Afghanistan

In mid-August 2021, Taliban militants swept into Kabul, completing their takeover of Afghanistan and marking a new phase in what has been the world’s most lethal conflict in recent years. The U.S.-backed government in place since 2001 is gone, as are almost all U.S. and NATO troops. As the new dispensation takes shape, Crisis Group remains focused on promoting a deep understanding of events on the ground and helping the various stakeholders inside and outside the country comprehend their counterparts' motives and political constraints. We also aim to advance policies that improve security and promote inclusive governance.

CrisisWatch Afghanistan

Unchanged Situation

Taliban sought to suppress National Resistance Front and Islamic State’s local branch threats in north east, while Taliban signalled harsher restrictions, particularly aimed at women.

Anti-Taliban resistance forces continued insurgency in north east. Despite falling levels of violence with onset of cold weather, insecurity continued in Badakhshan province (north east) after Taliban in Oct launched large-scale operations in districts bordering Tajikistan; operations for time being appeared to stunt National Resistance Front (NRF) activities in province but strained relations with Tajikistan, neighbouring country that harbours NRF fighters. Similarly, in Takhar province (north east), numerous reports surfaced during month of Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) and NRF attacks; Taliban forces launched raids against hideouts, primarily targeting ISKP. Meanwhile, deadly clashes erupted between Taliban and Pakistani border forces around Chaman border crossing 13 Nov and in Paktia province (east) 15 Nov (see Pakistan). Bomb 30 Nov targeting religious school in Samangan province (north) killed at least 17 students, majority of them believed to be children.

Taliban regime continued repressive measures, including on women. Taliban 5 Nov stated efforts were under way to end caretaker govt model; how the Taliban will shift to permanent govt remains unclear as group signalled intent to introduce additional governance restrictions. UN children’s agency 7 Nov claimed that women were increasingly being denied access to health facilities unless accompanied by male relatives; ministry for promoting virtue and preventing vice next day announced closure of women’s public baths and declared that women will no longer be able to visit public parks. UN experts 25 Nov said treatment of women and girls may amount to “gender persecution”. Earlier, Taliban 3 Nov arrested human rights activist Zarifa Yaqhoubi and her colleagues in capital Kabul who announced formation of women-led political party. Taliban emir 13 Nov met with judges and urged application of stricter punishments against kidnappers, seditionists and thieves.

Humanitarian crisis persisted as winter approached. With harsh winter fast approaching, little progress was made in addressing economic and humanitarian crises; notably, China 9 Nov announced it will grant zero-tariffs on 98% of Afghan products from Dec onward.

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In The News

16 Aug 2022
Taliban leadership [in Afghanistan] seems divided between those that seek a return to the 1990s and those that want to tread a different path. VICE

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
5 Jul 2022
[The Taliban in Afghanistan] focus on consolidating power by monopolizing resources, squashing perceived threats, and preempting future threats. Foreign Policy

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
9 May 2022
The whole world is trying to scramble for limited supplies and Afghanistan will be one of the least able to compete. NPR

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
5 May 2022
Clerics [in Afghanistan] are coming out and issuing statements and saying girls' education is a right. NPR

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
26 Apr 2022
For now, the Taliban [in Afghanistan] are completely opposed to having an election-based Emirate. The Diplomat

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
3 Mar 2022
When it comes to military and policing tactics, the Taliban has been observing and learning from their erstwhile enemy over the past 20 years. Now they are imitating many... The New York Times

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan

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Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
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