Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Posts tagged: Militia


Fatemiyun fighters’ graves in Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. Three of the ten women interviewed had lost men in the war in Syria. Casualties among the Fatemiyun have been heavy. Photo: Mohsen Hamidi, April 2019

The Two Faces of the Fatemiyun (II): The women behind the fighters

Mohsen Hamidi

Existing studies on the Fatemiyun have focused on the Afghan men fighting for the Iran-backed government in Syria. The women behind the fighters – wives, mothers and sisters – have remained invisible, despite the fact that many fighters decided to go to Syria with family concerns in mind. Based on interviews with ten women in […]

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Fatemiyun fighters during the Palmyra offensive in Palmyra, Homs province, central Syria, December 2016 (Photo Iranian Tasnim News Agency, 10 December 2016, available under CC BY 4.0)

The Two Faces of the Fatemiyun (I): Revisiting the male fighters

Mohsen Hamidi

Over the last eight years, thousands of Afghan men and some boys have fought on the side of the Iran-supported Assad government in Syria as members of the Fatemiyun group. Although they are sent to Syria from Iran and supported by the Iranian government, Tehran describes the group as “self-motivated.” This dispatch, which is the […]

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Uprising, ALP and Taleban in Andar: The arc of government failure  

Kate Clark Fazl Rahman Muzhary

The Taleban look to be preparing for a new onslaught on Andar district centre. The name ‘Andar’ is still full of political resonance, gained in the summer of 2012 when the Taleban were suddenly and swiftly pushed out of a large part of the district. That counter-insurgency in an insurgent stronghold was styled the ‘Andar […]

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The CIA, keen to ‘hunt' and kill Taleban, is reported to be about to start flying armed drones, such as MQ‐9 Reapers, for the first time in Afghanistan. Credit: US Air National Guard photo/Senior Airman Michael Quiboloy 2014.

CIA-proxy militias, CIA-drones in Afghanistan: “Hunt and kill” déjà vu

Kate Clark

Reporting from the United States has said that the CIA is expanding its operations in Afghanistan, running Afghan militias to “hunt and kill” Taleban and “poised” to start flying armed drones. The CIA has run Afghan militias in the past; they were notorious for human rights abuses and for not being subject to the state […]

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ALP and ANP prepare ammunition for a live fire training exercise in Helmand province, 2013 (US Marine photo Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

More Militias? Part 1: Déjà vu double plus with the proposed ‘Afghan Territorial Army’

Kate Clark

The Afghan government and its United States military backers are considering standing up a new militia force, an army version of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and modelled on the Indian Territorial Army. Officials claim this is their only option if isolated communities are to be protected from insurgents. Human rights groups have reacted with […]

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Update on the Afghan Local Police: Making sure they are armed, trained, paid and exist

Kate Clark

The Afghan Local Police (ALP) emerged out of an American special forces’ project to establish ‘community defence forces’ in 2009 and 2010. Despite being viewed by many as ‘militias in uniform’, the ALP has survived and grown to become a significant part of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), present in all but three of […]

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Backgrounder: Literature Review of Local, Community or Sub-State Forces in Afghanistan

Kate Clark Erica Gaston

Afghanistan’s history has long been dominated and shaped by the interaction of militias with the state. In the post-2001 era, international actors, sometimes with Afghan state cooperation, have tried to use militias to fill perceived gaps in security. Since 2002, a range of foreign-backed local, hybrid or non-state security forces (LHSFs) have emerged. They include […]

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Kuduz after the fighting on September 28, 2015. Photo Credit: @ehsan_af (Twitter)

The 2015 Insurgency in the North (3): The fall and recapture of Kunduz

Obaid Ali

It took 15 days of fierce fighting for Afghan government forces and their US allies to push the Taleban back out of Kunduz city. Clashes continue in the surrounding districts. The Taleban onslaught on 28 September should not have come as a surprise, given how much territory in the province the group was already controlling. […]

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Ghazni Militia Holds Locals to Ransom


IWPR, 30 November 2013 The anti-Taleban 'uprising'/ALP saga continues with a telling report from Moqor district in Ghazni were three ALP commanders terrorise the population and run private prisons, a well-known feature from all stages of Afghans wars. The three commanders admitted they received regular payments from Kabul until [former NDS head] Asadullah Khaled left Afghanistan for medical […]

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Afghanistan: The challenge of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ militias

Other AAN

Christian Science Monitor
, 11 January 2013 AAN’s Gran Hewad is quoted extensively here about militias in Kunduz, talking about a related ‘new wave of insecurity in Kunduz’. He adds that new militias ‘are the proxy forces undermining the rule of law and national government…. They have fought people, looted, burned houses, abducted, and raped women […]

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Irgendwo zwischen Chaos und Patronage (not online)

AAN Team

Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 7 December 2012 Willi Germund, who has occasionally been an AAN author, reviews scenarios for post-2014 Afghanistan. He quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig with concerns about the ‘hugh number of militia units, besides the police’ and with his assessment that ‘the most rosy scenario imaginable’ would be ‘a patronage system in which different faction […]

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After planned cuts, some fear Afghans could become willing recruits for insurgent groups

AAN Team

Stars and Stripes, 11 November 2012 Afghan politicians raise fears about a possible Taleban recruitment of ANSF personnel to be decreased after 2014. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted as saying that militias are already recruiting those who wash out while trying to join the military and that the new militiamen have been shaking down villagers: […]

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