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

Islamic State continued deadly attacks in capital Kabul, and hardships persisted amid electricity shortfall, severe winter and curtailed relief operations due to Taliban restrictions on NGOs.

Islamic State continued attacks, resistance group struck in Taliban heartland. Suicide bomber 1 Jan struck defence ministry convoy near military airport in Kabul, killing around 20 security personnel and civilians; Islamic State’s local branch (ISKP) later claimed attacker was one of two militants who had targeted Chinese hotel weeks earlier. ISKP claimed bombing at entrance to Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul 11 Jan that killed number of govt employees. Meanwhile, resistance group Afghanistan Freedom Front 18 Jan claimed attack in Kandahar province (south), continuing to illustrate group’s operational presence inside Taliban’s heartland.

Murder of former female parliamentarian fuelled concerns. Gunmen 15 Jan shot dead former female Afghan parliamentarian Mursal Nabizadeh at her home in Kabul, sparking concerns over safeguards for Afghan women, especially former politicians and women’s activists, under Taliban rule. Authorities subsequently announced that lawmaker was killed as result of family feud, as bodyguard and jewellery remained missing.

Electricity blackouts resulted in hundreds killed. Amid unusually cold winter, and despite electricity supply deals struck late Dec with Uzbekistan and 10 Jan with Tajikistan, country continued to face electricity outages that hampered private sector and contributed to heating problems for ordinary Afghans, leaving hundreds dead; authorities in Jan also cut off electricity to Kandahar and Helmand provinces, despite unprecedented cold weather, due to dwindling water levels of Kajaki dam. Authorities 5 Jan signed oil extraction deal with Chinese company to invest $540mn over three-year period, creating 3,000 jobs. UN 14 Jan resumed cash shipments after short hiatus. UN Deputy Sec-Gen Amina Mohammed led delegation to Afghanistan and 25 Jan reported efforts to obtain exemptions for women to resume working at NGOs, whose operations have been slowed by Taliban restrictions. World Food Programme 26 Jan said malnutrition rates countrywide are at record high.

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In The News

21 Dec 2022
The flood of outrage from the West will strengthen the resolve of the Taliban leadership [in Afghanistan], which defines itself as a bulwark against the outside world. Reuters

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
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

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Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
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