Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Posts tagged: Russia


The expedition after their arrival in Kabul, with Hentig (seated, 2nd from left) and Niedermayer (seated 3rd from l.). Photo from: Niedermayer's book, In der Glutsonne Irans.

Afghanistan in World War I (2): “England must lose India” – Afghanistan as a German bridgehead

Thomas Ruttig

100 years ago and a good year after the outbreak of World War I, a German political-military mission crossed the border into Afghanistan on the night of 19 to the 20 August 1915. Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer and Werner Otto von Hentig, a Bavarian military officer and a Prussian diplomat, both with Persian experience, led the […]

Context and Culture Read more

Афганистан.Ру: Russian elite views of Afghanistan on the eve of the US departure

Dmitry Shlapentokh

When post-Soviet Russia lost its super-power status, this not only reduced its political and military role in many regions of the world but also spending on analysis, at least on the public academic level. Even Afghanistan, a country in Russia’s immediate neighbourhood, suffered that fate. Афганистан.Ру (, a website with the sub-heading “all about Afghanistan,” […]

Regional Relations Read more
Decades before Point Zero: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on a state visit to Afghanistan in 1955. Photo: archive

From Point Zero to ‘New Warmth’: Russian-Afghan relations since 1989

Thomas Ruttig

After the Soviet occupation years, Afghan-Russian relations were on absolute zero. But post-Soviet Russia has worked carefully on improving the situation step by step. This strategy is based on an about-face under Yeltsin: dropping Najibullah and building a relationship with the mujahedin, beginning in 1992. In recent years, mounting Afghan-US and Russian-US tensions have made […]

Regional Relations Read more

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 […]

Regional Relations Read more

How Ukraine Spillover Could Complicate the US Withdrawal From Afghanistan


The Diplomat, 6 March 2014 "Sometimes timing in international politics can bereally bad – at least this is what those dealing with the Afghan withdrawal plans at the Pentagon must be feeling at this point", with the Crimean crisis building up, writes the author. "In the event that the United States and Europe decide to severely punish […]

Recommended Reads Read more

Past Is Prologue or: A tale of two Olympics

Anthony Agnello

Shortly before a historic and emotionally laden Olympic hockey match between American and Russian athlets in 1980, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. The US, at that time, had actually already started its covert operation to support the mujahedin against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul; it would be their fight that would finally lead to the Soviet withdrawal. In […]

Context and Culture Read more

Crossing the Bridge: The 25th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

It was the last hot conflict of the Cold War: the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan between Christmas 1979 and February 1989. 25 years ago today, the last Soviet soldiers left the country, defiantly waving their banners and insisting they had not lost. A truce with Ahmad Shah Massud, the main northern mujahedin leader, had […]

Context and Culture Read more