Afghanistan: challenging aid neutrality in war-torn Helmand

Offiziere, October 10 2016

There is a reason why you can find a cold Guinness in the unstable and alcohol-free Afghan capital Kabul: Globalization. For many, it is a refreshing relief from their daily struggles, which help them to cope with a life full of renunciation. Normally, those people are the humanitarian workers, who have moved to Afghanistan in the name of highest values, career building, or more cynically, the opportunity to have a generous wallet in their pocket. For others, globalization is the process whereby their own culture is weakened and questioned by an unknown outside agenda. “I have a message to send to the world. Please, stop this fight against Afghanistan. We are simple and poor people, the only thing we got is our homes”, says Mahmud.

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When ISIS Steals Your School

Warscapes, April 18 2016

Graffiti on the walls of a high school in Afghanistan’s Achin district, some 10km from the Pakistani border, reads: “Islamic Governorate of Khorasan.” Until a short time ago, the voices of diligent students, whose aim is to progress to Nangarhar University in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, were absent here. Instead, the school, financed by the Afghan government and newly painted blue, was home for eight months to many of the Islamic State’s Wilayat Khorasan fighters, the Asian faction of IS now seeking to establish itself in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of other central Asian countries. The fighters took issue, in particular, with what they decried as the school’s role in training future government employees.

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Former Guantanamo Prisoner Leads Afghanistan’s Fight Against ISIS

The Diplomat, April 1, 2016

ACHIN, AFGHANISTAN. It is nearly breakfast time in the governmental office of the Achin district, in the far east of Nangarhar province. The road from Jalalabad, the provincial capital, is a Mediterranean landscape interrupted by mud-brick fortresses topped by an Afghan flag. Less than two months ago, these very check points were constantly attacked by the Islamic State of Khorasan, the South Asian branch of the Iraq and Syria-based group. Their aim is to conquer Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Central Asia countries.

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Is the Syria conflict a new kind of war?

Middle East Monitor, November 12 2014

It was in March 2011 when Nour (name changed), a student at Damascus University, first heard raised voices in the streets of Damascus. She read on Facebook that there was a protest against the regime; she could not believe that it would really happen, but it was true. Beneath her window, hundreds of people were shouting and chanting slogans against the regime, crisscrossing the area and calling for democracy.

Her body still shakes when she remembers that day. Today, in the same city, many young men have defected from the Syrian army and are hiding inside their houses. Check points are on every corner and snipers are positioned on rooftops, controlling the movements of the residents in each neighbourhood. Laments for the 7.5 million brothers and sisters dying of hunger in the rest of the country run through the Damascene nights, along with the echo of gunfire from outside the city. Life, though, carries on in the Syrian capital, where people pray that the Free Syria Army do not enter the city to liberate them from Bashar Al-Assad. At the moment, this is still better than freedom.

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