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Jihadi Commuters: How the Taleban cross the Durand Line

The Taleban use Pakistan as a sanctuary: most of the movement’s leaders are settled there and it is the movement’s preferred place for training, meeting and as a rear base. It is also the prime destination for ‘rest and recuperation’ (R&R) and the rehabilitation of wounded fighters. But how do the Taleban move between the […]

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 […]

Toward Fragmentation? Mapping the post-Omar Taleban

The Taleban movement has entered its third decade with infighting threatening its – up till now ­– remarkable unity. The killing of Mansur Dadullah during clashes between Taleban factions in Zabul on 12 November 2015 highlighted the scope of this unprecedented discord. Dadullah had been deputy leader of a newly-formed, breakaway faction of the Taleban. […]

The ‘Zabul Seven’ Protests: Who speaks for the victims?

On 11 November 2015, Kabul witnessed probably one of the largest demonstrations in recent history. The trigger was the slaughter of seven Hazara travellers who had been taken hostage in Zabul province about a month ago. The demonstration, which continued well into the night, became an amalgam of emotions and agendas: grief and horror over […]

Trouble in Khas Uruzgan: Insults, assaults, a siege and an airlift

After three months of near non-stop fighting in Khas Uruzgan, a mixed Pashtun-Hazara district in northeast Uruzgan, the Taleban decimated the district’s Afghan Local Police (ALP) and forced most of the other security forces back into the district centre. The attack was not just part of a wider, concerted effort by the Taleban to put […]

AIHRC Commissioners Finally Announced

Finally, the new commissioners for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) have been announced. The announcement comes 19 months after President Hamed Karzai unilaterally removed three Commissioners in December 2011, with another killed in a Taleban attack and a fifth dismissed. The movement after such a long time on these long overdue appointments has […]

Voices from Zabul

Just got back from a short visit to Zabul, the largely forgotten province that is surrounded by Kandahar, Uruzgan, Ghazni, Paktia and Pakistani Baluchistan. I was curious how things had developed since my last visit three years ago. The governor had been changed – and so had the Taliban governor – some provincial department heads […]