Overview: While the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is transitioning primary security responsibility to Afghan National Security Forces, the United States plans to remain politically, diplomatically, and economically engaged in Afghanistan as a strategic partner for the long term. The United States fully supports the ambitious agenda set out by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, which focuses on democracy, reintegration, economic development, improving relations with Afghanistan's regional partners, and steadily increasing the security responsibilities of Afghan security forces.

In 2011, the United States and others in the international community provided resources and expertise to Afghanistan in a variety of areas, including democratic institution building, humanitarian relief and assistance, capacity building, security needs, counter-narcotic programs, and infrastructure projects.

The Government of Afghanistan's response to the September 20 assassination of former President Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, Head of the High Peace Council, is likely to have had an impact on the ability of terrorists to attack or operate successfully. After this event, the Government of Afghanistan improved security procedures for senior Afghan officials and high-level interactions, including turban searches and increased Presidential Palace security.

2011 Terrorist Incidents: Major population centers across Afghanistan saw coordinated, complex suicide attacks against Coalition forces, and international and Afghan government facilities. Hotels and other venues frequented by Westerners were also targeted. Numerous high-profile Afghan Government officials were assassinated in 2011, specifically in Kabul City and Kandahar. The Taliban, HQN, and other insurgent elements demonstrated their ability to adapt to security procedures and plan attacks accordingly. In keeping with past patterns, the greater number of attacks took place over the summer months, with a steady decline as the winter season approached. Helmand and Kandahar remained the most dangerous provinces for Coalition forces.

High profile attacks that occurred in 2011 included:

  • On February 19, multiple suicide bombers attacked the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad City in Nangarhar Province, resulting in nine Afghan National Security Forces killed, 26 civilians killed, and another 70 injured.

  • On May 30, insurgents conducted two suicide attacks against the Provincial Reconstruction Team and city center in Herat City. Four people were killed and at least 37 were wounded.

  • On June 28, 11 individuals were killed when seven suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.

  • On July 27, Kandahar City Mayor Ghulam Haider Hamidi was assassinated outside his office by a lone suicide bomber with a turban-borne IED.

  • On August 19, the Taliban conducted a suicide attack against the British Council office in Kabul, killing 12.

  • On September 13, HQN attacked the U.S. embassy and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) compounds. Four Afghan civilians and a South African national working for the Kabul Embassy Security Force were injured on the embassy compound. Insurgents engaged the compounds with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from a building under construction approximately 900 meters east of the chancery building.

  • On September 20, a lone suicide bomber killed the head of the High Peace Council and former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani in his home in Kabul City.

  • On September 25, a member of the Afghan National Guard – employed at the U.S. Embassy Annex – opened fire on the Annex compound and killed one U.S. citizen employee.

  • On October 27, four insurgents attacked Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City (Provincial Reconstruction Team Compound), resulting in two local nationals killed and 15 U.S. service members wounded.

  • On December 6, terrorists conducted bombings in Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif, and Kandahar on the Shia holy day of Ashura. The combined death toll in these attacks was estimated to be 80, while over 160 more were injured.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: As a result of the year-long Parliament impasse due to disputed election results, Parliament did not pass any counterterrorism legislation in 2011. From December 18 to 21, the Afghan government hosted a workshop focused on final drafts of a modern Criminal Procedure Code and an improved Law on the Structure and Jurisdiction of the Attorney General's Office. If enacted, these reforms will codify the structure and funding of the existing Anti-Terrorism Protection Directorate in the Attorney General's Office and permit the investigation and prosecution of terrorist and national security cases using internationally-accepted methods and evidentiary rules.

Afghanistan continued to process travelers on entry and departure at major points of entry with the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). With support from the United States, Afghan authorities have expanded PISCES installations at additional locations. Afghanistan remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which began to shift its focus from the Presidential Protective Service to the Afghan government's Detachment 10 security organization, to build broader self-sustaining capacities to protect national leadership and government facilities.

