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When and Why to Catch a TTP Leader: Faqir Muhammad’s Arrest

The capture last week of a prominent Pakistani militant in the Afghan province of Nangrahar by Afghan police and intelligence has made a sensation in both countries, being widely interpreted as a positive step for diplomatic relations and cooperation. But it also led to controversial commentaries by some observers. The presence inside Afghanistan of Pakistani […]

The Civilian Casualty Tightrope: Karzai Bans ANSF Calling in ‘Foreign’ Airstrikes on Villages

In a blistering speech on 16 February 2013, President Hamed Karzai called requests to foreigners by Afghan security forces for airstrikes on Afghan villages ‘shameful’.(1) His office said that tomorrow, he will issue a decree formally banning requests for strikes on what is being described in the English press as ‘residential areas’. The president’s move […]

Bagram and Insider Attacks: ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ no longer?

It has been a rough week for US-led international forces, with threats, tensions and setbacks multiplying. The Taleban’s spectacular attack on Camp Bastion on 15 September, which left two soldiers – including a lieutenant colonel – dead, six fighter planes destroyed and two others damaged and ISAF’s narrative of a weakening insurgency looking fragile, was […]

Shelling at the Durand Line: Popular outrage building up

For the second year in a row, Pakistan is shelling Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, especially Kunar. The issue has recently become politically explosive, with calls for an army of volunteers to man the border and two key ministers being dismissed (on 4 August) over their failure to stop the shelling. Ordinary Afghans expect their government to […]

2010 Elections 15: What a Kunar Candidate Complains About

These days are filled with stories of electoral fraud and irregularities, copies of complaints forms, grainy videos, and the wait for some solid results to be posted on the IEC website. Some reports are more detailed than others and some are so detailed and illustrative that they are worth repeating. The following is a report […]

On Kunar’s Salafi Insurgents

Usually one needs two sources at least, but this one I find too interesting: A few days ago, on 9 January, the Taleban website Shahamat (which means ‘bravery’) reported that one of the smaller insurgent groups – the Salafi from Kunar – has pledged allegiance to Mulla Muhammad Omar. The Taleban gave its name as Jama’at […]