Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

The case of Mawlawi Mehdi and Balkhab District: Are the Taleban attracting Hazaras?

Thomas Ruttig

Recently, a story appeared in the media reporting that the Taleban have appointed a Shia Hazara as a shadow district governor in Sar-e Pul province. This ethno-religious group is barely represented in the insurgent movement, and stands in the way of the Taleban’s attempt to present itself as nation-wide. Mehdi, however, is not physically present […]

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Flash from the Past: The 1950 Kabul Students Union and its impact on the post-WWII opposition movement

Thomas Ruttig

70 years ago, on 4 April 1950, the first students’ organisation in Afghanistan’s history was launched. The Students Union of Kabul University started as an attempt by factions in the government to gain control over a small, but enthusiastic group of activists and instrumentalise it for their own interests. This attempt backfired, and the Union […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (1): No large outbreak yet in the country

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan has so far been moderately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer than 100 people testing positive and four confirmed fatalities. There are strong indications that these cases may have been seeded by the outbreak in neighbouring Iran, via Afghans who returned from that country. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has compiled an overview of what […]

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From Doha to Peace? Obstacles rising in the way of intra-Afghan talks

Thomas Ruttig

Two key documents to get an Afghan peace process started have been signed: the Doha “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” and a simultaneous bilateral United States-Afghan declaration. The two documents together are supposed to open the door for intra-Afghan peace talks, ie between the Taleban and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 10 March. […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Elections (30): Final results… and parallel governments?

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s 28 September 2019 presidential election has finally meandered to what may be its end after almost five months, with the Independent Election Commission (IEC) declaring incumbent Ashraf Ghani the first-round winner. However, the result is too narrow and disputed, and the manner of dealing with complaints not transparent enough to quash doubts in his […]

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First Breakthrough Toward Peace? A look at the seven-day ‘reduction of violence’

Thomas Ruttig

The United States and the Taleban have agreed to reduce violence for seven days, an agreement which would also apply to the Afghan government forces. While not a full ceasefire, it would be a ‘test’ of the seriousness of the parties before the signing of a bilateral deal agreeing the withdrawal of US troops, Taleban […]

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Still Ifs and Whens: The US and the Taleban inch toward a bilateral agreement

Thomas Ruttig

There have been increasing indications over the past few days that the United States and the Taleban are edging toward an agreement – or possibly two. While a declaration of a mutual ‘reduction of violence’ seems imminent, a bilateral US-Taleban agreement opening the way to peace negotiations between the Afghan parties to the conflict appears […]

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US-Taleban Agreement Still in the Air: Disputes about a ‘ceasefire’ versus ‘reduction of violence’

Thomas Ruttig

Over the past few weeks, the Taleban first stoked expectations that an agreement with the United States was imminent, and then expressed frustration that it was not yet signed. They had appeared to be trying to edge forward to an agreement by offering to “scale down military operations” against both US and Afghan troops – […]

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AAN Obituary: Unfaltering women’s rights activist Soraya Parlika (1944-2019)

Thomas Ruttig

Soraya Parlika, political and women’s rights activist, has died at the age of 75. She had, said Sahraa Karimi, Chair of the Afghan Film Organisation, who made a documentary about Parlika, “dedicated her life to the life of women of Afghanistan and never left her motherland even during the hard years of civil war and […]

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AAN Reads: An Afghanistan history covering 750 years

Thomas Ruttig

Eminent Afghanistan specialists and historians have praised Jonathan L Lee’s 2018 Afghanistan: a history from 1260 to the present as “detailed research of the highest quality” and even the new go-to “encyclopaedia” on this subject. It is indeed encyclopaedic, pulling interesting episodes out of the dark of Afghan history, but still, it is partly disappointing, […]

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A Turning Point in World History: 40 years ago, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan 40 years ago today, on 25 December 1979. Two days later, on 27 December, they toppled and killed Amin’s Khalqi’s government which had called for the troops and had assumed they had come for their rescue. The resulting occupation that would last for more than ten years became the last direct […]

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BVV devices that have arrived in IEC’s Warehouse 3 in Kabul. They will be checked and then sent to IEC headquarters for their data to be transferred to the IEC server. Photo: Ali Yawar Adili, 3 October 2019

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (21): BVV devices and a delay in announcing preliminary results

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has completed the transfer of data from the biometric devices to its central server. Those 1,932,673 votes now need to be gone through using a verification process to weed out duplicate, underage and ‘photo-proxy’ votes. Only then, will the IEC know the final number of biometrically-validated votes. It has also, […]

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