From Bad to Worse

December 6th, 2011

You would think that, after ten long and bloody years, there would be little new the Afghan war could offer in terms of brutality. But Tuesday’s twin suicide strikes on Shi’a Muslim processions in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, leaving 58 dead and more than a hundred wounded, marks an unprecedented insurgent assault on civilians. Never before [...]

Karzai draws criticism for early election call

March 1st, 2009

Moving the presidential vote up to spring from August could undercut opponents, who still have to plan their campaigns
Kabul, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai’s declaration Saturday that Afghan presidential elections should be moved up to April or May has aggravated already tense political divisions in this increasingly unstable country.
The unpopular leader’s decree is at [...]

Reuters interviews Mullah Zaif

January 23rd, 2009

“The Taliban want to expel foreign troops, not win power.”  So says Mullah Salaam Zaif, the movement’s former ambassador to Pakistani, who is now on good terms with the Karzai government.
The Taliban doesn’t want to win power?  Are we expecting the Talibs to just go back to their villages and plant wheat once the foreigners [...]

Rise in crime, kidnapping, top Afghans’ worries

November 25th, 2008

Western forces target the Taliban, but for many Afghans the biggest threat comes from criminals and complicitous police
by Mark Sappenfield and Anand Gopal
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Hajji Habib Lal is a successful businessman in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, importing fine ceramic plates from Germany [...]

Who Rules Afghanistan? (Intro by Tom Engelhardt)

October 9th, 2008

By Tom Engelhardt
In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, spoke proudly of how, in July 1979, he had “signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul” and so helped draw a Russian interventionary force into Afghanistan. [...]

Subsidized Fuel Trail Winds Back to Pakistan

September 30th, 2008

From the GSI-IPS Subsidies Series.  Part 1, by Ashfaq Yusufzai, is here

KABUL, Sep 30 (IPS) – In a teeming petrol market on the outskirts of Kabul, black market traders sell fuel to everyone from individual customers to large business groups. Although much of this petrol comes from Iran or the Central Asian countries, a good [...]

Afghan Civilian Death Toll Undermines U.S. Support

September 18th, 2008

Afghan civilian deaths rise by 39 percent. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pledges to do more to solve the problem.
Kabul, Afghanistan – In a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pledged to do more to prevent civilian deaths from military operations. Mr. Gates’s vow comes on the heels of [...]

Taliban Confidence Grows

August 20th, 2008

KABUL, Aug 20 (IPS) – The ambush that killed 10 NATO soldiers outside of Kabul on Tuesday, the worst battlefield loss for western forces since the war began, was the capstone in a week of high-profile insurgent activities in Afghanistan.
Although North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces returned fire, killed dozens of rebels and repelled the [...]

Afghan Officials Clamp Down On The Press

August 19th, 2008

Government agencies are intimidating and arresting journalists.  The crackdown marks the decline of a hard-won, post-Taliban achievement: press freedom
Kabul, Afghanistan – Naseer Fayaz, one of Afghanistan’s most famous television presenters, is used to fans and other well-wishers coming by the office. The host of a popular weekly program, “The Truth,” his exposés of government malfeasance [...]

Security Fears Paralyze Kabul

August 14th, 2008

KABUL, Aug 14 (IPS) – It used to take Esmazari 15 minutes to cross town in his faded mustard Corolla. But the police shutdown of nearly half of Kabul’s major arteries, in response to a spate of suicide bombings that ripped across the capital city in recent months, means that today Esmazari’s taxi spends a [...]