Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Reports

Reports – previously known as dispatches – are the flagship of the AAN website and our main type of publication. AAN reports are based on extensive desk and field research and provide timely and in-depth information and analysis.

From Parallel Governments to a New Form of Power-Sharing? Afghanistan’s ongoing post-election crisis

Ali Yawar Adili

Both parties claiming to be Afghanistan’s president are sending out signals that they are moving toward a new power-sharing formula. It is not clear, however, whether these signals indicate that the post-election political standoff is nearing its end. Possibly, they are just designed to reassure Afghans and the country’s international backers, the most important of […]

Political Landscape Read more

One Land, Two Rules (11): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected districts – a synthesis report

Kate Clark

In many parts of Afghanistan, the issue of who is in control is not straightforward: it may be the government or the Taleban or a mixture of both. Yet despite this – and the ongoing conflict ­– many public services continue, including health and education. How that works in practice is a question we wanted […]

War and Peace Read more
Girls and boys from Nawaabad school singing the national anthem to welcome the protesters to Ghazni city. (2018: the peace marchers)

Looking ahead to Intra-Afghan Negotiations: A scrutiny of different political groups’ plans for peace

Ali Yawar Adili Khadija Hossaini

Since the US-Taleban agreement in late February, focus has shifted to intra-Afghan negotiations, with little clarity so far as to their scope. The US-Taleban deal agreed on 29 February focused on the withdrawal of US (and other foreign) troops, and anti-terrorism guarantees by the Taleban. While waiting for talks to begin, five political groups have […]

War and Peace Read more

Flash from the Past: The 1950 Kabul Students Union and its impact on the post-WWII opposition movement

Thomas Ruttig

70 years ago, on 4 April 1950, the first students’ organisation in Afghanistan’s history was launched. The Students Union of Kabul University started as an attempt by factions in the government to gain control over a small, but enthusiastic group of activists and instrumentalise it for their own interests. This attempt backfired, and the Union […]

Context and Culture Read more

Static War: Helmand after the US Marines’ return

Andrew Quilty

In April 2017, 300 US Marines were sent back to Helmand, a province the US troops, who numbered 20,000 at their peak there, had handed over to Afghan forces less than three years earlier. The Marines’ task was to rehabilitate the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) 215th Corps and help prevent the fall of the provincial […]

War and Peace Read more

Herat City’s Reported Spike in Insecurity: What a sober reading of events reveals

S Reza Kazemi

In late 2019 and early 2020, Afghanistan’s key western city of Herat witnessed a series of security incidents, including targeted killings and attacks on the police. The increase in violence resulted in an Afghan media uproar and a swirl of local theories about what or who could be behind it. Taking a closer look at […]

War and Peace Read more
Nad Ali desert

One Land, Two Rules (10): Three case studies on Taleban sales of state land

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

As the Taleban have expanded their areas of control around the country, anecdotal reports have been popping up of Taleban commissions and commanders in several provinces selling state land. However, a closer look into the three most prominent examples – Helmand, Uruzgan and Takhar – reveals a murkier picture than media reports and claims by government […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Elephants in Afghanistan: Surveying the history of a pachyderm cultural frontier

Shah Mahmoud Hanifi

Elephants (pil in Pashto and fil in Dari) are not indigenous to Afghanistan. However, they have had a significant presence in and impact on the country. The first of them seem to have arrived in 305 BC when an Indian ruler sent 500 war elephants to the Hellenistic empire, which then stretched across western Asia, in exchange for […]

Context and Culture Read more
A mural in Kabul appears to warn negotiators US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taleban deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) that the people are watching them. Photo Wakil Kohsar/AFP.

Voices from the Districts, the Violence Mapped (2): Assessing the conflict a month after the US-Taleban agreement

Kate Clark

It is now four weeks since Afghans enjoyed eight days of reduced violence in the lead up to the signing of the United States-Taleban agreement. The Taleban announced almost immediately afterwards that their fight would continue against the government, although not against foreign forces. US officials spoke of an understanding with the Taleban that a […]

War and Peace Read more

Blood in the Abode of Peace: The attack on Kabul’s Sikhs

Fabrizio Foschini

At a time when Afghans face a looming pandemic and worsening conflict, one recent event has stood out: the attack on the Sikh gurdwara in the Old City of Kabul one week ago. It was an unprecedented, sectarian attack on a peaceful, non-Muslim religious minority. 26 people were killed and 11 wounded, men, women and one child. […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (2): Herat city between disregard and compliance

S Reza Kazemi

With around two-thirds of Afghanistan’s confirmed positive Covid-19 cases thus far, the western province of Herat is now known as the path through which the coronavirus spread from neighbouring Iran. But how have residents and government in Herat city, the provincial centre, reacted to the disease in day-to-day life? Based on observations and conversations, AAN […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Covid-19 in Afghanistan (1): No large outbreak yet in the country

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan has so far been moderately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer than 100 people testing positive and four confirmed fatalities. There are strong indications that these cases may have been seeded by the outbreak in neighbouring Iran, via Afghans who returned from that country. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has compiled an overview of what […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more