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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 […]

Messages in Chalk: ‘Islamic State’ haunting Afghanistan?

Rumours of the presence of Islamic State (IS) elements in Afghanistan have repeatedly made it into the media over recent months, sparking public debate and adding to the anxiety about what course the insurgency might take. AAN researcher Borhan Osman says that IS has support among limited numbers of Afghan radical youth – although even […]

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 […]

Election 2014 (3): Snapshots from the provinces before the vote

While the countdown to the vote is nearly finished, the situation ahead of it differs widely in the various parts of the country. Reports from the provinces can convey enthusiasm, insecurity, suspicions of fraud or just resignation. Depending on the person talking to you, they can become extremely detailed mappings of the security situation and […]

What to Watch in the Elections (2): Polling station lists

Elections in Afghanistan can be overwhelming, surreal and utterly confusing, even for those who have followed the politics of the country for a long time. To bring those who were not here during previous elections up to speed, and to remind those who may have forgotten the details of what it was like, AAN’s Martine […]

New Battles and Old Wants in Nuristan

The killing of the deputy shadow governor of the Taleban for Nuristan, apparently in a drone strike on his native village of Amshuz, Waygal district, represents just the last chapter in what has already been a rather intense fighting season in the province for two months. A perennial candidate for insurgent takeover, Nuristan witnessed some […]