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.

A wedding hall in Kabul, August 2022. The age of first marriage had been rising in Afghanistan. However, increasing numbers of child marriages, driven by economic distress, are being reported. Photo: Daniel Leal/AFP.

Living in a Collapsed Economy (4): The desperation and guilt of giving a young daughter in marriage 

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The collapse of the economy has led families across Afghanistan to make desperate decisions, including giving young daughters in marriage in exchange for a bride price. AAN interviewed four fathers who spoke about the pressures of debt and the emotional turmoil and guilt that surrounded the decision.

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A girl harvests cotton in Dawlatabad District, Balkh province. The Taleban have rolled out new taxes on agricultural production. This represents a massive transfer of resources from the rural economy to the state, money which till now the Emirate has not accounted for. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP, 28 October 2021.

New AAN Special Report: “Taxing the Afghan Nation: What the Taleban’s pursuit of domestic revenues means for citizens, the economy and the state”

Kate Clark AAN Team

On 15 August 2021, much in Afghanistan was overturned or radically altered. The insurgents became the rulers and the old elites fled. Afghanistan’s relationship with the rest of the world ruptured and the country became poorer overnight. It also went from being a state where the administration was reliant on foreign donors and military support […]

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The Climate Change Crisis in Afghanistan: The catastrophe worsens – what hope for action?

Mhd Assem Mayar

The earth has only one atmosphere, and the effects of climate change transcend political boundaries. Afghanistan is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases, but among the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change. The harm is already evident in the increased frequency of droughts, which are causing hunger and distress, and unfortunately, […]

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Food Aid in a Collapsed Economy: Relief, tensions and allegations

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

A major focus of the international humanitarian response to Afghanistan’s economic collapse has been a ramped-up distribution of food aid, as large parts of the population no longer have the income to buy enough food for their families. In this fourth instalment of our economic research based on interviews conducted across Afghanistan, we look at […]

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The Fourth Wave of Covid-19 Hits Afghanistan: “According to Sharia keeping yourself healthy is a must”

Rohullah Sorush Thomas Ruttig

Another wave of Covid-19 struck Afghanistan early in 2022 with doctors throughout the country reporting a rise in cases from January onwards. The devastation suffered by the Afghan health system since the suspension of most foreign aid following the Taleban takeover left it wholly unprepared to deal with the wave. While cases are now tailing […]

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opium 2022

The New Taleban’s Opium Ban: The same political strategy 20 years on?

Jelena Bjelica Kate Clark

Seven and a half months after they took power in Afghanistan, the Taleban have officially banned opium. Observers had been waiting to see if they would implement their promise to ban narcotics made shortly after they captured Kabul. The ban has come at the beginning of the opium harvest and at a time when Afghans […]

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Crops not Watered, Fruit Rotting: Kandahar’s agriculture hit by war, drought and closed customs gates

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Farmers across Afghanistan have been hit hard by drought and fighting in recent years. In this report, we look at how this has affected agriculture in one province, Kandahar, famous for its fruit production. Much of the fruit crop is – or should be – exported, yet the frequent and unpredictable closure of crossings into […]

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Living in a Collapsed Economy (3): Surviving poverty, food insecurity and the harsh winter

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

In this third instalment of ‘Living in a Collapsed Economy,’ we returned to the people we interviewed at the beginning of winter to find out how they had managed since we last spoke to them, especially during the harsh winter months. For many of them, not much had changed, although their situation had slowly worsened […]

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A child makes bricks in a mould at a brick kiln in Kandahar. For the families in our study from Sar-e Pul, working in the brick kilns in Mazar-e Sharif was a last resort, but by 2016, 70 per cent of households were migrating there seasonally, with men, women and children working. Households could easily fall into debt-bondage. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP, November 2021

Living With Radical Uncertainty in Rural Afghanistan: The work of survival

Adam Pain

Yet again, Afghanistan is experiencing a moment of rupture, the latest in a long series of upheavals that have marked the lives of most Afghans over the age of 55. For those living in rural areas, unpredictability is created not only by regime change or violent conflict, but also drought, flooding and other natural disasters. […]

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Living in a Collapsed Economy (2): Even the people who still have money are struggling

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

In this second instalment of ‘Living in a Collapsed Economy,’ we seek to map what Afghanistan’s economic collapse means, at the household level, for the relatively fortunate – those who were wealthy to start with or had a diverse set of income streams, as well as those who still have a stable salary. We hear […]

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Realpolitik and the 2021 National Budget: The toxic struggle for money and power that undermined Afghanistan’s Republic

Roxanna Shapour

The 2021 new year did not get off to a promising start in Afghanistan. The conflict was raging, violence was at an all-time high for winter and the so-called peace talks were hobbling along in Doha. In what turned out to be the waning months of the Republic, lawmakers and government were deep in the […]

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Living in a Collapsed Economy (1): A cook, a labourer, a migrant worker, a small trader and a factory owner tell us what their lives look like now

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

In the summer of 2021 AAN started a new research project for ‘Living under the Taleban’ that looked into how life had changed in districts that were newly coming under Taleban control, one after the other, with dizzying speed. Then the Republic collapsed, mere days after we conducted our first interviews. When we picked up the […]

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