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.

Sudais is in his father, Baktullah's, fruit and vegetable store in Shadal Bazaar village of Achin district. Life is slowly returning to normal after government and US forces pushed ISKP out of most of the district in 2017 and 2018. Public services – education, healthcare and electricity supply – are still patchy, barely-functioning or non-existent. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017

One Land, Two Rules (4): Delivering public services in embattled Achin district in Nangrahar province

Rohullah Sorush S Reza Kazemi

Achin district in the south of Afghanistan’s key eastern province of Nangrahar has been heavily fought over by the Taleban, ISKP and government and United States forces. The delivery of public services has been hampered, helped or abolished depending on who has been in charge at any given time; ISKP banned almost all public services […]

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One Land, Two Rules (3): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Dasht-e Archi district in Kunduz province

Obaid Ali

Dasht-e Archi, a district in the northeastern corner of Kunduz province is almost entirely controlled by the Taleban. They have established shadow sub-national governance structures in the district, while most local government officials are absent and work remotely from the provincial capital. Although the Taleban do not provide any services themselves, they have co-opted government […]

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One Land, Two Rules (2): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Obeh district of Herat province

S Reza Kazemi

The matter of who governs the district of Obeh in the east of Herat province is complicated: control of the district is divided between the Afghan government and the Taleban, and shifts in unpredictable ways. The inhabitants of the district, usually via the mediation of elders, have had to learn how to deal with both […]

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One Land, Two Rules (1): Service delivery in insurgent-affected areas, an introduction

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

The Taleban today control or influence whole swathes of Afghanistan. Estimates of exactly how much vary, but in the vast majority of Afghanistan’s provinces, control is split between government and insurgency. What that means for local people in terms of services usually provided by a state is the subject of a new research project by […]

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The United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction, since 2001. Here a picture of government-led eradication in Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkar Gah in 2015. The Afghan government’s erdication efforts have been negligible since 2014. Only 3,760 of 183,000 hectares planted with opium poppy have been eradicated in 2015. Credit: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

A Drop from Peak Opium Cultivation: The 2018 Afghanistan survey

Jelena Bjelica

The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2018 released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows decrease of a fifth in the countrywide cultivation of opium compared to the previous years. The 263,000 hectares under the cultivation in Afghanistan this year was still the second largest score for Afghanistan since the UNODC began […]

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Well-diggers in the process of digging a deep well of 100 metres in Taimani neighbourhood of Kabul city. Photos: Author, 2018.

Blue Gold: The quest for household water in Kabul city

S Reza Kazemi

Given growing water scarcity and pollution, increasing numbers of residents in Kabul city are struggling to provide enough safe water for their households. Many are forced to turn to the expanding private water business for their needs: eitherby paying for water from mobile water tankers, subscribing to local private water supply companies or buying bottled […]

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Less Rain and Snowfall in Afghanistan: High level of food assistance needed until early 2019

Jelena Bjelica

The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) has reported that in 22 of Afghanistan’s provinces, cumulative rain and snowfall during the ‘wet season’ – October 2017 to May 2018 – was 30 to 60 per cent below average. The northwest of the country has been particularly hard hit. AAN’s Jelena Bjelica (with input from Obaid Ali […]

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The new counter-narcotics law stipulates that the confiscated drugs can either be converted to medicine or sold to one of the countries that has INCB licence. But, Afghanistan may face many obstacles in implementation of this provision, including a low seizure levels. Photo: Andrew Quilty; Helmand province, 2015.

How to Fight the Booming Opiate Economy? Harsher and progressive laws, but to no avail

Jelena Bjelica

The opiate economy, as measured by the farm-gate value of opium, together with revenues from heroin production and trafficking of opiates to the Afghan borders, has become a crucial component of the Afghan economy, a recently released UNODC socio-economic survey found. This has evolved after years of increasing opium cultivation in the country. But, what […]

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The State of Aid and Poverty in 2018: A new look at aid effectiveness in Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports have found that despite improvements in some sectors, aid delivery in Afghanistan is still largely ineffective and poverty has risen. A joint Oxfam and Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) report on aid effectiveness reveals that while development aid has decreased, donor support continues to be fragmented and aid dependency remains high. Meanwhile, […]

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Photo: Christine Roehrs 2015

2018 Afghan National Budget 2: Deals done with MPs to get budget through parliament

Kate Clark

Figures for the 2018 Afghan budget are in the public realm and show that, despite government attempts to clean up its finances, Afghanistan’s Members of Parliament (MPs) were, once again, ‘given’ projects to persuade them to vote the budget through. The draft budget presented to parliament in November 2017 had been almost balanced; the one […]

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Ministry of Finance says next year’s budget is committed to focussing Afghanistan’s “declining resources” on priority areas such as education. Photo: schoolchildren in Nad Ali, Helmand 2010, ISAF)

The 2018 Afghan National Budget: Confronting hard realities by accelerating reforms

Kate Clark Bill Byrd

Afghanistan’s budget for the next financial year, 1397/2018, is markedly different from previous ones. This is a budget written to ‘international standards’, giving more information, both on 2018 and earlier years, as well as future projections, with detail at the level of ministry, project and province. The Ministry of Finance has tried to be realistic […]

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Poppy field in Helmand. Photo: AAN Staff

A Low-Risk Crop in a High-Risk Environment: Annual opium survey shows Afghan poppy cultivation at a record high

Jelena Bjelica

More opium was grown and more opium paste produced in Afghanistan in 2017 than in any year since the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) began monitoring in 1994. The UNODC’s annual Afghanistan Opium Survey, released today, has shown that 328,000 hectares of land were used to grow poppy this year, an increase […]

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