Stories from Afghanistan


Haji Amanullah.jpg

How US drone strike, political betrayal drove ageing militant commander closer to Daesh

Arab News

March 2, 2018

KUNAR, Afghanistan: Hajji Amanullah had been walking through the night, hoping to use the cover of darkness to shake off the Americans hunting him down, when he again heard the familiar low-pitched hum of the drone that seemed to watch his every move. It was early on the morning of June 24, 2017, near the end of Ramadan, and for the past few days the unmanned aerial vehicle had been doggedly following the insurgent commander as he traversed the boulder-strewn peaks and valleys that form the district of Shaygal, in eastern Afghanistan.

Almost 180 coalition troops had been killed in the surrounding province of Kunar since the war began in 2001 and Amanullah was the architect of much of the bloodshed. As a senior figure in the Islamist group Hizb-e Islami (the Islamic Party), he had clashed with the Americans dozens of times. Only now did he realize that this was their moment of revenge.

He had been using a torch to light a path through the rugged terrain and just as he recognized his mistake and paused to switch it off, a loud tearing sound split the sky. The first missile hit the ground in front of him, throwing him to the floor....


Trump's New War in Afghanistan

Le monde diplomatique

October 25, 2017

The hundreds of worshippers had only just stood up to pray in the Imam Zaman mosque, in the Khair Khana neighbourhood of north Kabul, when the first gunshot split the air outside.

It was early afternoon on Friday 25 August, days after the US president had unveiled a new strategy to win the war in Afghanistan, and the congregation scrambled for cover as two suicide bombers entered the building from the rear entrance. One of them wore a police uniform, the other was in traditional local dress, plus a combat vest for carrying grenades and ammunition. Both were clean-shaven and young, probably in their mid-20s.

Armed with Kalashnikovs, the bombers strode towards the front of the Shia mosque and opened fire indiscriminately — shots tearing into a group of men and boys hiding under a staircase to the right of the imam’s lectern. They then walked under an engraving that proclaimed ‘There is no God but God and Mohammed is His messenger’ and began to climb a staircase in the opposite corner. On reaching the upper floor, which covered three sides of the mosque and was reserved for women and girls, they started shooting again. This time the bursts of fire from their assault rifles lasted much longer....


Three Brother's fall Victim to Afghanistan's Murky Past

The National

March 22, 2016

ASADABAD, Afghanistan // They were three brothers who spent years working as street vendors in eastern Afghanistan, desperately trying to save enough for a new family home.

But on the morning of February 27, Habibullah, Ehsanullah and Rohullah fell victim to the violence they had known all their lives, innocent bystanders in a suicide bombing with murky origins in the country’s past.

Although the exact reason for the attack in Kunar province is unclear, and no one has claimed responsibility, its roots run through decades of war and political intrigue – from the anti-Soviet resistance of the 1980s to the US hunt for Osama bin Laden and the current fight against the Taliban...