Thursday, March 7, 2019

2015 in Afghanistan: Map of Taliban and "Islamic State" Control

(To see other maps in this series, view all Afghanistan updates.)

Welcome to PolGeoNow's new series of Afghanistan control maps! In the coming months, we'll publish more maps and timelines spanning the gap between 2015 and 2019, leading into routine updates of the current situation. To secure your access to all future installments, sign up now for our professional conflict map subscription service!

Where in Afghanistan is the war? Map of Taliban control in Afghanistan in October 2015, during the Taliban's takeover of Kunduz city and at the height of so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) control in Nangharhar province. Also marks areas of government control and unclear or mixed control. Includes all of Afghanistan's major cities, plus selected towns, including many sites of Taliban control. Colorblind accessible.
Basemap by Koen Adams of, with territorial control by Evan Centanni.
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Timeline by Evan Centanni

Afghanistan: Who Controlled What in 2015?

The date is October 2, 2015. In the year and a half since the low point of Taliban control shown in our April 2014 Afghanistan map, the rebel group has been steadily expanding its territory. Most recently, the Taliban have launched a surprise takeover of Kunduz city, one of northern Afghanistan's major population centers, and the first provincial capital they've controlled since their national government was overthrown in 2001. Meanwhile, as the current government pours all its resources into taking the city back, the Taliban take advantage of the chaos to seize control of various other districts across the Afghan countryside.

Meanwhile, the so-called "Islamic State" (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL), based thousands of kilometers to the west in Iraq and Syria, has established a formidable new branch in Afghanistan. This IS affiliate - known officially as "Khorasan Province" - has carved out a small territory of its own in Nangarhar, along the border with Pakistan, and is now reaching what will be the height of its power in Afghanistan. Though both IS and the Taliban are religious hardliners, IS's brutal tactics, largely foreign membership, and claimed superiority have made it an enemy of the Taliban, and left it with very little support among the Afghan people.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Libyan Civil War Map & Timeline - February 2019 (Subscription)


There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Libya updates.

Research by Djordje Djukic. Map by, Evan Centanni, and Djordje Djukic.

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Libya: Who controls what? A concise, professional map of of who controls Libya now (February 2019). Shows detailed territorial control in the Libyan Civil War as of February 24, 2019, including all major parties (Government of National Accord (GNA); Tobruk House of Representatives, General Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), and allies; Tuareg and Toubou (Tebu, Tubu) militias in the south; the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL); and other groups such as the National Salvation Government (NSG) and religious hardline fighters). Includes terrain, major roads, and recent locations of interest including Murzuq, Ghadduwah, the El Sharara and El Feel oil fields, and more. Colorblind accessible. Since last month, the Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar has rapidly expanded its control of major towns and oil fields in Libya's southwest, clashing with regional Toubou militias and threatening Tuareg militia control as well. Meanwhile, the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS/ISIL) is still active in some parts of the Libyan desert, despite its leadership facing defeat in Syria.

See all this and more on the latest update to PolGeoNow's concise, professional Libyan Civil War control map, which comes with a timeline of changes since our previous Libya control map report in July 2018.

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Exclusive report includes:
  • Up-to-date map of current territorial control in Libya, color-coded for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), the rival Tobruk parliament and Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS/ISIL), and Toubou and Tuareg militias in the south. Colorblind accessible.
  • Detailed indication of city-by-city control, including key towns and other locations important to current events.
  • Locations of recent fighting and military operations, including Murzuq, Ghadduwah, the El Sharara and El Feel oil fields, and more.
  • Detailed timeline of important events and changes to territorial control since July 19, 2018, with links to sources.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Swaziland's New Name in All Six UN Languages

Topographic map of Eswatini (Swaziland), showing terrain, rivers, bordering countries, and capital cities.
Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. Based on this map by Htonl and NordNordWest.

"Eswatini" Not Only For English

Last year, we told you about the small African Kingdom of Swaziland's name change to "Kingdom of Eswatini", which it turns out has caught on more quickly than usual in the media. Unlike Côte d'Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Timor-Leste, and Czechia, whose previous English names are still arguably dominant today, Wikipedia editors have found that most sources switched rapidly from Swaziland to Eswatini after the name change.

In our first article, we promised to let you know when the new name came through in the other official languages of the United Nations (since the UN acts as a sort of formal registry for countries' official names). Well, here they are:

Monday, February 18, 2019

How Many Countries Are There in the World in 2019?

There are newer editions of this article available. To find the most recent, view all "How Many Countries in the World" updates!

How many countries: map of the world
A world political map published by the US government.
One of the most basic questions for map-lovers is, "How many countries are there in the world?" But anyone who just gives you a number isn't telling the whole truth. It actually depends a lot on how you define a "country".

Here are six of the most common answers, each correct in its own way:

"North Macedonia" Name Change Goes Into Effect

Are there two Macedonias? Where is North Macedonia located? Why is North Macedonia called north? Map of Macedonia, including both the recently renamed North Macedonia as per the Prespa Agreement and the Greek provinces of Macedonia.
North Macedonia is "north" because most of historical Macedonia was south of it, in what's now Greece. (Contact us for permission to use this map.)

North Macedonia: New Name Adopted

Last Tuesday, the controversially-named Republic of Macedonia - also known as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) - officially become the Republic of North Macedonia. The changed entered into force exactly eight months after the country first made a deal with Greece to end their naming and identity dispute.