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.

Poppy field in Helmand. Photo: AAN Staff

“One Year’s Result is Not a Trend”: the 2015 opium cultivation decrease

Jelena Bjelica

The decline (by almost a fifth) in the area of land in Afghanistan planted with opium poppy in 2015 came as a surprise to many. Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan had been on the rise since 2010, when an opium poppy blight halved opium production and triggered a subsequent hike in opium prices. However, the decline […]

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Economic Management in Afghanistan: Thoughts on what worked, what didn’t and why

AAN

The Afghan government and its international partners will meet in Kabul next month at the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) to review progress since last December’s London Conference and to discuss specific reform programs for the future. Discussions are complicated by the fact that Afghanistan’s economy remains weak and its fiscal situation dire. In the deliberations on […]

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Too Few, Badly Paid And Unmotivated: The teacher crisis and the quality of education in Afghanistan

Qayoom Suroush Christine Roehrs

The progress in the education sector has been reported widely as one of the success stories of the national international efforts in Afghanistan since 2002. However, this narrative omits severe problems – one is that the teachers who are supposed to facilitate the rapid growth of the sector are still often ill-trained, ill-equipped, badly paid, […]

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Protecting Beauty: Shah Foladi – a new conservation area for Afghanistan

Kate Clark

Afghanistan has a new protected conservation area – the Shah Foladi: 2,700 square kilometres on the north side of the Koh-e Baba range of the Hindu Kush in Bamyan province. This mix of irrigated valleys, upland rangeland and high peaks is important for wildlife (270 species of birds, including many seasonal migrants, and many flowering […]

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Library in Kabul. Photo: Qayoom Suroush

Reading in Kabul: The state of Afghan libraries

Qayoom Suroush

With Afghanistan’s educated class growing rapidly over the past decade while education resources remain scarce, there is an increasing need for a functioning public library system, AAN’s Qayoom Suroush argues. However, the only public library of Afghanistan’s capital – at the same time standing in for a non-existent national library – is not even close […]

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Power to the People: How to extend Afghans’ access to electricity

Mohsin Amin

More than four billion dollars have, to date, been spent on Afghanistan’s power infrastructure. And yet there are still considerable deficiencies, even in the country’s capital, which has seen most of the investment – and most of the progress. At the same time, the demand for electricity is rapidly growing and the supply-demand gap has […]

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Battleground Kankur: Afghan students’ difficult way into higher education

Obaid Ali

For some hundred thousand Afghan high school graduates, the university entry tests, known as kankur, have started. The first to sit the exam, from December onwards, were students in more-remote provinces, for example Badghis, Bamyan, Daikundi, Nuristan, Wardak, Logar and Sar-e Pul. Pictures of rows of students sitting on city squares  or mosques taking the […]

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Going in Circles: The never-ending story of Afghanistan’s unfinished Ring Road

Qayoom Suroush

Since the presidential campaign and during trips abroad President Ashraf Ghani has been promising to turn Afghanistan into an “Asian roundabout” for regional trade and transit. However, for this, Afghanistan would need to improve its transport systems and build new and better roads. That is probably why, in his first cabinet meeting, on 2 October […]

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Kabul Bank: glitzy facade, foul credits. Photo: ToloNews

AAN Podcasts: Martine van Bijlert talks Kabul Bank

Thomas Ruttig

Regular visitors to the AAN website will have noticed that we have added an additional channel to our publications: podcasts. Although we already posted some podcasts earlier on (visit the archive here), you will be able to literally hear from us more regularly, from now on. We start our new podcast series with a comment […]

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Between Rhetoric and Reality: Access to health care and its limitations

Frank Dorner Lena Langbein

While the world’s attention is focused on the withdrawal of international forces and the security handover, people in Afghanistan continue to die because they do not have access to adequate healthcare. The health system is frequently held up as a glowing example of the aid efforts of the international community, and since 2002 much progress […]

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Return of the Goodwill? London conference as symbol of a new start

Christine Roehrs

Initially, the upcoming London Conference on Afghanistan (3 and 4 December) was supposed to be a hard check on the Afghan leadership’s governance standards. Corruption, women’s rights, elections – how did the country do, and would it deserve fresh aid commitments? However, the new government to discuss these things is, except for president and CEO, […]

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One Thousand Dollars for Books per Year: Afghanistan’s undersupplied universities

Christine Roehrs

Afghan university students still do not have proper textbooks. Their professors give them so-called ‘chapters’ – copies of excerpts from lecture notes or books that are often out-dated. Libraries on the other hand remain underfunded dumping grounds for donated books that mostly do not fit needs, curricula or lecture contents. Why is that still so, […]

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