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.

What We Wrote, What You Read in 2023: Daily struggles, edicts and orders, falcons flying high

Kate Clark

2023 was a busy year for AAN, with just over 50 publications. They ranged from in-depth investigations into the economy, public finance and the aid industry to a poetic journey into the world of falconry. We introduced a new form of report – short, first-person accounts by Afghans of what they are doing to survive […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Daily Hustle: ‘Packing up a life’ in Pakistan and being forcibly returned to Afghanistan 

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Nearly a million Afghans, many born and brought up in Pakistan, have ‘returned’ to their country since the start of Pakistan’s latest deportation campaign. On 3 October 2023, the government in Islamabad told undocumented Afghans living in the country to leave voluntarily by the end of that month or risk being forcibly returned. The police […]

Migration Read more

Recommended Reads from AAN Writers and Readers: The search for context, deeper understanding, surprise and good stories

AAN Team AAN Guests

We thought we would start the new year by asking AAN writers and friends to recommend books about Afghanistan. The books they reviewed were diverse – fact and fiction, classics and newly-published and written in English, Pashto and German. Two were books that the reviewers felt helped make sense of why the Islamic Republic and […]

Context and Culture Read more

UN Security Council Resolution on Afghanistan: Just another ‘much ado about nothing’?

AAN Team

The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution on the Independent Assessment on Afghanistan, which former Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Feridun Sinirlioğlu had put together. UNSC Resolution 2721 only passed after a month and a half of Security Council meetings, mainly held behind closed doors and two weeks of intensive negotiations on its […]

International Engagement Read more

Of Hunters and Hunted (2): Falconry, bird smuggling and wildlife conservation

Fabrizio Foschini

The cold weather marks the start of the hunting season in many countries across the world. In Afghanistan, despite a hunting ban, this time of year sees the resumption of particular hunting-related activities. One particular group of hunters – raptor birds migrating through the country – become the hunted. Every year, some are caught and […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Of Hunters and Hunted (1): Falconry in Afghanistan from classical literature to colonial sources 

Fabrizio Foschini

Unbeknownst to many, Afghanistan has a rich historical heritage related to falconry. Photographs dating from the 1950s to the 1970s offer a relatively recent glimpse of Afghan falconers with their birds. However, those ancient traditions of Afghans practising falconry – embodied in literary works such as the Baznama, The Book of the Falcon, by Pashtun poet […]

Context and Culture Read more
The exclusive Sherpur neighbourhood in Kabul, built in 2003 after Kabul Chief of Police Abdul Bashir Salangi, on the orders of Minister of Defence Qasim Fahim, bulldozed the mud-built houses of poor residents: plots were subsequently distributed largely to their factional comrades from Shura-ye Nizar. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP, 2022

Land in Afghanistan: This time, retaking instead of grabbing land?

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

When the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) retook power, it started reclaiming state land that had been seized during previous administrations. In October 2022, the IEA established the Land-Grabbing Prevention and Restitution Commission, within the Ministry of Justice, whose purpose is to investigate land-grabbing under the Islamic Republic, restore any state land and prevent it […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Dreams Deferred (Again): The last remaining Afghan in Guantanamo loses his latest bid for freedom

Kate Clark

The last Afghan still held in Guantanamo, Muhammad Rahim from Nangrahar province, has failed in his latest attempt to persuade the United States authorities to release him. The US continues to assert that he was a translator, courier and facilitator for al-Qaeda leaders and even though it is more than two years since US forces […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Whose Seat Is It Anyway: The UN’s (non)decision on who represents Afghanistan 

Thomas Ruttig

While the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) maintains that it deserves full-scale recognition, it has not been given the country’s seat at the United Nations. In early December 2023, the UN General Assembly will again consider whether or not to allow the Islamic Emirate to take Afghanistan’s seat at the world body. The argument plays […]

International Engagement Read more

The Daily Hustle: “Helping the dreams of girls come true”

Rohullah Sorush Roxanna Shapour

After the Islamic Emirate banned older girls from education, many girls found alternative avenues to continue their studies, find intellectual stimulation – and even, as this Daily Hustle found out, make a living in the private education sector. AAN’s Rohullah Sorush hears from one young Afghan woman about how, even in the face of overwhelming […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Long Winding River: Unravelling the water dispute between Afghanistan and Iran

Mhd Assem Mayar Roxanna Shapour

Afghanistan and Iran have been at loggerheads for much of this year over the Helmand River and its water. As the region grappled with a punishing drought for the third year running, the two neighbouring countries have been locked in a tense melee over shared transboundary rivers. While Iran seeks to assert its rights over […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
A poppy farmer and labourer by the farmer's crop in Nad Ali district, Helmand Province in spring 2015. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

Prosperity or Penury: The political and economic fallout of the opium ban in Afghanistan

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports, one from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and another by David Mansfield and Alcis, show that Afghan farmers have largely complied with the Islamic Emirate’s ban on opium cultivation. They chart a swingeing cut in cultivation in 2023 – just 10,000 to 30,000 hectares of land sown with opium […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more