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The Kandahar Killing: With friends like this… (amended)

After the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier in Kandahar province, Western military and political officials have – duly – apologised again but also called the incident ‘rogue’, a ‘first time’ or a ‘completely out-of-the-ordinary’ event. Thomas Ruttig, a Senior Analyst at AAN, wonders whether this is the case or whether it […]

Talking and Killing in Early 2012

A series of suicide attacks have left dozens of people killed and injured in the last few days in southern Afghanistan. There was inevitable carnage among civilians when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowded bazaar in Helmand on Wednesday (18 January) and at the entrance to the NATO base in Kandahar on Thursday. […]

Kandahar in Revolt: The Quran demos in the light of history

The sort of violent demonstrations which took place in Kandahar in the first week of April against the burning of a Qur’an in the United States, with large gatherings of people and clashes with Afghan security forces, have not been seen since the late 1950s and early 1980s. Usually, says our guest blogger, the freelance […]

The Dead of Mazar

Today, our thoughts are with the UN colleagues who were killed in Mazar-e Sharif yesterday and also with the Afghans killed there(*), not knowing whether they had just been using their constitutional right to demonstrate or indeed had murder in their hearts. And we hope that Pastor Jones in Gainesville, Florida, had a sleepless night, […]

A Taleban ‘Shock and Awe’ Campaign

The recent string of attacks, seemingly aimed at hitting in the heart of Afghan cities in a spectacular and murderous manner, continues. Starting from the battle at the Kandahar central police station on 12 February, in a ten-day span four more attacks – unlike the former aimed at soft, largely civilian targets – hit population […]

Figure of the Day: US$ 100 m. (in destroyed orchards)

An Afghan government delegation has reported that ‘Afghan and foreign forces have caused more than US$ 100 million damage to fruit crops and homes during security operations in southern Kandahar province’. AAN’s senior analyst Thomas Ruttig remembers an episode last summer. When a young Afghan visited our office last summer and told us about US […]

Counterinsurgency in Kandahar: what happened to the fence?

A short visit to Kandahar, as it has been a while. In the afternoon there is a donkey cart bomb several blocks away. It kills three children, destroys a police post and rattles the office I am visiting. The blast of moving air tells the body something about vulnerability that it had forgotten. In the […]