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At the End of a Long Curve: The fall of Janikhel

The temporary capture of Janikhel district centre by Taleban forces in late July 2017 stands out in the relatively static, mountainous and geographically and tribally fractured region of eastern Paktia and Khost. There, most district centres continue to be in government hands, while many areas outside of them are more or less under Taleban control. […]

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 […]

The ANSF’s Zurmat Operation: Abuses against local civilians

In early January 2016, an Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) operation in Zurmat, a southern district of Paktia province, resulted in civilian casualties. According to local residents, the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers’ heavy shelling of villages they suspected to be Taleban hideouts caused the most harm. Abuses, such as beatings and the use of […]

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 (27): Snapshots from the provinces before the second round vote

How do Afghans feel about the second round of the presidential election ahead tomorrow, Saturday, 14 June? How do they perceive the security situation, the campaigning of the two contenders, the election authorities’ performance – and are they still as ready to go and cast a vote as many of them were in the first round? Like […]

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 […]