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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

Vehicle bomb attack close to German embassy in Kabul 31 May killed over 90, mostly civilians, and injured hundreds; Taliban said it was not responsible. Other attacks in Kabul during month included eight civilians killed in Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K)-claimed suicide bombing targeting U.S. military convoy 3 May. Taliban attacks included: 1 May attack on security forces in Ghormach district, Faryab province (north), killing five police; 21 May attack on police checkpoints in Zabul province (south), killing at least 25; 27 May suicide bombing in Khost province (east) killing over a dozen. Authorities in Badghis province (north west) reported 22 insurgents, six security forces and eight civilians killed in fighting in Qadis district 27 May. In Nangarhar province (east), IS-K 17 May stormed state TV offices in Jalalabad, killing at least six including two police; authorities reported fifteen IS-K militants and six civilians killed in clashes in Achin district 26 May; govt claimed 34 IS-K militants killed in air raids 7-8 May; officials 8 May confirmed IS-K head Sheikh Abdul Hasib killed during 27 April raid. Tensions with Pakistan escalated as twelve Afghan and Pakistani civilians were killed and scores wounded in 5 May clash with Pakistani forces along disputed stretch of border, after Pakistani military escorted census team into two villages claimed by both countries; accounts of military casualties on both sides unconfirmed and heavily disputed. Islamabad 27 May reopened Chaman border crossing on humanitarian grounds. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of insurgent group Hizb-e-Islami with whom govt signed peace deal in Sept 2016, resurfaced in public after late April return from exile, met President Ghani in Kabul 4 May accompanied by hundreds of heavily-armed guards; urged Taliban to join peace process and offered to mediate with govt. Opposition MPs criticised govt’s decision to vet 3,500 Hizbul-e-Islami fighters for inclusion in security forces. U.S. 24 May reported its warplanes had dropped more weapons on Afghanistan in April than any other month since 2012.

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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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