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.

Ministry of Education reacts to “The Battle for the Schools”

Martine van Bijlert

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education has issued an official statement in Dari in response to AAN’s latest report “The Battle for the Schools”, in which it refutes all substance of the report, calls its findings fabricated and assures the great Afghan nation of its tireless efforts and the impeccable Islamic credentials of its curriculum. The full […]

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Afghanistan’s business elite has its own election

Martine van Bijlert

Last month Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce, the ACCI, elected its new leadership. The process was not without controversy. A lively pre-election trade in ACCI membership cards allowed large numbers of underage children and people who had nothing to do with running a business to participate in the vote at the provincial level. And at the […]

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Sugar trapped on the Silk Road

Fabrizio Foschini

For many observers of Afghanistan, local and foreigner, Pakistan has become, through the years, an indispensable part of the political equation, its image increasingly darkened by the spread of conflict to its own territory and because of the the charge of interference in the Afghan conflict. Pakistan itself, its politics, society and economy, and especially […]

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The Great Hindukush Gold Rush (2): Afghanistan is not Chad (yet?)

Thomas Ruttig

There is plenty of evidence from all over the world that indicates that mineral wealth can easily turn into a curse – environmentally, socially, politically and even economically. It also can exacerbate conflict, instead of alleviating it. A particular example is the Central African country of Chad*, and it should warn both the Afghan government […]

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The Great Hindukush Gold Rush (1): Another Silver Bullet

Thomas Ruttig

When last year the not-so-new news hit the headlines that Afghanistan possesses enormous mineral resources, a lot of eyes started to shine with joy. Some Afghan and foreign officials believe that they finally have found the Holy Grail for post-2014 Afghanistan: a resource from which the country can pay its own security and development costs, […]

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Guest Blog: Ghori Cement – A loss-making goldmine

Mir Sediq Zaliq

Under pressure to repay his loans to Kabul Bank, the president’s brother, Mahmud Karzai, has sold his shares in the Afghan Investment Company. This could open a new future for the country’s biggest cement factory, Ghori Cement in Baghlan, that has so far been plagued by nepotism, reports Mir Sediq Zaliq*, an Afghan journalist working […]

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The IMF, Kabul Bank, government salaries and transition (updated)

Martine van Bijlert

The IMF and the Afghan government failed to reach an agreement last week on how to deal with the Kabul Bank crisis. The long-simmering controversy, which began months ago, is starting to have far-reaching consequences both for the cash-flow of the Afghan government and for the possible nature of the transition, as donors are making […]

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What the US Senate’s report on Afghanistan does and doesn’t say

Martine van Bijlert

Last week the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations released its evaluation of US foreign assistance to Afghanistan. The report received a lot of attention, mainly as a result of the power and urgency of its message: that much of US assistance is expensive, unsustainable and based on shaky premises. These issues warrant all the […]

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The Kabul Bank Investigations; Central Bank Gives Names and Figures

Martine van Bijlert

On Wednesday, 27 April 2011, the head of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, Abdul Qadir Fitrat, and the new (Central Bank appointed) chief of the Kabul Bank, Massud Ghazi, briefed the Parliament on what was going on with the Kabul Bank. They named names, gave detail of the close to one billion USD irregular loans that brought […]

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Guest Blog: Modernisation Stress – Kabul and Mazar Revisited

Michael Daxner

During his tenth trip to Afghanistan since 2003 dedicated to research on micro-social development and general political perceptions, after an interval of two and a half years, our guest blogger Michael Daxner(*) was ‘little surprised at the first glance – but at a closer look, much has changed’. Glimpses on social stratification, discussions about federalism, […]

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Afghanistan Bird Watch

AAN Team

The most underreported Afghan story of January 2010 already has been identified: One of the world rarest birds has been spotted in Badakhshan. Overshadowed by the coverage of the London conference, the BBCreported that scientists of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society found specimen of the large-billed reed warbler (photo), one of the rarest birds on earth, during […]

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