Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Economy, Development, Environment

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.

Before the Deluge: How to mitigate the risk of flooding in Afghanistan

Mhd Assem Mayar

In Afghanistan’s rugged landscape, floods arise from a multiplicity of causes: torrential rainfall, rain on snow, the rapid melting of snow due to warmer weather, glacial lake outbursts, the overflow of natural ponds or even the breach of dams. Regardless of their origins, floods can destroy whole villages, ruin farmland and change the very landscape. Almost […]

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A man walks along the edge of farmland submerged by the flash floods in the Khandaqa area of Zurmat district near the border of Ghanzi and Paktia provinces, Afghanistan. Photo: Sayed Asadullah Sadat, April 2024

After the Deluge: Personal accounts of rain and floods in Zurmat district

Sayed Asadullah Sadat

The rain and snow that has fallen in recent weeks has eased the hearts of Afghan farmers and given them hope that the multi-year drought has finally ended. At the same time, heavy rain falling on dry, parched land has caused flooding in many areas of Afghanistan. Hundreds of people have been killed in recent […]

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The Daily Hustle: The trials and tribulations of being a street vendor in Kabul

Sayed Asadullah Sadat Roxanna Shapour

For anyone who has spent any time in Kabul, handcart sellers and street vendors are a familiar sight, as they walk around the city hawking their wares from dusk to dawn trying to eke out a meagre living for their families. Street vendors say that more and more young Afghans have been joining their ranks, […]

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Finally, Rain and Snow in Afghanistan: Will it be enough to avert another year of drought?

Kate Clark AAN Team

The last few weeks have finally seen rain and snowfall in Afghanistan, raising hopes for farmers and herders that this year could be better than the last three drought years. Afghans typically categorise a drought year as one where the low amount of precipitation causes problems for agriculture – a poor harvest or crop failure […]

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A farmer walks through his destroyed poppy field on the outskirts of Lashkargah in Helmand Province. Photo by Sanaullah Seiam/AFP, 9 April 2023

The Opium Ban: The impact on small farmers, sharecroppers and labourers in Helmand province

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Jelena Bjelica

In what used to be Afghanistan’s largest poppy-growing province, Helmand, cultivation plummeted by 99 per cent in 2023 following the Islamic Emirate’s ban on the crop in April 2022. Although opium trading largely continued, which brought windfall profits to anyone with opium stocks to sell, the ban on cultivation has caused unemployment and an economic […]

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Of Hunters and Hunted (2): Falconry, bird smuggling and wildlife conservation

Fabrizio Foschini

The cold weather marks the start of the hunting season in many countries across the world. In Afghanistan, despite a hunting ban, this time of year sees the resumption of particular hunting-related activities. One particular group of hunters – raptor birds migrating through the country – become the hunted. Every year, some are caught and […]

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The exclusive Sherpur neighbourhood in Kabul, built in 2003 after Kabul Chief of Police Abdul Bashir Salangi, on the orders of Minister of Defence Qasim Fahim, bulldozed the mud-built houses of poor residents: plots were subsequently distributed largely to their factional comrades from Shura-ye Nizar. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP, 2022

Land in Afghanistan: This time, retaking instead of grabbing land?

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

When the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) retook power, it started reclaiming state land that had been seized during previous administrations. In October 2022, the IEA established the Land-Grabbing Prevention and Restitution Commission, within the Ministry of Justice, whose purpose is to investigate land-grabbing under the Islamic Republic, restore any state land and prevent it […]

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The Long Winding River: Unravelling the water dispute between Afghanistan and Iran

Mhd Assem Mayar Roxanna Shapour

Afghanistan and Iran have been at loggerheads for much of this year over the Helmand River and its water. As the region grappled with a punishing drought for the third year running, the two neighbouring countries have been locked in a tense melee over shared transboundary rivers. While Iran seeks to assert its rights over […]

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A poppy farmer and labourer by the farmer's crop in Nad Ali district, Helmand Province in spring 2015. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

Prosperity or Penury: The political and economic fallout of the opium ban in Afghanistan

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports, one from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and another by David Mansfield and Alcis, show that Afghan farmers have largely complied with the Islamic Emirate’s ban on opium cultivation. They chart a swingeing cut in cultivation in 2023 – just 10,000 to 30,000 hectares of land sown with opium […]

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Nature’s Fury: The Herat earthquakes of 2023

Roxanna Shapour

The earth has continued to shudder in Herat province ever since the first of a series of deadly earthquakes hit the province on Saturday 7 October around 11am local time. They have destroyed entire villages and killed and injured thousands of people. Since then, dozens more tremors, including three powerful earthquakes have caused additional havoc […]

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Goods trucks cross from Afghanistan into Pakistan at Torkham. Photo: Shafiullah Kakar/AFP, 25 February 2023

Survival and Stagnation: The State of the Afghan economy

Kate Clark

This paper is an attempt to give an overview of the Afghan economy in light of two new World Bank reports, one on the economy, two years on from the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and a second on the welfare of households. The Emirate has not published budgets for this year […]

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Residents sit with a plate of eaten watermelon at a restaurant in Mirai bazaar in Andar district of Ghazni, after it was re-taken by the Taleban. Photo: Wakil Khosar/AFP, 3 June 2021

Finding Business Opportunity after Conflict: Shopkeepers, civil servants and farmers in Andar district

Sabawoon Samim

Andar district in Ghazni province was a battleground for most of the years of the Islamic Republic, from 2003 up until its fall in 2021. The conflict caused not only loss of life, but also severe damage and disruption to business. Andar’s economy is once again fully functional and, for the time being, it is […]

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