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.

New World Drug Report: Opium production in Afghanistan remained the same in 2019

Jelena Bjelica

The United Nations Drugs and Crime Office’s (UNODC) World Drug Report, released today, shows a decrease in the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan in 2019 following price falls after the bumper years in 2017 and 2018. However, in 2019 when weather conditions were optimal for growing poppy and plant disease absent, yields were high. Overall, that meant […]

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UNAMA’s New Report on Anti-corruption: More backsliding from government and growing frustration from donors

Jelena Bjelica

The annual UNAMA anti-corruption report released today shows that the institutional fight against graft in Afghanistan between January 2019 and April 2020 has stalled in many areas. While the report acknowledges that the reform agenda has been overshadowed by the presidential elections and the pandemic, it does not hold back from pointing to failures in […]

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The Cost of Support to Afghanistan: New special report considers the causes of inequality, poverty and a failing democracy

Kate Clark

A new AAN special report looks at why the political vision of the 2002 Bonn Agreement and 2004 constitution with its promises of a representative democracy has failed to materialise. It finds answers in the huge levels of unearned foreign income that has flowed into Afghanistan since 2001, both aid and the money spent by […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (2): Herat city between disregard and compliance

S Reza Kazemi

With around two-thirds of Afghanistan’s confirmed positive Covid-19 cases thus far, the western province of Herat is now known as the path through which the coronavirus spread from neighbouring Iran. But how have residents and government in Herat city, the provincial centre, reacted to the disease in day-to-day life? Based on observations and conversations, AAN […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (1): No large outbreak yet in the country

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan has so far been moderately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer than 100 people testing positive and four confirmed fatalities. There are strong indications that these cases may have been seeded by the outbreak in neighbouring Iran, via Afghans who returned from that country. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has compiled an overview of what […]

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Kabul’s Expanding Crime Scene (Part 2): Criminal activities and the police response

Fabrizio Foschini

In the second part of his reporting on Kabul’s crime scene, AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini deals with the characteristics of the current spike in criminality, in particular detailing the most frequent types of offences and their impact on the lives of the population. He tries to assess the difficult task of the police force in curbing […]

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Placating Ghor, For Now: 10-days protest pushed the government to respond

S Reza Kazemi

Frustrated by the exclusion of their primary development needs from Afghanistan’s budget for the coming year, a growing number of residents in the neglected and isolated central province of Ghor brought the local administration to a standstill by staging a sit-in for around ten days (21-31 January 2020). They only agreed to end their demonstration […]

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One Land, Two Rules (9): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Jalrez district of Wardak province

Ehsan Qaane

Ethnically-mixed Jalrez district has seen increased Taleban activity since 2014, with approximately half of it now under their control. The district centre is the most contested sub-district, having been surrounded and repeatedly attacked by the Taleban. Twenty kilometres of the secondary Kabul-Bamyan highway, which connects the Hazarajat to the Afghan capital, is under Taleban control. […]

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Casual labour in Badakhshan. Cash work, rather than income from agriculture, is key for many families in rural areas, but work is scarce. (Adam Pain 2011)

Why has Rural Poverty in Afghanistan Got Worse? New AAN paper on post-2001agricultural policy

Adam Pain

A new AAN paper seeks to understand why agricultural policy since 2001 has failed to increase production, lift rural Afghans out of poverty or secure their food supply. It finds the answers in the stories agricultural development planners tell themselves about how to ‘modernise’ agriculture, even as they ignore evidence from the field. AAN guest […]

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A labourer in Nad-e Ali

Local Drug Markets Normalised, More Mass Treatment for Addicts, a Ministry Dissolved: A look at recent drug trends

Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports – UNODC’s annual survey and a scrutiny by SIGAR of US-funded drug treatment programmes – have revealed new trends in the drug industry in Afghanistan. Opium sales locally look to be increasingly normalised, and those with skills in harvesting the crop are doing well, even while farmers’ incomes have fallen. AAN’s Jelena […]

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