Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Recommended Reads

Recommended Reading – March 2013

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Afghans Failing Security Test In Badakhshan
RFE/RL, 28 March 2013
After NATO handed over security duties in Badakhshan to the ANA and ANP last year, ‘a spike in violence and increased militant activity’ has been registered. The two Afghan authors write that ‘the region is an ideal testing ground of Afghanistan’s ability to secure remote areas on its own.’

The Afghan ‘green-on-blue’ attacker seen as a hero
BBC, 28 March 2013
An Afghan border policeman who killed two US soldiers in a so-called ‘green-on-blue’ attack in 2011 in Faryab has been venerated after his death by many in his community. His grave has turned into a pilgrimage site.

Afghan Villagers Flee Their Homes, Blame US Drones
AP, 28 March 2013
Kathy Gannon reports that US drone strikes against two village in Nangrahar province has led to some of the population fleeing the area. This is the result of ‘the U.S. military is increasingly relying on drone strikes inside Afghanistan’.

Afghan Security Officials Fear ANSF Will Struggle in 2014
Tolo News, 26 March 2013
‘Afghan Interior Minister Ghulam Mujtaba Patang on Tuesday warned that Afghanistan should expect serious challenges in 2014 if the security forces needs are not addressed. Speaking before parliament, Patang voiced his concerns about the inadequate air force and border police and their capacity to takeover from the 100,330 foreign soldiers expected to withdraw in the next 20 months.’

In Afghan Child Abuse Cases, Victims Go to Jail
IWPR, 26 March 2013
Another hard-hitting report by Mina Habib: ‘As in other societies, sexual abuse of children is a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan. The judicial system is not set up to cope, and the victims often end up being placed in juvenile detention centres under the catch-all terminology of “moral crime”, while their adult assailants go unpunished.’

The bull in Afghanistan’s china shop
AfPak Channel, 26 March 2013
Scott Smith’s (broadside) answer on late Richard Holbrooke’s role as described in Vali Nasr’s upcoming and already kindled book (‘died literally with the secret to ending the Afghan war on his lips, unheard by Barack Obama’). Smith’s doesn’t see so much skills in Holbrooke’s way of operationg but more ‘impatience and lack of respect that alienated allies …, a gifted translator of American power’ – in the spirit of Kissinger: America doesn’t need allies.

The Good Samaritans?
Newsline (Pakistan), 25 March 2013
A really interesting rendering of the interaction between the Pakistani military, politicians and journalists – after a (not so) off-the-records ‘chit-chat’ of General Kayani with media people.

How the Taliban gripped Karachi
BBC, 21 March 2013
A reportage of roving Taleban courts in Karachi suburbs and a trend of more of the city’s residents choosing to bring their complaint to them. Taleban pressure also has led to the closure of offices of a nationalist Pashtun party.

Nowruz Criticism as Un-Islamic is Baseless: Govt
Tolo News, 21 March 2013
Happy Nowruz!

Afghanistan’s Nuristan province ‘at mercy of the Taliban’
BBC, 20 March 2013
Bilal Sarwary reports: ‘Provincial police chief Gen Ghulamullah Nuristani says four of Nuristan’s eight districts are on the verge of falling into militant hands.’

How the Taliban wins over Afghans without firing a shot
Global Post, 20 March 2013
Fazelminallah Qazizai and Chris Sands report about the Wardak Taleban imposing a decree to decrease marriage spending, and that this has been confirmed by the provincial council. Incidentally, the Afghan government passed a similar law last year.

Karzai opponents talk to Taliban (and Hezb)
AP, 18 March 2013
The news agency reports, with reference to Afghan opposition leaders, that the political parties coordination council has established its own channel of talks both with the Taleban and Hezb-e Islami; and that the Taleban are considering to replace their chief negotiator Tayyeb Agha.

Many Afghans held by ADF are falsely accused
Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2013
Seems Uruzgan is not so different from recently well-reported Wardak: Australian and US forces have ‘trained an army of local spies ‘ and are readily ‘accepting concocted stories [from it] that often led to the detention of the wrong people and in some cases, unjustified bombing raids or firefights’. In the result, and according to official figures, ‘of 1867 ”suspected insurgents” detained since August 2010… , 1615 were deemed not to be ”suspected insurgents” [in the end] and were released’. Says a former police chief: ‘What the people remember is wedding parties and other gatherings being bombed and people dying, being sent to jail or fleeing the area,’

Cross-Border Trade Depressed in Afghan North
IWPR, 13 March 2013
Another interesting reportage by Mazar-based Qayum Babak from the not-so-top ‘model province’ of Balkh, saying that ‘customs procedures at Hairatan checkpoint are riddled with corruption and red tape’ according to local traders.

With aid to Afghanistan, past performance is a predictor of future returns
Christian Science Monitor
, 12 March 2013
Dan Murphy follows up on an earlier article on the subject of US spending on Afghan ‘reconstruction’, coming to the conclusion that ‘In Afghanistan, it’s not so much that the US is failing to learn from history. It’s that it also seems to be failing to learn from the present.’

Zinat Karzai, Afghanistan’s ‘invisible’ first lady
BBC, 8 March 2013
A scoop on International Women’s Day: BBC Persian meets Zinat Karzai, the secluded Afghan First Lady (here the English version of the report), but also Princess India, Wahida Mohaqqeq and Fatana Gailani. Mrs Karzai says she has been unable to travel anywhere outside Kabul but that she has ‘lots of contact with ordinary Afghan women… involved in areas like politics, social affairs, education and healthcare. They often come to see me and share their thoughts.’ She also talks about her two children, son Mirwais and baby daughter Malala.

USAID to put $300 million into women’s rights in Afghanistan
Christian Science Monitor
, 8 March 2013
USAID announced that it plans to spend $313 million to support the development of Afghan women over the next five years, reports the US daily. ‘The concept is brilliant,’ says Farkhundah Naderi, a female Afghan parliamentarian, after reviewing the USAID document that offers details on the project. ‘But I hope there is going to be very strong monitoring,’ she added. ‘At the end of the day, effectiveness is so important.’ It also would be interesting ho the money would be distributed, directly among Afghan NGOs or, as in other USAID programmes, through contractors. They already will be queuing up… See also the Christian Science Monitor’s recent investigation into USAID projects in Badakhshan: ‘USAID would ultimately spend $60 million over four years, but spend it badly. Hydroelectric projects were left incomplete, newly-paved roads fell apart in months, and a pricey veterinary lab shut down when the government couldn’t keep paying salaries.’

In the shadow of the mosque
Afghanistan Today, 7 March 2013
The Afghan journalism project’s website comes up with an interesting article about the security politics around central Kabul’s latest mosque, named after its donor, businessman Haji Abdul Rahman and opened last July after 12 years of construction (it was started during the Taleban regime): with strict entrance controls, cameras monitoring the worshippers and no space for them to wander the premises, after the Taleban have carries out numerous attacks in Afghan mosques.