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Eight years after 9/11 Taliban now have a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan / Acht Jahre nach dem 11. September 2001: Die Taliban sind in 80 Prozent des Landes präsent

Ein Bericht des Londoner Forschungsinstituts ICOS-International Council on Security and Development

Acht Jahre nach dem Sturz der Taliban in Kabul haben die Islamisten nach Einschätzung des internationalen Forschungsinstituts ICOS im Großteil Afghanistans wieder Fuß gefasst. In rund 80 Prozent des Landes verfügten die Taliban über ständige Präsenz, erklärte das in London ansässige Institut International Council on Security and Development am Donnerstag (10. Sept.). Im November 2007 seien sie noch in lediglich 54 Prozent des Landes aktiv gewesen. Vor allem im Norden wurde in den vergangenen Monaten eine starke Zunahme der Taliban-Aktivitäten verzeichnet. (Nachrichtenagentur AP, 10. September 2009)

Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir die Presseveröffentlichung des Instituts zur Vorlage des Reports (englisch).
Im Anschluss daran folgt eine entsprechende Erklärung des Instituts vom Dezember 2008. Aus dem Vergleich beider Berichte geht hervor, dass die Taliban (oder das was hier unter "Taliban" subsumiert wird) in den letzten Monaten weiter an Boden gewonnen haben. Waren sie im Dezember l.J. noch in 72 Prozent des Landes "präsent", so stieg dieser Anteil bis heute auf 80 Prozent an.

Hier geht es zu einer Karte, die den aktuellen Präsenzgrad der Taliban in Afghanistan zeigt: Karte (pdf-Datei)

Eight years after 9/11 Taliban now have a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan

10 September 2009
  • Eight years after 9/11 Taliban now has a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan
  • In wake of widespread election review onset of winter could delay second round of voting until spring
  • Contingency plans needed to address constitutional vacuum in presidency
LONDON – The Taliban now have a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan, up from 72% in November 2008, according to a new map released today by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS). According to ICOS, another 17% of Afghanistan is seeing ‘substantial’ Taliban activity. Taken together, these figures show that the Taliban has a significant presence in virtually all of Afghanistan.

“Despite the presence of tens of thousands of foreign troops in Afghanistan, the return, the spread and the advance of the Taliban is now without question” said Norine MacDonald QC, President and Lead Field Researcher for ICOS.

Rapid Expansion of Taliban Footprint: Situation in Northern Afghanistan Deteriorating Fast

Previous ICOS maps showed a steady increase in the Taliban’s presence throughout Afghanistan.

In November 2007, ICOS assessed that the Taliban had a permanent presence in 54% of Afghanistan, and in November 2008, using the same methodology; the result was a finding of a permanent Taliban presence in 72% of the country.

The new map indicates that the Taliban insurgency has continued to expand its influence across Afghanistan. “The dramatic change in the last few months has been the deterioration of the situation in the north of Afghanistan, which was previously one of the most stable parts of Afghanistan. Provinces such as Kunduz and Balkh are now heavily affected by Taliban violence. Across the north of Afghanistan, there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of insurgent attacks against international, Afghan government, and civilian targets“, stated Mr. Alexander Jackson, Policy Analyst at ICOS.

“Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban has returned to touch almost every corner of Afghanistan”, said Jackson.

Run Off Vote could be Delayed until Spring

Afghanistan’s presidential elections were held on August 20. Since polling day, the Independent Election Commission, an Afghan body, has been counting votes, but is monitored by the Electoral Complaints Commission.

To take the Presidency on the first round a candidate must receive more than 50% of the votes cast. On September 8, preliminary results were released which gave incumbent President Hamid Karzai 54% of the votes. His main challenger, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, came second with 28.3%.

However, according to the Electoral Complaints Commission, the voting process was marred by indications of fraud. Hundreds of polling stations have had their results thrown out; accusations of intimidation, ballot-stuffing and fake polling centers are rife. As a result, the Electoral Complaints Commission ordered a partial recount and audit.

The Afghan Constitution states an election run-off must be held “within 2 weeks after the announcement of the election results”. However, a modified schedule had been organised stipulating a second round in the first days of October. As a result of the Electoral Complaints Commission stipulating recounts and audits, this schedule cannot be maintained and final results may well not be known for several weeks.

If a run-off or revote is necessary, this would not be hampered in the next months by the harsh winter conditions in many areas of northern Afghanistan. This would delay the second round until spring – leaving Afghanistan in a constitutional vacuum for months. There are no provisions in the Afghan Constitution to allow President Karzai to continue in the Presidency in such circumstances.

“This raises the possibility of both a lack of legal authority in the Presidency and resulting political instability and government paralysis dragging on for many months,” said MacDonald. “There are a lot of questions to be asked at the moment and no good answers being offered. Great uncertainties lie ahead.”

