The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) is an independent non-profit policy research organisation. It aims to bring together the knowledge, experience and drive of a researchers, analysts and experts to better inform policy and to increase the understanding of Afghan realities. It is driven by engagement and curiosity and is committed to producing analysis on Afghanistan and its region, which is independent, of high quality and research-based. We are committed to be bi-taraf but not bi-tafawut – impartial, but not indifferent.
Since its establishment in 2009, AAN’s publications have informed and influenced the work of Afghan and international policymakers, journalists, development workers and academics and others interested in Afghanistan and its region. AAN’s analysts are regularly asked to speak at conferences and briefings around the world, and frequently appear as commentators in the media.
AAN has a light institutional structure that includes an Executive Board with overall responsibility for AAN and its work, and a small team of analysts and researchers working from the AAN’s office in Kabul.
The Afghanistan Analysts Network is registered in Germany as an association (eingetragener Verein, e.V.) with registration number VR28652B, and as a non-profit research organisation at the Ministry of Economy in Kabul under registration number 341, dated 17.6.1388.
AAN’s work is supported by an international advisory board and members.
AIM AND PRIORITY AREAS
AAN’s focus is on research and on producing high-quality, impartial analysis about Afghanistan and its region. AAN’s aim is to provide solid ground for informed policy-making nationally and internationally, to ensure that Afghanistan stays on the international agenda and that lessons are learnt for future policy-making. We wish to contribute to fact-based, thoughtful and nuanced reporting and debate about Afghanistan among analysts, academics and the general public – in Afghanistan and internationally.
AAN’s research approach is conflict-sensitive, rights-based and with a focus on gender and marginalised groups. It focuses on eight priority areas crucial for sound policy-making on Afghanistan:
- War and Peace. This brings together AAN’s reporting on the conflict in Afghanistan, its underlying causes and drivers, the various armed actors and how it affects Afghans in their everyday lives. It includes our reporting on how the war is fought with investigations into civilian casualties, detentions and the use of torture and analysis of military strategy. A deep and nuanced understanding of the conflict also informs our reporting on the various formal and informal attempts to end the war, establish a viable peace process and, eventually, peace.
- Political Landscape. This encompasses AAN’s reporting on Afghanistan’s major political events, including elections, the formation of cabinets and other appointments, the key political actors and their trajectories, and the many under-reported political trends. We believe a greater understanding of Afghanistan´s political dynamics can help reduce polarisation, encourage politics that are neither violent nor exploitative, and inform thoughtful international policies in and beyond Afghanistan itself.
- Rights and Freedoms. This comprises AAN’s reporting on human rights, including women’s rights, media freedom, rule of law, governance and democratisation. Although AAN is not an advocacy organisation, we do assume a ‘watchdog’ function with regard to human rights and, specifically, the rights of women, minorities and those without wealth or connections.
- Migration. This covers migration flows in and out of, and within Afghanistan, that is: Afghan migration to Europe; the situation for refugees in, and returnees from Pakistan and Iran and; internally displaced persons. We also look at policy making, including internationally and as as it affects the rights and entitlements of IDPs and returnees . This is a contested subject, politically, and our hope is that providing facts and the experiences of migrants and their families helps those making policy and working in the field.
- Economy, the Environment and Development. This priority area covers Afghanistan’s political economy, economic development and poverty, with a focus on sectors with important political and/or rule of law implications, such as mining, banking and transport and, in the past, the private security sector. It also covers the government’s use of funds, including budgeting and corruption, and going forward, reporting on climate change and the environment. With this reporting, we hope to inform and policy making and, where relevant, perform a watchdog function.
- Regional relations. This covers AAN’s reporting on Afghanistan’s relations within its neighbourhood, with reporting so far focused mainly on Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian republics. AAN’s analysis explores how evolving regional relationships affect the potential for cooperation and destabilisation within the region,
- International Engagement. This covers reporting on various strands of the international intervention – military, diplomatic and, development and humanitarian aid. It includes analysis of high-level strategies, significant international conferences, major trends, as well as reporting on specific programmes. Through this reporting, AAN aims to inform more rigorous exercises in learning lessons and taking stock of policies and to explain the possibilities and pitfalls inherent in international interventions.
- Context and Culture. This encompasses the wide array of subjects that illustrate Afghanistan’s rich history, arts, literature and culture, and the many ways Afghan society is changing and evolving. In this priority area, we explore under-reported or not-yet-reported topics, showcasing how Afghanistan is so much more than just a country plagued by war.