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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

Tensions with Pakistan rose after Islamabad accused Afghanistan of harbouring terrorists responsible for series of deadly attacks in Pakistan including 16 Feb Islamic State (IS)-claimed Sufi shrine bombing in Sindh province (see Pakistan). Pakistani military 17 Feb shelled targets in Afghanistan it claimed were Pakistani Taliban camps, reportedly displacing at least 150 families in eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, and enforced indefinite closure of shared border; also summoned Afghan diplomats and demanded immediate handover of over 76 terrorists allegedly hiding in Afghanistan. Kabul reportedly responded by summoning Pakistani ambassador and submitting list of 85 Afghan insurgent leaders and 32 training camps located in Pakistan. Afghan govt and U.S. military enhanced operations against so-called IS-Khorasan (IS-K) targets in east: NATO 2 Feb confirmed U.S. military had killed Qari Munib and Shahid Omar, two top IS-K leaders in Nangarhar. Insurgents continued to carry out high profile attacks, including 7 Feb suicide bombing outside Supreme Court that killed at least twenty people and injured 40; and 17 Feb attack against army outposts in Dih Bala district, Nangarhar province, which left at least eighteen soldiers dead and twelve injured, claimed by IS-K. ICRC temporarily suspended operations in Afghanistan after suspected IS-K 8 Feb killed six ICRC workers and kidnapped two in Shibergan town, Jowzjan province. Taliban claimed responsibility for blast killing five soldiers and seven civilians in Helmand provincial capital Lashkargah 11 Feb; and ambush killing ten police and civilian in Darzab district, Jowzjan province 25 Feb. Officials claimed 11 Feb U.S. airstrikes in Helmand’s Sangin district killed at least 60 Taliban and foiled plan for major offensive. NATO opened investigation into allegations that U.S. airstrikes killed at least 22 civilians 10 Feb. Russia 15 Feb hosted second Afghanistan peace conference in Moscow aimed at finding political settlement and containing IS-K: India, Pakistan, Iran, China and Afghanistan participated. Testifying before U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee 9 Feb, NATO and U.S. forces commander Gen John Nicholson said Russia and Iran supporting Taliban, trying to legitimise it by claiming it was fighting IS-K and aiming to undermine U.S. and NATO; also called for deployment of few thousand more troops to train and advise Afghan army.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

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

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

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

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
11 Jan 2017
The Taliban need to receive a strong assurance from coalition forces, in particular, the US, before making the move [to proposed safe zones]. AFP

Timor Sharan

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
4 Oct 2016
The Taliban [in their assault on Kunduz] wanted to manoeuvre, raise their flag and then quickly leave. The Taliban know that they are not capable of holding onto the city centre. The Independent

Timor Sharan

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Latest Updates

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

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
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