Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Reports

Reports – previously known as dispatches – are the flagship of the AAN website and our main type of publication. AAN reports are based on extensive desk and field research and provide timely and in-depth information and analysis.

The Kot-e Sangi Bazaar in Kabul during the run-up up to Eid. Photo: Ali Sina Sorush, 20 May 2020.

AAN wishes a peaceful and healthy Eid al-Fitr to all our readers

AAN Team

After a Ramadan that has been difficult for many in Afghanistan, there is finally some better news: the Taleban have announced a three-day ceasefire to mark Eid ul-Fitr and the Afghan government has reciprocated. Acknowledging that the many people who have lost dear ones in the brutal violence this spring or are afflicted by coronavirus […]

Context and Culture Read more

The case of Mawlawi Mehdi and Balkhab District: Are the Taleban attracting Hazaras?

Thomas Ruttig

Recently, a story appeared in the media reporting that the Taleban have appointed a Shia Hazara as a shadow district governor in Sar-e Pul province. This ethno-religious group is barely represented in the insurgent movement, and stands in the way of the Taleban’s attempt to present itself as nation-wide. Mehdi, however, is not physically present […]

War and Peace Read more

End of the Post-Election Impasse? Ghani and Abdullah’s new power-sharing formula

Ali Yawar Adili

The electoral and political standoff which had beset the country for months has been ended by a new power-sharing agreement signed on 17 May 2020 by President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Dr Abdullah Abdullah. Both had claimed the presidency and held rival inaugurations in March. AAN’s researcher Ali Yawar Adili (with input from Thomas […]

Political Landscape Read more

Covid-19 in Afghanistan (3): Distributing aid and changing aid politics – view from a Herati village

S Reza Kazemi

At a time when coronavirus-related aid in Afghanistan is becoming a topic of heated discussion, and the cause of some unfortunate violent incidents, the aid that flowed into a rural community in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat was bitterly and deeply contested. With the day-to-day rhythm of life in this already impoverished village troubled by […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

A Request to Delay: Another Afghan government attempt to prevent an ICC war crimes investigation?

Ehsan Qaane

The Afghan government has submitted a request to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor to defer the ICC’s investigations in Afghanistan, on the grounds that domestic investigations are taking place into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred on Afghan soil. They argue this means there is no need for the ICC investigation. […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

From Parallel Governments to a New Form of Power-Sharing? Afghanistan’s ongoing post-election crisis

Ali Yawar Adili

Both parties claiming to be Afghanistan’s president are sending out signals that they are moving toward a new power-sharing formula. It is not clear, however, whether these signals indicate that the post-election political standoff is nearing its end. Possibly, they are just designed to reassure Afghans and the country’s international backers, the most important of […]

Political Landscape Read more

One Land, Two Rules (11): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected districts – a synthesis report

Kate Clark

In many parts of Afghanistan, the issue of who is in control is not straightforward: it may be the government or the Taleban or a mixture of both. Yet despite this – and the ongoing conflict ­– many public services continue, including health and education. How that works in practice is a question we wanted […]

War and Peace Read more
Girls and boys from Nawaabad school singing the national anthem to welcome the protesters to Ghazni city. (2018: the peace marchers)

Looking ahead to Intra-Afghan Negotiations: A scrutiny of different political groups’ plans for peace

Ali Yawar Adili Khadija Hossaini

Since the US-Taleban agreement in late February, focus has shifted to intra-Afghan negotiations, with little clarity so far as to their scope. The US-Taleban deal agreed on 29 February focused on the withdrawal of US (and other foreign) troops, and anti-terrorism guarantees by the Taleban. While waiting for talks to begin, five political groups have […]

War and Peace Read more

Flash from the Past: The 1950 Kabul Students Union and its impact on the post-WWII opposition movement

Thomas Ruttig

70 years ago, on 4 April 1950, the first students’ organisation in Afghanistan’s history was launched. The Students Union of Kabul University started as an attempt by factions in the government to gain control over a small, but enthusiastic group of activists and instrumentalise it for their own interests. This attempt backfired, and the Union […]

Context and Culture Read more

Static War: Helmand after the US Marines’ return

Andrew Quilty

In April 2017, 300 US Marines were sent back to Helmand, a province the US troops, who numbered 20,000 at their peak there, had handed over to Afghan forces less than three years earlier. The Marines’ task was to rehabilitate the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) 215th Corps and help prevent the fall of the provincial […]

War and Peace Read more

Herat City’s Reported Spike in Insecurity: What a sober reading of events reveals

S Reza Kazemi

In late 2019 and early 2020, Afghanistan’s key western city of Herat witnessed a series of security incidents, including targeted killings and attacks on the police. The increase in violence resulted in an Afghan media uproar and a swirl of local theories about what or who could be behind it. Taking a closer look at […]

War and Peace Read more
Nad Ali desert

One Land, Two Rules (10): Three case studies on Taleban sales of state land

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

As the Taleban have expanded their areas of control around the country, anecdotal reports have been popping up of Taleban commissions and commanders in several provinces selling state land. However, a closer look into the three most prominent examples – Helmand, Uruzgan and Takhar – reveals a murkier picture than media reports and claims by government […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more