Articles on Afghanistan

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A US Chinook similar to the one involved in the gun battle of Takur Ghar. Flickr/The U S Army

Bad space weather may have caused fatal Afghan gun battle

Three American soldiers* may have died in Afghanistan’s battle of Takur Ghar because of disruptions caused by plasma bubbles – a form of space weather – according to a new study. Space weather is normally…
David Cameron and Anders Fogh Rasmussen have a plan. Luke MacGregor/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Explainer: what’s on the agenda at the NATO summit?

NATO member states are meeting this week in Wales at what could prove a milestone summit. Since the 2012 Chicago meeting, the security landscape has changed dramatically and important questions about NATO’s…
A Sikh shopkeeper in Kabul. koldo hormaza

Explainer: who are the Afghan Sikhs?

The recent discovery of 35 men, women and children in a shipping container at Tilbury docks in Essex is shocking for many reasons. Few had known that people were being brought into the UK in shipping containers…
Concerns about security of US-trained Afghan military. EPA/Jalil Rezayee

Killing of US general in Kabul raises fears of Taliban resurgence

The US major-general killed in an insider attack at a military academy near Kabul is the highest-ranked US casualty since 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 15 officers were wounded, including…
Preliminary election results released on July 7 put Ashraf Ghani as winner of the Afghan presidential poll. Jawad Jalali/EPA

Solution to Afghan election crisis lies in elite power-broking

Ashraf Ghani, the former Afghan finance minister, is leading the race to replace Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan, according to the preliminary results announced on July 7 by the Independent Election…
Ben Quilty, Captain S, after Afghanistan, 2012, oil on linen, 140 x 190cm.

Battle lines: the onward march of war art in Australia

War art, like war, changes with time – but not as much as we might like to believe. So what is its function, and how has it evolved over time? Two current exhibitions – the travelling show Ben Quilty…
Bowe Bergdahl was released in a prisoner exchange on 31 May. Intelcenter Handout/EPA

Can Bowe Bergdahl really have forgotten how to speak English?

When US soldier Bowe Bergdahl was released after being held captive by the Afghan Taliban for five years, his father said his son was “having trouble speaking English”. Many will find this statement incredible…
Drone strikes may be slowing in Pakistan, but the damage has already been done. EPA/Nadeem Khawer

New data shows drones killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians

The US’s program of drone strikes in Pakistan has, according to recent reports, slowed down considerably. But while this will encourage various observers, and while the Obama administration earned some…
Afghanistan’s Hazara minority has a huge stake in the future of democracy. EPA/Jawad Jalali

Afghanistan’s Hazara minority flexes its political muscles

Given that no census has been conducted in Afghanistan since 1979, it’s unclear whether the Hazara ethnic minority constitute 9% or near 20% of the country’s population. What is clear, however, is that…
Professor turned politician: Ashraf Ghani. EPA/S. Sabawoon

Afghan election: Ashraf Ghani, my friend the frontrunner

Friendship is rare and to call a person “friend” is a serious matter. It’s not complicated – it implies really looking forward to the next conversation with that person. It implies sharing ideas, hopes…
Could Afghanistan’s cricketers become unlikely ambassadors for their country and bring relief to it in its current state of volatility? Afghanistan Cricket Board

Sport in conflict: can cricket heal war-torn Afghanistan?

Sport has emerged as an unlikely hero for one nation that continues to deal with violent internal conflicts. Afghanistan beat Australia at last month’s under-19 Cricket World Cup in Abu Dhabi, while the…
Fasten your seatbelts. Eliezer Gabriel

Kabul is no safe haven for deported Afghan refugees

We crossed the courtyard and followed 16-year-old Amin around the back of the house. We removed our shoes, walked down the dark hallway and turned into the small dark room. The two youngest children sat…
Where does the ADF’s deep-seated resentment of the media come from, and how did it manifest in Afghanistan? AAP/Department of Defence

Don’t mention the war: lessons for the media from Afghanistan

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has long been wary of the media’s power to derail its promotional narratives and damage careers in the process. But there was nothing irrational about its members’ determination…
The gains made over the past 13 years may be squandered if the troop withdrawal also marks an end to any serious engagement with the country. United Nations Photo

With troops set to withdraw, what’s in store for Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has a special place in the history of international relations, having tested and endorsed many international power equations over the years. But given the imminent troop withdrawal, serious…
Malala Yousafzai on her way to attend her first day at school after she was shot by the Taliban last year. EPA

Why Malala matters: the Taliban’s war on women continues

One Pakistani teenage girl is back where she belongs: in school. But Malala Yousafzai, who was shot last year for campaigning for female education by the Taliban, is not your average school girl. Already…
Under President Karzai women now can study, hold office and choose not to wear the burqua. Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection

Challenging stereotypes of Afghan women as the West withdraws

As the withdrawal of foreign troops nears, with a full withdrawal expected by the end of 2014, Afghanistan has re-emerged as a major issue in Australian politics. Those worried about Australian casualties…

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