a province almost free of insurgency, has become contested. AAN’s Obaid Ali […]

War and Peace Read more

The 2015 Insurgency in the North: Case studies from Kunduz and Sar-e Pul provinces

Obaid Ali

Kunduz and Sar-e Pul have both been staging grounds for the Taleban’s first major onslaughts of the ‘spring offensive’ that they launched in late April – the first under massive public scrutiny, the second a lesser-known example of the same dynamics. In both provinces, the insurgents managed to get close to the provincial centres, at […]

War and Peace Read more
Members of the anti-Taleban uprising in Alasai - photo by Obaid Ali

Fire in the Pashai Hills: A two-district case study from Kapisa

Obaid Ali

The Taleban are making further headway towards Kabul. In Kapisa province, 80 kilometers northeast of the capital, they have already established an administrative system governing one of the districts, Alasai. An uprising staged against them last summer by local Jamiati commanders failed,  largely due to lack of support from government forces. At the same time, […]

War and Peace Read more

Battleground Kankur: Afghan students’ difficult way into higher education

Obaid Ali

For some hundred thousand Afghan high school graduates, the university entry tests, known as kankur, have started. The first to sit the exam, from December onwards, were students in more-remote provinces, for example Badghis, Bamyan, Daikundi, Nuristan, Wardak, Logar and Sar-e Pul. Pictures of rows of students sitting on city squares  or mosques taking the […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more