Armed Conflicts

Afghanistan – Another Viet Nam?

There are several points of similarity between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Viet Nam. The Taliban, like the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, proved to be formidable tacticians and fighters. They managed to contain a far better equipped opponent and mount effective counteroffensives; access sufficient domestic and foreign funding to pay their fighters and support their families; build a formidable intelligence network; and acquire necessary technical capabilities in areas such as repair and maintenance of small arms.

Afghanistan – a Turning Point?

Headlines in the press, live TV and internet coverage of the chaos at Kabul airport following the American withdrawal from Afghanistan has generated an impression around the world of an American foreign policy debacle, belittling the supremacy of American military power.

Journalists in Hiding to IPS: Silencing Women Journalists, is Silencing the Voice of Afghan Women

“If I fall into the hands of the Taliban, not only me but my family will be killed,” said AB, 23*, who worked as a broadcast journalist for the past seven years and is a well-known face on the television screen.

Biden’s Revenge: Fueling ‘Madness of Militarism’ in Afghanistan

Joe Biden provided a stirring soundbite days ago when he spoke from the White House just after suicide bombers killed 13 U.S. troops and 170 Afghans at a Kabul airport: “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

Closed Borders and Hostile Receptions Await Afghan Refugees

Whether desperately trying to get a place on the last evacuation flights out of Kabul or trekking to the borders with neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, tens of thousands of Afghans are fleeing their country once more. Events are unfolding at speed. The Taliban are establishing a central government in the capital to fill the void of the collapsed western-backed administration, but they do not control all the country as the protracted civil war enters a new stage. The UN refugee agency UNHCR says that in its “worst case scenario” it is preparing for around 500,000 new refugees in the region by the end of this year. As with many past estimates that could prove optimistic.

The Taliban Win: The Aftermath in Afghanistan and in the World

Some years ago, on a piece on the Afghan crisis I had written that Mullah Omar’s face bore no resemblance to that of the impossibly beautiful, albeit mythical, Helen of Troy. Yet it too had caused the launch of a thousand ships (airships to be more precise), just as Helen’s had done in Homer’s epic tale, the Iliad. Like Troy in that ancient narrative, Afghanistan of the present times was swarmed with invaders who could also be seen as the counterparts of those Greeks- the Americans and their NATO allies. This war lasted for double the time of the Trojan episode, twenty years instead of ten. At its end it led to a reverse situation, victory of the Trojans, in this case, of the Taliban. Though the Greeks destroyed Troy by the ruse of a gift of the Wooden Horse, eventually a Trojan warrior, Aeneid, sailed to southern Mediterranean and laid the foundation of the Rome and its empire. The Greek epoch ultimately yielded to the Roman age, and the annals of geopolitics of that time took a completely new turn. Will the impact of the Afghan war be the same? Shall we see a power transformation in a new paradigm from what we have at the present time? Will American predominance make way for a risen China, now or in the future?

After Afghanistan, War’s Idealists Must Accept Defeat

As the Western occupation of Afghanistan has come to an end, TV news is broadcasting harrowing scenes of death and destruction, citizens in fear, allies abandoned, and dreams dashed.

The Tragedy of Afghanistan: Is there a Way Forward?

The desperate scenes at Kabul airport of Afghans trying to flee and the image of the US Airforce flight taxying down the runway with people scrambling to climb on, is an image that will be etched on our minds forever.

“Don’t Call It Ethnic. Ituri Conflict Is a Mystery”

It is a metallic sound, harmless. It lasts just over a second, but it can become as sharp as a machete blade or as devastating as the burst from an assault rifle. It is a beep, just the beep of a phone notification. A woman is on the ground, her belly open, her intestines exposed and her severed head resting on her arm. A pagne of colorful fabric still girds her hips. Where? Why? Then, a video. Do you hear those voices? It happened there, in that village. It was them who did it, it was them.

Afghanistan – What Will Happen Now?

As I write this, India has just celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence from British rule (Pakistan celebrated it a day earlier). But there is little cause for celebration. A dark shadow looms over both countries, indeed over much of the world as well.

Eastern DRC Under a State of Siege: A Bitter Pill in North Kivu

On May 6, 2021, after a decision by President Félix Tshisekedi, a state of siege was established in Ituri and North Kivu, two provinces that are located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and that are in the grip of endless violence.

Where Did We Go So Wrong in Afghanistan?

President Biden’s decision to finally withdraw US forces from Afghanistan was the correct decision and certainly overdue. However, the lack of preparation to do so orderly and safely was yet another terrible mistake in a string of mistakes that have plagued the US from day one.

Were US War Profiteers the Ultimate Winners in Battle-Scarred Afghanistan?

As the 20-year-old occupation of Afghanistan came to an inglorious end last week, there were heavy losses suffered by many-- including the United States, the Afghan military forces and the country’s civilian population.

Afghan Female Journalist: “I may not be Alive by the time US can Evacuate Me”

Steven Butler describes it as “mass panic.” As the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator has been fielding “hundreds and hundreds” of daily pleas from journalists asking for help to flee the country.

How Many More Innocent Lives Must be Lost in Tigray, asks Adama Dieng

Despite a June 30 unilateral ceasefire declaration by Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed, United Nations agencies say a recent escalation in fighting has been ‘disastrous’ for children, amid reports of over 100 children being killed in an attack on displaced families.

As the Taliban Returns, 20 Years of Progress for Women Looks Set to Disappear Overnight

As the Taliban takes control of the country, Afghanistan has again become an extremely dangerous place to be a woman.

We Were Born to Do This!

The first time I visited South Sudan in 2004 - prior to its independence - I travelled across the entire the country which was then a region devastated by man’s inhumanity to man. Although South Sudan is slightly larger than France, I could find only one concrete school building in Rumbek.

Between Horror and Hope in the Villages of Ituri

“We have buried twenty-eight people. I have seen them with my own eyes. We also found three bodies in the fields and buried them too. I can show them to you. It’s not far from here. We buried them there.” The man points to the hills. He doesn’t want to show his face or say his name, but he agrees that his voice can be recorded, so that his words don’t get lost. The camera can’t shoot him; it can only look at the tall grass or at the forest towards the countryside where it is no longer possible to cultivate food. The man talks while music from Lengabo’s catholic church marks the time of truce and hope.

Multilateral Peace Operations in 2020: Developments & Trends

The first year of the Covid-19 pandemic saw wide-ranging impacts on multilateral peace operations. The crisis simultaneously affected all operations, host nations, headquarters and contributing countries. It caused major disruption—from the political-strategic level where mandates are drawn up, down to the operational and tactical levels.

DR Congo, Ituri. Fleeing War, Weaving Life in IDP Camps of Bunia

He moves aside the curtain, thin as gauze, and then bends over. The darkness dazzles for a few seconds when one enters the house—actually, a den made of earth where air and light filter through the narrow entrance. Jean de Dieu Amani Paye holds her tiny baby, wrapped in an elegant fabric, in his arms. He was a teacher of French and Latin and had a small business. He also cultivated the land: cassava, corn, sorghum, and beans.

Alarming Crisis of Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists in DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most hostile and dangerous regions for journalists. A complex conflict, deeply rooted in the country’s past, allows very little freedom, both movement and the press.

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