Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Regional Relations

Little Bridges: AAN’s new report on the slowly growing links between Afghanistan and the Central Asia republics

Christian Bleuer S Reza Kazemi

Reports about Afghanistan and its neighbours to the north usually lump the five former Soviet Central Asia republics together as an undifferentiated block  – ‘the Stans’. Such an approach does not reflect the reality of five countries with very different, mainly bilateral and very local relationships with Afghanistan. The distortion has only been worsened by […]

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Talebs in Tajikistan? Part 2 on the alleged IMU-Taleban nexus

Thomas Ruttig

If one listens to ISAF and to Central Asian governments, there are overlapping networks of jihadist terrorists subverting Afghanistan and Tajikistan, if not the whole region. Few of these reports are substantiated by details that can be independently scrutinised. But they are often picked up by media and other outlets, presented as proven facts and […]

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Talebs in Tajikistan? The ‘terrorist spill-over’ hype

Thomas Ruttig

If one listens to ISAF and to Central Asian governments, there are overlapping networks of jihadist terrorists subverting Afghanistan and Tajikistan, if not the whole region. Those networks, it is said, link the Taleban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) with al-Qaeda and other Pakistan-based groups. Few of these reports are substantiated by details […]

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End of a Peace Process? Pressure on Islamist party undermines Tajik post-civil war consensus

Thomas Ruttig

Tajikistan’s government is cracking down on the main opposition party, the Islamist IRPT. Some say this is just part of a pre-election campaign (the country is to elect its president in November); others see longer-term implications that could jeopardise the 1997 peace agreement that still shapes the country’s political reality. The IRPT – the only […]

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The Other Side of the Amu Darya: Tajik and Afghans, neighbours apart

Thomas Ruttig

Despite pushes from the West and economic needs, Afghan-Central Asian economic cooperation has not taken off, yet. The people of Tajikistan, for example, are not very interested in or even prejudiced towards their southern neighbours, as they concentrate on their troubles with their former Uzbek brothers. The Tajik government and the other more or less authoritarian […]

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Can Kabul Carry Two Melons in One Hand? Afghanistan and Iran sign strategic cooperation document

Thomas Ruttig

Almost unnoticed by the international media, Afghanistan and Iran have signed a “Strategic Cooperation Agreement” during President Karzai’s recent trip to Tehran. The document includes provisions on bilateral military, intelligence and economic cooperation. The sequence indicates importance; the agreement is mainly a security agreement. However, it also contains ideas for a number of trilateral extensions […]

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President Rouhani’s Election: Potential impact on Iran’s relations with Afghanistan

Bruce Koepke

On 3 August 2013, Hassan Rouhani, the seventh president of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be officially endorsed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and inaugurated by the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, the following day. AAN Guest Author Bruce Koepke explores the potential impact of his Presidency on Iran’s relations with Afghanistan, in the aftermath […]

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Trouble at the Goshta Gate: New tensions and old wounds along the Durand Line

Thomas Ruttig

For almost two weeks now, tensions have been running high again at the Durand Line, the Afghan-Pakistani border not recognised by Kabul officials. Afghan troops have removed Pakistani border installations they perceived to be on their territory, security forces from both sides have exchanged fire and both governments have filed protests. Among Afghans, the issue […]

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Return of the Muslim League: Pakistan after the Election

Thomas Ruttig

Pakistan elected its new parliament on 11 May 2013. The tiger – as many in the media have titled – has roared again: according to preliminary results, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that used the tiger as its election symbol is way ahead of all its rivals but still short of an absolute majority. As […]

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Before Pakistan’s Election: “The democratic process needs more time”

Thomas Ruttig

Simultaneous with the publication of our new briefing paper about the Pakistani parliamentary election next week, we publish a blog based on an email interview with its author, Ann Wilkens, a former Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She says that the election may result in a shift from centre-left to centre-right although its outcome […]

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Afghanistan’s vain attempts at wooing Pakistani Islamists for peace

Borhan Osman

The recent assertion by Pakistan’s chief cleric, Tahir Ashrafi, about the permissibility of Taleban’s suicide attacks was completely the opposite of what Afghanistan had been looking for. Indeed, Kabul has had difficulties in mobilising religious leaders to speak against suicide attacks. A long sought conference of ulama from Afghanistan and Pakistan aimed at delegitimising militancy […]

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An Afghan-Pakistani Strategic Agreement: Side-steps, Back Steps and New Steps

Gran Hewad

It was a story that never really broke: for the first time, a leading Afghan politician has accepted a draft document of a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between Afghanistan and Pakistan. But as a part of attempts to strengthen regional integration and cooperation, such an agreement is on the agenda again. And, as usual, it […]

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