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Afghanistan

CrisisWatch Afghanistan

Unchanged Situation

Incremental progress in U.S.-Taliban peace process slowed Taliban attacks in cities, but insurgent violence persisted in rural areas while U.S. stepped up air attacks and tensions persisted over electoral results. Taliban and U.S. govt 16-17 Jan held talks in Qatar to discuss possible deal; discussions involved U.S. proposal for reduction in violence that would facilitate start of formal peace process, deal now reportedly under consideration by U.S. military; nothing formally announced. Despite lull in major attacks in urban areas, insurgents’ operations in rural areas continued. Taliban fighter 7 Jan disguised as woman killed three security forces in Faryab province (north); Taliban roadside bomb 11 Jan killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded two in Kandahar province (south); Taliban elite unit 16 Jan attacked police checkpoint, killing eleven police officers in Kunduz province (north); Taliban 28 Jan killed at least seven police officers in police station in Baghlan province (north), and 29 Jan killed at least thirteen Afghan security officers in Kunduz province (north). U.S. military aircraft 27 Jan also crashed in Ghazni province (east) killing two; Taliban claimed responsibility but U.S. military said no indication of enemy action. Throughout month U.S. stepped up air attacks, including drone strike 8 Jan which killed 16 militants and reportedly 10 to 40 civilians in Herat province (west). Afghan security forces 25-26 Jan carried out attacks against Taliban across several provinces, allegedly killing 51 militants; airstrikes left at least seven civilians dead in Balkh province (north), prompting demonstration next day in front of district governor’s office demanding investigation. In provincial capital Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, car bomb 4 Jan killed one and wounded at least two, and two bombs 14 Jan killed two and wounded at least nine; no one claimed responsibility for the attacks. Following on complaints from main opponent to President Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, over elections’ results, Electoral Complaints Commission 28 Jan contemplated recounts in 2,500 polling sites amid ongoing review of appeals.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

24 Feb 2020
The Afghan state is still an experiment in many ways, and a project that requires assistance and support. Newsweek

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
18 Feb 2020
It’s unclear if other parties will openly break with the [Afghan] government’s line. Wall Street Journal

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
11 Feb 2020
Looks like U.S.-Taliban deal is imminent. That will be the biggest milestone by far in 10 years of off-and-on efforts to launch an Afghan peace process. VOA

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
16 Jan 2020
[The Taliban's] pause in attacks on cities is unprecedented over the last dozen years. AFP

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
21 Oct 2019
The Taliban have always said, ‘We will never negotiate the future of Afghanistan while foreign troops have their boots on our soil.’ They compromised on that, and that’s huge. The New Yorker

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
2 Oct 2019
The debate about [whether] US should distance itself from the [Mideast] region and reduce its military footprint is important but somewhat beside the point. The more consequential question is what kind of Middle East the United States will remain engaged in or disengaged from. Twitter

Robert Malley

President & CEO

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2019 – Third Update

Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. These early-warning publications identify major conflict situations in which prompt action, driven or supported by the European Union and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. The third update to the Watch List 2019 includes entries on Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Sudan and Yemen.

Speech / Asia

The Trump Administration’s Afghanistan Policy

In this written statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on 19 September, Crisis Group's Program Director for Asia Laurel Miller assesses the Trump Administration's efforts to secure a peace deal with the Taliban and the potentional risks and rewards of such a deal. 

Also available in پښتو
Special Briefing / Global

Seven Opportunities for the UN in 2019-2020

The UN General Assembly kicks off on 17 September amid general scepticism about the world body’s effectiveness in an era of rising great-power competition. But the UN is far from paralysed. Here are seven crisis spots where it can make a positive difference for peace.

Q&A / Asia

Behind Trump’s Taliban Debacle

On 7 September, U.S. President Donald Trump made the startling announcement that he had invited Taliban leaders to Camp David for talks – and then cancelled the gathering. Crisis Group Asia Program Director Laurel Miller and consultant Graeme Smith explain what happened and what it means for prospects of ending Afghanistan’s war.

Op-Ed / Asia

The U.S. Shouldn’t Stumble Out of Afghanistan

Letting the country unravel isn't an exit strategy.

Originally published in Foreign Policy

Our People

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
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Borhan Osman

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
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