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Afghanistan

Amidst an intensifying Taliban insurgency and emerging Islamic State threat, Afghanistan's path to peace and stability looks ever more perilous. Taliban militants now control more territory than at any time since its ouster by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001. Crisis Group is one of the few analytical organisations with a presence in Afghanistan. We help local and international stakeholders to comprehend the context and drivers of conflict, militant extremism, political-economic fragility, and its implications for the world and the region. Crisis Group helps local authorities and the international community formulate effective policies to  improve governance and security in the country and stop violent extremism.

CrisisWatch Afghanistan

Deteriorated Situation

Taliban claimed attacks against military and civilians throughout country, including 21 April attack in Mazar-e-Sharif city, Balkh province, in which gunmen in military uniforms infiltrated army base killing at least 140 soldiers in deadliest Taliban attack on armed forces since 2001; defence minister and army chief of staff resigned following incident. Taliban 28 April announced start of spring offensive “Operation Mansouri”. Taliban also carried out 1 April suicide car bombing killing regional army commander and two soldiers in Khost province; govt blamed Taliban for 15 April roadside bomb that killed at least eleven civilians in Helmand province; in Zabul province, Taliban 18 April killed Shenkay district police chief. In Baghlan province, NATO and govt forces in joint operation 18 April killed fifteen Taliban militants, including shadow provincial governor. Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) claimed 12 April suicide bombing that killed at least five civilians near president’s administration office in Kabul. Operations against IS-K in Achin district, Nangarhar province saw one U.S. soldier killed 8 April, two killed 26 April. U.S. military dropped 22,000-pound bomb, most powerful conventional explosive in its arsenal, on IS-K position in Achin district 13 April, killing at least 94 suspected militants and prompting criticism from some Afghan politicians. Govt 26 April reported IS-K attacked Taliban in N Jowzjan province taking control of two districts, 76 Taliban and fifteen IS-K fighters killed. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster visiting Kabul 16 April reiterated U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, urged Pakistan to pursue terrorists “less selectively” than in past. Russia 14 April hosted conference on resolving Afghanistan conflict with diplomats from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and five Central Asian states; U.S. declined invitation saying unilateral initiative not constructive, Taliban also rejected process. Govt 5 April called on Pakistan to stop constructing border fence along disputed stretch of Afghanistan-Pakistan border; 7 April told UNSC fence is illegal. Amid ongoing tensions in unity govt, President Ghani 16 April dismissed special advisor for reforms and good governance Ahmad Zia Masoud, allegedly for incompetence; Masoud warned dismissal could lead to political instability.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

19 Apr 2017
[The use of the "Mother of All Bombs" is about] sending a clear message to regional players [...] to say that the U.S. is ready to take action and utilize necessary force. Foreign Policy

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
14 Apr 2017
[The U.S. bombing] sounds more like a message to the international rivals [...] than actually a serious attempt by the Trump administration to get more deeply involved in the Afghan war. Los Angeles Times

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
25 Mar 2017
We don’t know whether the former commanders [of Hezb-i-Islami in Afghanistan] will unite around [Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar or work against him. This is his last attempt to reach power. The Washington Post

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
13 Feb 2017
[Afghan refugees] settle around urban centres, which may be relatively safe, but what essentially happens is it cuts them off from communities they belong to. The Guardian

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
28 Jan 2017
[The Taliban] is becoming more efficient in systematically taxing the areas they either control or have a lot of influence on. Efficiency of taxation [helps] to sustain the group for a long time. The New York Times

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
19 Jan 2017
Obama's hasty exit strategy along a set timeline had a negative impact on the dynamics of conflict in Afghanistan. Deutsche Welle

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Latest Updates

Commentary / Asia

Afghanistan: Growing Challenges

Political fractures continue to weaken the Afghan National Unity Government as the Taliban insurgency expands and an Islamic State affiliate strengthens its foothold. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to continue to provide technical support to the negotiating process and take measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

Op-Ed / Asia

Dealing with disaster in Afghanistan

Originally published in Boston Globe

Op-Ed / Asia

Falsche Beschützer

Die Aufrüstung der Afghan Local Police wäre ein tragischer Fehler

Originally published in Internationale Politik

Our People

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
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