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To Say It Like It Is: Norway’s evaluation of its part in the international intervention

Norway has published the first comprehensive evaluation of one country’s contribution to the international intervention in Afghanistan. The evaluation was conducted by a government-appointed commission led by Bjørn Tore Godal, a former foreign and defence minister. However, most commissioners were independent researchers. The ‘Godal report’, as it has become known, is a candid and sharp […]

Operation Omari: Taleban Announced 2016 Spring Offensive

The Taleban made their yearly spring offensive announcement on 12 April 2016. The statement attributed to Taleban leadership council (Rahbari Shura) named the offensive “Operation Omari,” in honour of the movement’s late leader and provides clues with regard to both the Taleban’s plans and the way they wish to present themselves. Of particular note are the […]

Afghanistan Breaking Bad: Crystal meth, a new drug on the market

The first methamphetamine seizure in Afghanistan was recorded in 2008, a minor capture of four grams in Helmand province. Now, seven years later, some 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘crystal meth’, were seized in the first ten months of 2015, in 14 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics warned […]

Bird Bomber: Police kill ‘dangerous’ houbara bustard (amended)

Police in Faryab have shot a wild bird which had an antenna attached to it, fearing it had been sent by the Taleban to target them. They said it exploded, scattering suspicious bits of metal. However, the bits of metal included an ID tag with a telephone number and email address and claims of it […]

Elections 2014 (35): A delay, an audit and a change of tone

The Independent Electoral Commission’s delay of the preliminary results of the presidential run-off, from 2 to 7 July 2014, and its decision to audit almost 2000 polling stations that show possible signs of ballot stuffing, seems to have signalled a change in the electoral mood. Whereas days before the commission still showed signs of intending […]

Elections 2014 (30): Some initial reflections on E-Day II

The counting of second round votes from the presidential elections is still under way in much of Afghanistan, although results are now trickling in from some polling stations. Meanwhile, everyone is trying to assess how well the second round went: the impact of security incidents, level of fraud and, especially importantly, how big the turnout […]