Category Archives: Articles

Talking to the Taliban after Karzai

Afghanistan’s presidential election a week ago has challenged any notion that the country is about to fall into the lap of the Taliban. Ahead of the vote on April 5, eight candidates vying to replace President Hamid Karzai traveled to all regions of the country, even undertaking walkabouts in provinces normally considered chronically insecure. They attracted thousands of supporters to their rallies and millions to polling…more…


The Taliban’s Qatar office is a positive step, but not a prologue to peace

The Taliban’s establishment of a negotiating team is welcome, but don’t expect their ‘talk and fight’ strategy to end anytime soon.

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The Afghan Taliban opened an office in Qatar on Tuesday to help restart talks on ending the 12-year-old war. Photograph: Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters

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Taliban commander: “I was relieved at the death of Osama”

“Mawlvi”, a veteran Taliban commander, shares insights into the movement’s thinking, relations with Pakistan and Hamid Karzai’s future, in this exclusive interview from behind Afghanistan’s “iron curtain”. more

How to export the principles of the peace process – IRISH TIMES

Could the Northern Ireland peace process help resolve divisions elsewhere? Five experts in conflict resolution believe so, as they tell read more

What Post-Qaddafi Libya Has to Learn From Afghanistan

What Post-Qaddafi Libya Has to Learn From Afghanistan

Sounds of celebration echoed from several quarters yesterday after Libya’s interim government announced the death of former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. The European Union, members of which led the NATO campaign that contributed to Qaddafi’s ouster, said his death marked “the end of an era of despotism.” U.S. President Barack Obama said it brought to a close a “long and painful chapter for the people of Libya.” And for the revolutionary rebel forces that fought a grueling two-steps-forward,

Osama bin Laden’s death gives peace a chance in Afghanistan


The death of Osama bin Laden means the Taliban may be open to a 'new narrative' of the Afghan conflict. Photograph: Reuters

A new narrative of the Afghan conflict is now possible – and it relies on the US engaging with the Taliban in Pakistan.

Michael Semple

Article History Saturday 7 May 2011 14.00 BST

The Afghanistan conflict is a war of narrative par excellence in which every side fights for a cause unrecognisable to their foes,
based upon premises which those foes would find preposterous. For 30 years Osama bin Laden was an actor-scriptwriter in the story of the Afghan war. With him gone, the narratives of the conflict – what people are fighting for and why – are going to have to be overhauled. And this hiatus in the war might even present an opportunity for the emergence of a narrative of peace.

Osama bin Laden: death marks end of phase in war with Afghanistan

The killing of Osama bin Laden in a house in Abbottabad Cantonment marks the end of one phase of the war in Afghanistan.

Michael Semple


Article History, 3:00PM BST 02 May 2011

The post- bin Laden conflict may even move away from the issues of international terrorism and back to the challenge of Afghans finding a way to live together.

Wikileaks Afghanistan: leaks must be treated with caution

Afghan proverbs probably provide as much guidance on how to survive in the country as do many of the intelligence reports we have all just been given a chance to read.

Pakistan and Afghanistan: interdependent, distrustful neighbours

The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan is a lot more complex than described in the stories of ISI goons.

Michael Semple


  • No one should be surprised that 180 of the leaked intelligence reportssound alarm bells about the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service in Afghan insurgency. Plenty such alarm bells have been sounded in the public domain already. But it is important that policymakers draw the right conclusions.

Success in Afghanistan? Not by 2011

By Michael Semple, Special to CNN

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Dublin (CNN) — The day of the Gen. McChrystal mea culpa last week, an Afghan friend of mine, whom we can call Osman, drove from Kandahar city to his native village. A group of Taliban stopped the car and demanded to search Osman and his companions.

This search has become a fact of life since the movement re-established its control over villages in Panjwai, a district in Kandahar province.