Will the “October Children” from Afghanistan Get Fair Treatment?

Is Norway’s asylum policy simply strict – or is it also fair and humane? In the coming weeks, approximately 200 young Afghans – the so-called “October children” – will have their cases re-assessed. Originally these children were granted temporary residence permits until they turned 18. Thereafter they were to be returned to life as internally… Read more »

The Taliban’s Choice

The Taliban have, for the first time, been presented with a comprehensive peace initiative. This is an invitation they can not turn down. President Ashraf Ghani’s proposal at the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation was as bold as it was surprising. The package contains many new… Read more »

The Beginning of a Peace Process in Afghanistan – Finally?

Is Afghanistan finally at a turning point – after so many disappointments and wasted opportunities? At the Kabul Process II conference on 28 February, President Ashraf Ghani proposed to launch peace talks with the Taliban without preconditions, offering to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and presenting a number of significant proposals to… Read more »

Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan: a Manifesto

Author’s Note: Royalist and republican, Khalqi and Parchami, Soviet Union and the West, communist and Islamist, mujahid and Talib, Hanafi and takfiri, al Qaeda and America, warlord and technocrat, Pashtun and non-Pashtun, Islamic Emirate and Islamic State, KGB, ISI, and CIA – all have for decades carried on an uninterrupted struggle in Afghanistan. Attempts to… Read more »

Afghanistan – a new chapter in the Great Game?

May the shifting superpower dynamics bring hope for Afghanistan? Both Moscow and Beijing are displaying increasing interest in Afghanistan, after a decade and a half of domination by Washington. This shift is having effects in both Afghanistan and among its neighbours. the international power play surrounding Afghanistan is changing Recent news from Afghanistan has been… Read more »

Conflict Portrait: Afghanistan

The armed conflict between the Afghan government, along with its international allies, and armed radical Islamist insurgents intensified after 2014. At the end of that year, the mandate of the NATO-led ISAF combat mission expired, and the responsibility for security was officially handed over to the Afghan authorities. ISAF was replaced by a far smaller… Read more »

Women, Peace and Security?

The Norwegian government had lofty ambitions to implement UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in Faryab Province in Afghanistan. However, attempts to realise these ambitions were half-hearted. The role of the gender adviser became a political alibi for the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team’s haphazard efforts to implement the resolution. The UN Security Council… Read more »

Rhetoric as Required

From “the pre-emptive defence of Norway”, to “conflict resolution and peace”, even in the event of “war-like actions”, Norwegian politicians have adapted their rhetoric on Afghanistan as required by circumstances and public opinion. From day one, the Norwegian government has been enthusiastic in its support of intervention in Afghanistan. But over the years many different… Read more »

Political Defeat – Military Inadequacy! The Swaddling Blanket of Intervention

The military interventions by the West in the Middle East, Afghanistan and North Africa in recent years are examples of bold and efficient use of force resulting in immediate achievement of goals. Saddam Hussein’s military forces were defeated, the Taliban were deprived of their havens and possible massacres in Libya were prevented. The attempts however… Read more »