Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

Before the Paris Conference: The state of Afghanistan’s climate and its adaption capability

Thomas Ruttig Ryskeldi Satke

Climate change is already having a severe impact on Afghans’ daily lives – but this challenge is often over-shadowed by what seem to be more-urgent problems: war and the economic crisis. Therefore, the reports submitted by the Afghan government for the Paris climate conference starting today, 30 November 2015 (and President Ashraf Ghani speaking in […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
At Europe's edge: exhausted refugees in a Serbian field. Photo: Refugee Aid Serbia.

An “Afghan Exodus” (1): Facts, figures, trends

Thomas Ruttig

The on-going “exodus” of Afghans – now the second largest group entering the EU – has contributed to the increasing refugee numbers across Europe. This, in turn, has led to heated debates and an increased political polarisation between pro- and anti-refugee movements and parties. As governments and citizens struggle to handle the influx of refugees, […]

Migration Read more
Svetlana Alexievich, during the 2015 Ryszard Kapuściński prize ceremony, Warsaw. Photo:

Literature Nobel Prize for Svetlana Alexievich, author of 1990 Afghanistan book Zinky Boys

Thomas Ruttig

Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Among her many breath-taking and deeply unsettling books is one about Afghanistan. Published in 1990, Zinky Boys is based on interviews with former Soviet soldiers and their relatives in her Belorussian home country in the second half of the 1980s, then still a Soviet republic. […]

Context and Culture Read more
A view of Musa Qala. Source: UK Forces blog (2010).

The Second Fall of Musa Qala: How the Taleban are expanding territorial control

Thomas Ruttig

While Afghanistan’s northern provinces – mainly Kunduz, Faryab and Sar-e Pul – have been in the media’s focus on this year’s Taleban offensive, fighting in their southern Afghan strongholds has geared up too. Within one month the Taleban were able to capture two district centres in Helmand, Musa Qala (still contested) and Nawzad. This combines […]

War and Peace Read more
The expedition after their arrival in Kabul, with Hentig (seated, 2nd from left) and Niedermayer (seated 3rd from l.). Photo from: Niedermayer's book, In der Glutsonne Irans.

Afghanistan in World War I (2): “England must lose India” – Afghanistan as a German bridgehead

Thomas Ruttig

100 years ago and a good year after the outbreak of World War I, a German political-military mission crossed the border into Afghanistan on the night of 19 to the 20 August 1915. Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer and Werner Otto von Hentig, a Bavarian military officer and a Prussian diplomat, both with Persian experience, led the […]

Context and Culture Read more

From Mullah Omar to Mansur: Change at the Taleban’s top leadership

Thomas Ruttig

After almost two days of silence, the Taleban have finally admitted that their supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahed, as they call him, has died. On 31 July 2015, they also announced the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansur, previously Omar’s deputy, as their new leader. Reportedly, this also includes the key title of amir […]

War and Peace Read more
The German expedition members also gave medical treatment to the local Nuristani population. Photo from: Herrlich, Land des Lichtes (1938).

The Hunt for the Holy Wheat Grail: A not so ‘botanical’ expedition in 1935

Thomas Ruttig

AAN has just reported about an area in Central Afghanistan, the Shah Foladi in the Koh-e Baba mountain range, that was recently declared a new conservation area for its botanical diversity. This reminded AAN’s co-director Thomas Ruttig of a first ‘botanical’ expedition – 80 years ago, in 1935 – to another isolated mountainous region of […]

Context and Culture Read more
President Ghani in China. Photo c/o Khaama Press.

Copper and Peace: Afghanistan’s China dilemma

Thomas Ruttig

Facing what is now more than a two year delay in the opening of the Ainak copper mine, the Afghan government has indicated that it is considering re-advertising the contract for the project which had been won by a consortium of Chinese state-own companies. This turnaround has the potential to grow into a major foreign […]

Regional Relations Read more
The (officially defunct) Taleban office in al-Khor, Qatar. Photo: ToloNews.

Pushing Open the Door to Peace? Pugwash organises next round of Taleban talks in Qatar

Thomas Ruttig

Preparations are on-going for what are labelled “non-official” talks between Afghans of “different parties.” Organised by the non-governmental academic network, the Pugwash Conference, this will be a follow up to a first round of such talks held in Qatar on 2 and 3 May 2015 which brought members of the two biggest insurgent organisations – […]

War and Peace Read more

A Half-Solution: Provincial Councils get oversight authority back – for the time being

Ehsan Qaane Thomas Ruttig

Instead of being resolved, the long power struggle between parliament and the Provincial Councils (PC) about how much and what kind of authority the councils would have has entered a new round in 2015 – with no end in sight. In 2014, under the previous president, a new law was designed to solve this issue. […]

Political Landscape Read more
Afghan trade union May Day demonstrators demand jobs. Photo: Pajhwok.

Two new external publications: The Afghan conflict, the Afghan civil society

Thomas Ruttig

1 – An anthology of articles about the Afghan conflict (in German): „The Great Unrest: Afghanistan and its neighbours” is the title of an anthology of articles (all in German) that has been published today by Edition Le Monde diplomatique in cooperation with Berlin daily Tageszeitung (taz). It includes articles that have been published in […]

External publications Read more