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.

May Day on Workers Street: Trade unions and the status of labour in Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

More than 1,000 Afghan men and women took to the street on International Labour Day on 1 May. With the country’s latest mining disaster, killing at least 24 workers only one day earlier, the participants had one acute problem to address: workers’ safety in the mining sector. However, the new leadership of Afghanistan’s largest trade […]

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Photo: Pajhwok Afghan News, 2013

Cure or Curse? Implications of the Kilij mine closure for Bamyan’s security situation

Jalil Benish

As Afghanistan prepares to take full responsibility for security and state functions by the end of 2014, the country’s natural resources are often touted as a major source of future state revenue to substitute for dwindling international aid. There are, however, concerns regarding the ability and willingness of the Afghan government to ensure that extraction is […]

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Will We Ever Learn? An evaluation of US aid in Afghanistan

AAN Team

International assistance is coming under ever closer scrutiny. In response, to understand the impact of assistance and ensure transparency and accountability, thousands of project documents are generated, evaluations conducted and reports written. All contain lessons aimed at informing the development of future assistance programmes. With regard to Afghanistan, as 2014 marks the withdrawal of international […]

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Cheating and Worse: The university entry (kankur) exams as a bottleneck for higher education

Obaid Ali

Getting into university via the so called kankur exam is one of the highest hurdles for Afghanistan’s young generation wanting to obtain higher education. Each year, there are allegations of corruption, fraud and flawed management of the exams while the number of high school graduates sitting them increases. AAN’s Obaid Ali (with input by Christine […]

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Cards on the Table: Transparency and post-2014 Afghan aid

Thomas Ruttig

The joint Afghan-international strategy for 2015 to 2024, the so-called transition period, is based on the assumption that the security situation in the country is conducive to continuing large-scale development programmes. Recently released figures, however, indicate that the instability has not diminished, with a negative impact on access for those who implement, monitor and use […]

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Little Leagues, Great Hopes: Afghan grassroots football kicks off

S Reza Kazemi

Afghanistan’s football premier league and its national team have received tremendous attention inside and outside the country, particularly after the national team’s victory in the 2013 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship. Children’s football, on the other hand, has gone largely unnoticed – although experts say that an Afghan team has the chance to even […]

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“As Easy As Growing Potatoes”: How formerly ‘poppy-free’ Ghor is at risk of becoming an important player in Afghanistan’s opium business

Obaid Ali

Ghor province has been considered poppy-free for a long time, but in the past two years opium production and drug trafficking have picked up sharply. With insecurity in the province on the rise, obstructing income sources and basic services, many of Ghor’s farmers migrated to neighbouring provinces like Helmand, helping in the local drug production […]

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Pupils as Pawns: Plundered education in Ghor

Obaid Ali

Empty classrooms, fake girls’ schools, teachers’ salaries siphoned off by warlords: in Ghor province in Afghanistan’s west, the shadows of strongmen loom large and schools, too, have become pawns in the power struggle between rival factions. AAN’s Obaid Ali has visited this remote, poor and conflict-ridden province and – in this second of three dispatches […]

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The Kabul Bank Tribunal: an exercise in containment

Martine van Bijlert

The Kabul Bank crisis is complicated and multi-layered. Its tentacles reached into almost all centres of power and threatened to embarrass not just the architects of the scam, but practically everybody involved: businessmen, politicians, senior government officials, the various Presidential campaign teams, Parliamentarians, Central Bank staff, international advisers, donors – the list is long. Since […]

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Budget Through, Impeachments Pending: Wolesi Jirga Went into Winter Recess

Obaid Ali

At the third go, the Lower House of parliament finally approved the government’s general budget for the Afghan year 1392 (March 2012 to March 2013) on 20 January 2013. The so-called qatia report – the final account for the previous fiscal year – however, revealed that many ministries had again failed to spend a significant […]

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The Rise and Fall of the Kabul Bank – making the details public

Martine van Bijlert

Much has been written about the Kabul Bank crisis. A series of confidential investigations and audits have described the legal violations and technical processes involved in the bank management’s fraudulent operations, and most of these reports were fairly widely leaked. Media appearances by the various protagonists and representatives of government institutions involved in the follow-up […]

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Education in times of waseta: the example of Badakhshan

Fabrizio Foschini

It is common wisdom that teachers are among the most important sections of Afghan society, as far as reconstructing the country goes. Also, almost everybody agrees that they are among the most underpaid and unempowered classes in Afghanistan. On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, celebrated today in Afghanistan, AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini, who has just […]

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