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.

The Gates of Friendship: How Afghans cross the Afghan-Pakistani border

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

There are three official crossings on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a boundary also known as the Durand Line. Two of these crossings are well-known: Torkham in the east and Spin Boldak in the south of Afghanistan. The gates that separate the two countries in the south read “the Gates of Friendship” in Pashto: […]

Regional Relations Read more

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (28): ECC starts final, decisive phase of complaints procedure

Ali Yawar Adili

The process to determine the outcome of Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential election has moved into its last phase. The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has started to deal with the 6,292 appeals filed against the decisions made by its provincial offices. The ECC has 15 working days to adjudicate the appeals, but it may need more time, […]

Political Landscape Read more

AAN Obituary: Unfaltering women’s rights activist Soraya Parlika (1944-2019)

Thomas Ruttig

Soraya Parlika, political and women’s rights activist, has died at the age of 75. She had, said Sahraa Karimi, Chair of the Afghan Film Organisation, who made a documentary about Parlika, “dedicated her life to the life of women of Afghanistan and never left her motherland even during the hard years of civil war and […]

Political Landscape Read more

AAN’s most-read dispatches in 2019: Peace talks and presidential polls dominate

Kate Clark

As 2020 begins, we wanted to take a look back at what you were reading on the AAN website in 2019. Dominating the dispatches that were most read on our English language site were those analysing the Afghan presidential elections and the negotiations between the United States and the Taleban. Our Dari and Pashto readers […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Largest Standing Stupa in Afghanistan: A short history of the Buddhist site at Topdara

Jelena Bjelica

A dome-shaped ancient Buddhist shrine, the Topdara stupa to the north of Kabul was described by 19th century British explorer Charles Masson as “perhaps the most complete and beautiful monument of the kind in these countries.” Since Masson’s visit in 1833, the Topdara stupa saw few visitors and had fallen into neglect until recently, in […]

Context and Culture Read more

AAN Reads: An Afghanistan history covering 750 years

Thomas Ruttig

Eminent Afghanistan specialists and historians have praised Jonathan L Lee’s 2018 Afghanistan: a history from 1260 to the present as “detailed research of the highest quality” and even the new go-to “encyclopaedia” on this subject. It is indeed encyclopaedic, pulling interesting episodes out of the dark of Afghan history, but still, it is partly disappointing, […]

Context and Culture Read more

“Our Lives Changed”: Afghans remember the coming of the Soviet troops

AAN Team S Reza Kazemi

Forty years ago, Soviet forces entered Afghanistan, killed then President Hafizullah Amin from the Khalq faction of the ruling communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) on 27 December 1979 and brought to power Babrak Karmal, who was from the rival Parcham faction. The move was meant to be a relatively short-lived, regime change operation, […]

War and Peace Read more

A Turning Point in World History: 40 years ago, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan 40 years ago today, on 25 December 1979. Two days later, on 27 December, they toppled and killed Amin’s Khalqi’s government which had called for the troops and had assumed they had come for their rescue. The resulting occupation that would last for more than ten years became the last direct […]

War and Peace Read more

Freed at Last: Three Afghans sent to Guantanamo in 2002 and 2003 are finally home

Kate Clark

Three Afghans, who were detained and rendered to the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and 2003, and then transferred to the United Arab Emirates 2016 and what turned out to be further incarceration, have been released. Obaidullah and Mohammed Karim from Khost and Hamidullah from Kabul have also been allowed to return […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

Afghanistan’s 2019 Elections (27): The preliminary result, finally, but no end to controversy

Ali Yawar Adili

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has finally announced the preliminary results of the 28 September presidential election. The announcement came on 22 December, almost three months after the vote and more than two months after the results announcement had been envisaged in the electoral calendar. In these preliminary results, President Ashraf Ghani has crossed the […]

Political Landscape Read more

Peace in the Districts (2): Prospects, approaches and an emphasis on a ‘good peace’

S Reza Kazemi

In this second of two dispatches on what people in ten districts across Afghanistan think about prospects for peace, we hear their views on the relationship between a possible high-level peace deal and actual peace in the districts. Interviewees expressed a striking mix of optimistic and sceptical opinions as to the local viability of any […]

War and Peace Read more

One Land, Two Rules (9): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Jalrez district of Wardak province

Ehsan Qaane

Ethnically-mixed Jalrez district has seen increased Taleban activity since 2014, with approximately half of it now under their control. The district centre is the most contested sub-district, having been surrounded and repeatedly attacked by the Taleban. Twenty kilometres of the secondary Kabul-Bamyan highway, which connects the Hazarajat to the Afghan capital, is under Taleban control. […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more