The Governments of Afghanistan and the United States investigated a variety of criminal acts, including kidnappings, assassinations, contracting corruption and fraud, and other crimes against military and security forces, non-governmental organizations, and civilians. U.S. government law enforcement bodies regularly passed actionable information to the Ministry of Interior and the National Directorate of Security and Afghan authorities, who then took actions to disrupt and dismantle terrorist operations and prosecute terrorist suspects. In 2011, the Attorney General's Office investigated a total of 2,087 cases of crimes such as armed looting, taking hostages, kidnapping, treason, and membership in violent extremist armed groups, and aiding and abetting them. Of these cases, 1,427 related to provinces and 660 to Kabul. By year's end, 1,269 persons were arrested in these cases.

A number of incidents involving terrorist acts directed at U.S. citizens and facilities in 2011 were investigated by Afghan authorities.

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the Financial Action Task Force-style regional body to which Afghanistan belongs, released a report in June from its first assessment of Afghanistan. The report identified a number of areas that the government needs to address to bring Afghanistan in compliance with international standards. The Government of Afghanistan worked with the APG to develop an action plan. Terrorist financing investigations in Afghanistan were hampered by a lack of capacity, awareness, and political commitment, particularly involving prosecutors and the courts. Another finding from the APG's mutual evaluation indicated that although there were over 1,600 non-profit organizations (NPOs) registered and active in Afghanistan, no cases have been brought before the courts. According to Afghan law enforcement agencies, there have been documented instances of NPOs being used to finance terrorism. The Ministry of Economy, the primary oversight body of the NPO sector in Afghanistan, lacked sufficient resources to conduct its functions effectively.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Afghanistan consistently emphasized the need to strengthen joint cooperation to fight terrorism and extremism in a variety of bilateral and multilateral fora, including the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Commission for Peace, the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Core Group Trilateral, the September Afghanistan-Russia-Tajikistan-Pakistan quadrilateral summit, the November Istanbul Conference, and the November South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit. At the November Istanbul Conference, Afghanistan was the key driver for launching the "Istanbul Process," a regional framework that includes specific counterterrorism-related confidence-building measures. Afghanistan also co-chaired the December Bonn Conference, which brought together 100 delegations and over 1,000 delegates to call for results-oriented regional cooperation to counter terrorism. In September, the Project Global Shield (PGS) partnership focused on monitoring and curtailing the illicit diversion of 14 precursor chemicals used in the production of IEDs and reported an expansion from 60 to 71 participant countries to include the World Customs Organization and 11 international law enforcement organizations. The PGS-targeted precursors were used in insurgent IED attacks targeting civilian, Afghan, and ISAF elements in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan also continued to work with its NATO-ISAF partners as well as its regional neighbors to improve training, capacity, and counterterrorism collaboration, for example, pursuing strategic partnership agreements with a number of countries that would provide for security cooperation to counter terrorism. Afghanistan supported the United Nations General Assembly Resolution establishing the UN Centre for Counterterrorism as part of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Afghanistan has implemented a number of programs to address violent extremism and has focused on religious engagement programs. The majority of Afghan mosques and madrassas operate outside of government oversight and some transmit extremist ideology. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs have both undertaken projects to register all mosques and madrassas in Afghanistan, with limited success. President Karzai has directed the Afghan National Security Council to expand oversight of unregistered madrassas. The Government of Afghanistan planned to establish an inter-agency working group to address the issue.

The Government of Afghanistan established the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP), which targeted low and mid-level insurgents for reintegration back to their communities provided they renounce violence, abandon their alliance with al-Qa'ida, and abide by all provisions of the Afghan constitution, which includes respect for women's and minority rights. APRP worked on designing a comprehensive one-month disengagement training curriculum to counter common misperceptions among ex-combatants through a series of basic citizenship lessons, dispute/grievance resolution training, and general Islamic studies.


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