Urgently Needed: Constitutional Contingency Plan to Stabilise the Situation

ICOS repeats its pre-election warning, from a report released on August 7 2009, that Afghan and international observers urgently need contingency plans to respond to the situation. “Now, more than ever, the international community needs to establish a contingency plan to deal with the constitutional vacuum in Kabul,” said Jackson. “Afghanistan’s future is far from decided after this disputed August vote.”

An Unappealing Option: Declaring a State of Emergency

Under the Constitution, President Karzai may impose a state of emergency with the consent of Parliament, but this option holds a high risk of exacerbating rather than calming the current political tensions. “The Taliban has expanded its grip on Afghanistan to the point where holding another round of voting will be even more difficult. The Afghan people who did take the risk to vote in August may not be willing to risk their lives for a second round of voting - especially when the first round was so riddled with fraud”, said Jackson.

The next few weeks could see Afghanistan pulling back from the brink of chaos – or falling into the abyss.

Source: ICOS, Press Release 10 September 2009; www.icosgroup.net

Struggle For Kabul: The Taliban Advance

8 December 2008

Taliban now holds a permanent presence in 72% of Afghanistan; Up from 54% a year ago, according to new report by The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) Taliban is closing a noose around Kabul: Three out of four main highways into the capital city now compromised by Taliban ICOS calls for new Security Architecture in Afghanistan

LONDON – The Taliban now holds a permanent presence in 72% of Afghanistan, up from 54% a year ago, according to a report released today by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), an international policy think tank.

According to ICOS, Taliban forces have advanced from their southern heartlands, where they are now the de facto governing power in a number of towns and villages, to Afghanistan’s western and north-western provinces, as well as provinces north of Kabul. Within a year, the Taliban's permanent presence in the country has increased by a startling 18%, according to ICOS research on the ground in Afghanistan.

The new ICOS report also documents the advance of the Taliban on Kabul, where three out of the four main highways into Kabul are now compromised by Taliban activity. The capital city has plummeted to minimum levels of control, with the Taliban and other criminal elements infiltrating the city at will.

“The Taliban are now controlling the political and military dynamic in Afghanistan,”. said Norine MacDonald QC, President and Lead Field Researcher of ICOS.

“Despite increasingly dire levels of security in Afghanistan in recent months, there has been surprisingly little change in response from the international community," MacDonald said. "The insurgency continues to turn NATO’s weaknesses into its own strengths.”

“The Taliban are closing a noose around Kabul, and there is a real danger that the Taliban will simply overrun Afghanistan under the noses of NATO,” said Paul Burton, Director of Policy for ICOS.

Through its research platform in Afghanistan, ICOS determined the Taliban’s presence across the country using a combination of publicly recorded attacks and local perceptions of Taliban presence. One or more insurgent attacks per week in a province constitutes a “permanent Taliban presence” according to ICOS (See full methodology below).

ICOS Calls For A New Security Architecture for Afghanistan

“The current global security architecture is ill-equipped to deal with the problems that beset Afghanistan,” said MacDonald. “Quite simply, the current rulebook on how the International Community approaches these crises needs to be rewritten if we are to succeed in Afghanistan and in other conflict zones such as Iraq and Somalia.”

“Classic security instruments such as military intervention and intelligence must continue to be fully supported,” said MacDonald. “But other elements such as sustainable job creation and development should also be seen as key security instruments, along with the development of the rule of law, effective counter-narcotics policies, literacy, a free and open media and civil society and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”

In the report, ICOS makes specific recommendations for how the international community can succeed in Afghanistan.

ICOS says it is time to focus on providing ordinary Afghans with the basic necessities of life.

“It is simply unacceptable that, seven years after entering the country, the international community has not established mechanisms to ensure that every Afghan has access to food and water,” ICOS says in the report.

“Development and reconstruction efforts have been underfunded, have failed to have a significant impact on local communities’ living conditions, and have failed to improve attitudes towards the Afghan Government and the international community,” said Burton.

In the report, ICOS recommends that the international community must shift from the concept that one leader or organisation has responsibility for resolving Afghanistan. The longevity of a plan for Afghanistan should not be contingent upon the US electoral cycle and it is wrong for any actor to simply wait for President-elect Obama’s Afghan plan. ICOS says this abrogation of responsibility is letting the common goal of securing Afghanistan drift out of reach.

ICOS recommends a closer collaboration between military and development efforts. The military should now be tasked to deliver aid to ravaged areas of the south and east, which ICOS says will be crucial in responding to the immediate needs of poor and vulnerable Afghans. The report also reiterates ICOS’ call for NATO to double its force in the country to 80,000.

Source: ICOS, Press Release 8 December 2008; www.icosgroup.net


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