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.

Power transmission line in Balkh province. Photo: Jelena Bjelica (2011).

Power to the People (2): The TUTAP protests

Thomas Ruttig

When protesters interrupted President Ashraf Ghani’s speech in London three times on 13 May 2016, the heated controversy surrounding the route of TUTAP, a main electricity grid initiative, received even international attention. In Afghanistan, the tensions have been simmering since January 2016 when Hazara members of the government started trying to prevent a potential rerouting of […]

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Samples of methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs, like ecstasy and MDMA, exhibited in the display cabinet of state-of-the-art CNPA forensics lab in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo by Jelena Bjelica 2015)

Afghanistan Breaking Bad: Crystal meth, a new drug on the market

Jelena Bjelica

The first methamphetamine seizure in Afghanistan was recorded in 2008, a minor capture of four grams in Helmand province. Now, seven years later, some 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘crystal meth’, were seized in the first ten months of 2015, in 14 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics warned […]

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Before the Paris Conference: The state of Afghanistan’s climate and its adaption capability

Thomas Ruttig Ryskeldi Satke

Climate change is already having a severe impact on Afghans’ daily lives – but this challenge is often over-shadowed by what seem to be more-urgent problems: war and the economic crisis. Therefore, the reports submitted by the Afghan government for the Paris climate conference starting today, 30 November 2015 (and President Ashraf Ghani speaking in […]

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Caption: Convicted Kabul Bank shareholder Khalil Ferozi is treated as a guest of honor during the 4 November 2014 stone-laying ceremony for Kabul's Smart City, where he signs an MoU with the ministry of urban development. Source: ministry of urban development.

The Afghan Government and th­e ‘Smart City’ Debacle: Who out-smarted whom?

Martine van Bijlert

The Afghan government, much to its chagrin, has found itself embroiled in a controversy that has direct links to the 2010 Kabul Bank scandal. On 4 November 2015, a small group of high-level government officials presided over the stone-laying ceremony of a new and ambitious township called Smart City. What was meant as a good […]

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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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