Tag: War

After the Rollercoaster Comes What? Afghanistan in 2015

2014 was a rollercoaster of a year. The transition was completed. It did not tear the country apart or fragment the security forces, but it sometimes felt close. Afghanistan now stands at the beginning of the optimistically named Decade of Transformation. The country has a new leadership, both fuelled by confidence and ambition and bogged […]

Handing Over Alive: Whither Afghanistan’s political transition?

When President Hamed Karzai left office after the completion of his two constitutional terms and handed over to President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, as he now officially prefers to be called, this was widely called the ‘first peaceful political transition’ – read: without violence or the head of state being immediately killed – in a very […]

“A Dangerous New Turn”: UNAMA reports a sharp rise in civilian casualties

For the first time since UNAMA started documenting civilian casualties in 2009, more civilians have been killed in ground fighting than from any other tactic. In its six monthly report on the protection of civilians, it reported “a direct correlation” in some areas between the closures of international bases and a rise in civilian casualties, […]

Fear, Hope and Determination: Afghanistan and the 2014 Syndrome

Ever since in 2011 President Obama announced his timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the prospect of 2014 has been looming ominously over the country. And now we are here, at the beginning of this almost mythical year. There is nervousness and fear, but also pushback, with some Afghans believing that the […]

Poetry in Motion: Love, war and politics on trucks

I am chasing you like a drone You have become al Qaida; there’s no trace of you Trucks painted in vivid colours and lettered with poems like the one above, which has borrowed the terms of war to describe love, are part of the “cultural landscape” along the dusty roads of Afghanistan, especially the south […]

Transition in Uruzgan (2): Power at the centre

“Only the dead see the end of war”. The encryption on the monument for fallen foreign soldiers in Camp Holland, the main international military base in Uruzgan, might end up a sad prediction for many inhabitants of this southern province. As foreign forces prepare to leave, Uruzganis are ever more worried about the future. Deedee […]