What We Stand For


AAN’s work is driven by the wish to contribute to Afghanistan’s well-being through research, analysis and the publication of findings. In doing so we focus on the following fields:

War, peace and politics

We believe that the priority for all actors in Afghanistan should be to end the cycles of violence and to lay the basis for a stable and peaceful future. Many of Afghanistan´s immediate conflicts, as well as opportunities for their resolution, are linked to the country’s internal politics and the use and abuse of power. A greater understanding of political dynamics can help reduce polarisation, inform more thoughtful international partnering and encourage politics that are neither violent nor exploitative.

Economy and development

We believe that Afghanistan´s politicals cannot be understood without studying the economic interests and developments in the country. Moreover, a stable Afghanistan will largely depend on the establishment of a healthy economy, the reduction of poverty, the curtailing of exploitation, the strengthening of the rule of law and a more needs-oriented, Afghan-driven development cooperation. This calls for greater insight in the nature of Afghanistan’s economy and how it impacts both conflict and stability.

The democratic space

We believe that a tolerant, pluralistic society – with legislation that is unambiguous, just, and widely and fairly implemented by credible, impartial institutions – provides the strongest foundation for a stable and peaceful future. The challenges posed by poverty, insecurity, political rivalries and the tension between tradition and modernism cannot be an excuse for intolerance, political exclusion, the violation of basic rights, the absence of redress for abuses or the continued marginalisation of women, minorities and those without wealth or connections.

The role of the region

We believe that Afghanistan will not be peaceful without the constructive involvement of its neighbouring countries and the other main regional actors. So far, the international intervention in Afghanistan has been disproportionately based on a Western perspective; there is a need to pay much greater attention – both analytically and in terms of realistic policy making – to the potential for both cooperation and destabilisation within the region.

Commitment to Afghanistan

We believe that although often well-intentioned, the international intervention in Afghanistan has suffered from the multitude of diverging agendas and interests – between nations and institutions, and between the various military and civilian strands of the intervention. Projects and policies have often been driven by domestic considerations of donor countries and far-removed from the realities on the ground. As a result, the impact of the intervention has been relatively limited, compared to the size of the investments, and its durability questionable. Learning the lessons of the past can inform better policy making in the future.

Basing our work on a long-term commitment to Afghanistan and a deep respect for the Afghan people, we aim to provide a perspective that focuses on Afghan realities, that facilitates constructive policies and that allows the learning of important lessons. In doing so, we aim to be bi-taraf but not bi-tafawud – impartial but not indifferent. This is the cornerstone of AAN´s existence.