Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

A Black Week in Kabul: Terror and protests

Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

It has been an incredibly difficult week for Kabul. In four days, over a hundred people were killed and several hundreds injured – most of them in a massive terrorist attack in central Kabul on 31 May 2017. Two days later, as angry protests threatened to become violent, the police opened fire killing and injuring […]

War and Peace Read more
Anti-migration graffiti on the wall of the Ministry of Telecommunication in Kabul, Afghanistan. The caption on the left reads: "There is no rest in flight.” The caption on the right reads: "The real face of a smuggler” – whatever picture had been stencilled on the wall below looks to have been scrubbed out. (Photo: Fazal Muzhary, AAN 2017)

Voluntary and Forced Returns to Afghanistan in 2016/17: Trends, statistics and experiences

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

While hundreds of thousands of Afghans sought protection in Europe throughout 2015/16, an increasing number have been returning to Afghanistan, both voluntarily and involuntarily. The number of voluntary returnees from Europe picked up significantly throughout 2016, with additional returns in the first four months of 2017, reaching a total figure of over 8,000. By contrast, […]

Migration Read more

“Atta for President” Again? The struggle for the Afghan presidency and Jamiat’s leadership

Thomas Ruttig

This year’s Nawruz, the Persian New Year on 21 March 2017, also heralded the beginning of the positioning for Afghanistan’s next presidential election, although due only in two years’ time. Atta Muhammad Nur, the powerful governor of Balkh province, used the popular holiday to announce that he will run in 2019. He kept open, however, […]

Political Landscape Read more
Demonstration in Berlin against deportation of Afghan asylum seekers on February 11, 2017 Photo: Hadi Ahmady. (Newsgroup Afghanistan)

Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (3) – case study Germany

Thomas Ruttig

Germany led in Europe in almost all categories of incoming refugees and asylum applications in 2015 and 2016, both in absolute and relative figures. Roughly six out of ten migrants who came to Europe ended up in Germany. Afghans were strongly represented in all those categories. This prompted the German government to change its 2015 […]

Migration Read more

Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (2) – the north-south divide

Thomas Ruttig

The situation and number of Afghan migrants in Europe differed from country to country in 2016. The division lay, roughly, along the Alps. To the south, the number of incoming migrants, though still high, dropped but requests for asylum continued to rise in some countries. Living conditions, meanwhile, deteriorated sharply. To the north, much fewer […]

Migration Read more
Locked out from the EU – Afghan and Pakistanis migrants (with a few Bangladeshis and a Nigerian) standing in line for supplies in a Belgrade, Serbia squat. Photo: Martine van Bijlert (Nov 2016).

Afghan Exodus: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe (1) – the changing situation

Thomas Ruttig

In 2016, Afghans remained the second-largest group both of migrants seeking protection in Europe and of those formally applying for asylum. Meanwhile, numbers of arrivals – both in general and in terms of Afghans – have dropped significantly, compared with the peak in late 2015, as European countries have since made getting, staying and integrating […]

Migration Read more
HIG leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Photo: website of Shahadat daily.

Hekmatyar taken off UN sanctions list: Paving the way for his return – and Hezb-e Islami’s reunification?

Thomas Ruttig

The United Nations has lifted the sanctions against Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan. This was the next step in the implementation of the peace agreement signed by the Afghan government and Hezb in September 2016. It paves the way for the return of the former mujahedin leader, one of the […]

Political Landscape Read more

What Links Sarajevo to Kabul? Impressions from the western end of the Persianate world

Thomas Ruttig

Sarajevo and Kabul lie over 4,000 kilometres apart. One feature that connects the two cities, however, is that both were destroyed during civil wars in the last decade of the twentieth century. Earlier this year, when AAN’s co-director Thomas Ruttig visited Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia during a vacation, he came across […]

Context and Culture Read more
A group of people seated around the table, headed by president Ghani.

Parliament Kicks Out Ministers Again: A multi-dimensional power struggle

Thomas Ruttig

The Afghan parliament’s lower house has sacked seven ministers in a new wave of interpellations (estizah). It is not clear who instigated the estizah motions, MPs themselves or Palace intrigue, or who will come out as the winner (the president has told the ministers to stay in their posts and called on the Supreme Court […]

Political Landscape Read more
The NUG, brought to light by 'midwife' John Kerry in 2014, will be part of Obama's Afghan legacy for President Donald Trump. Photo c/o US Embassy Kabul

“People That Hate Us”: What can Afghans expect from President Trump?

Kate Clark Thomas Ruttig

If Hillary Clinton had won Tuesday’s race for the White House, the world would now have a good sense of who her top officials would be and what her foreign policy would look like. With a Secretary of State-turned-president, Afghanistan could have expected business to carry on pretty much as normal. With Donald Trump coming […]

International Engagement Read more
Reburial of Habibullah II (Kalakani) on Shahr Ara Hill. Photo: Pajhwok.

Who Was King Habibullah II? A query from the literature

Thomas Ruttig

The recent reburial of King Habibullah II – aka Habibullah Kalakani aka derogatively Bacha-ye Saqao (The Water Carrier’s Son) – that stirred up controversy and violence was another reflection of Afghanistan’s increasingly ethnicised politics. Competing narratives about historical events and the legacy of historical figures reflect deeper, underlying societal and political cleavages, both between ethnic […]

Context and Culture Read more
Sign of the Olympic rings at the sports ground near the Kabul National Stadium (Photo Source: Tolonews August 2016)

Two Sides of the Medal: Afghanistan at Olympia in Rio – and infighting at home

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s Olympics team has marched, along with those of 206 countries and territories and an additional refuges team, into the Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games (5-21 August 2016). Sprinter Kamia Yusufi carried the Afghan flag, but, in reality, this was the smallest Afghan team since the country […]

Context and Culture Read more