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.

Counting the vote in Bamyan city in Afghanstan’s fourth presidential elections (Photo: Ali Yawar Adili 2019)

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (11): A first look at how E-Day went

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The Independent Election Commission has given its first rough estimation of turnout in Afghanistan’s 2019 Presidential Elections. It was low, with fewer than two million voters out of 9.66 million registered, about a quarter, coming out to vote. The Taleban only managed to conduct one large-scale attack, in Kandahar city, but committed 400 other, mainly […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (10): What to watch out for on election day

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

Past Afghan elections have frequently been bewildering and surreal, even for those following the politics of the country for a long time. With this in mind, and taking into account the recent measures adopted to try to stave off a repeat of the chaos, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, Martine van Bijlert, Ali Yawar Adili and Jelena […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (9): Presidential poll primer

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

After two delays and the cancelation of a peace deal which might have scuppered the poll altogether, Afghanistan’s presidential election is finally to happen, on Saturday 28 September. It will be the country’s fourth presidential election and seventh election in total since 2001. In this primer, AAN’s Ali Yawar Adili, Jelena Bjelica and Thomas Ruttig […]

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A still from the documentary showing a young girl wearing the traditional hat called kola-ye topak-dar in Daikundi province. Photo: Nasim Seyamak

Afghanistan’s 2019 Elections (8): Greater insecurity, fewer votes and pre-election politics in Herat

S Reza Kazemi

Security has been deteriorating in the western province of Herat with the government and Taleban continuing to hit each other hard, particularly in districts farther from the provincial capital. Insecurity, together with the disillusionment after the previous mismanaged elections, is likely to result in fewer voters going to the polls on 28 September compared to […]

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"The Afghan peace delegation while crossing the Torkham border on their way to the Rawalpindi peace conference, 24 July 1919. The tall, bearded man on the left is Ghulam Muhammad Khan Wardak, then Minister of Commerce, while the figure in the centre with a plumed cap is probably Mahmud Tarzi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the delegation.”

The 1919 War of Independence (or third Anglo-Afghan War): a conflict the Afghans started (and ended)

Fabrizio Foschini

Not all conflicts in Afghanistan’s history have been long, drawn-out or seemingly endless affairs, and not all of them degenerated into civil wars either. Outstanding among them, sadly many, instances of military operations inside or around Afghanistan, was the War of Independence of 1919, one of the few which was started by the Afghan state […]

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On the first day of the election campaign, only two (Ghani and Atmar) out of 18 candidates put up their pictures and posters along Darul Aman Road, a major road in Kabul. Atmar's election ticket has disintegrated since then. Photo: Ali Yawar Adili, 28 July 2019

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (7): Dithering over peace amid a lacklustre campaign

Ali Yawar Adili Thomas Ruttig

One ticket has fallen apart and one candidate has withdrawn his candidacy in favour of another. This has reduced the number of presidential candidates from 18 to 16 and left the two incumbents, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah, as the main contenders in the race. In this piece, AAN’s Ali Yawar Adili […]

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Drawings of mynahs by Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić, who travelled to Afghanistan in 1972 in search of birds. Photo: Author

Searching for the Afghan Snowfinch: Memories of a birdwatching journey fifty years ago

Voislav Vasic

The bearded vulture, the rich diversity of wheatears and, above all, the Afghan snowfinch – found nowhere else in the world – are what drew a young ornithologist, Voislav Vasić, to travel from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan in the summer of 1972. In this guest dispatch, Vasić, now the retired head of the national Natural History […]

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Taleban attacks on Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri: Symbolic operations

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

In the last week Taleban have attacked and entered three provincial centres, Kunduz city, Pul-e Khumri in Baghlan and Farah city, before being pushed back. This dispatch focusses on the offensives against Pul-e Khumri and Kunduz, considering them in the context of the regional security of northeastern Afghanistan. It finds that key lessons from earlier […]

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Trump Ends Talks with the Taleban: What happens next?

Kate Clark

United States president Donald Trump has called off talks with the Taleban and cancelled signing of an agreement with them. The trigger, he said, was a suicide bomb which killed one US soldier and “11 other people” carried out “seemingly [to] strengthen their bargaining position.” However, voices against the ‘agreement in principle’ deal had already […]

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One Land, Two Rules (8): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected insurgent-controlled Zurmat district

Christian Bleuer Sayed Asadullah Sadat Obaid Ali

The Taleban’s military dominance in Zurmat district of Paktia province has allowed them to assert their will over how government and NGO-provided public services are delivered. Their motivation varies from ideological control (education and media) to revenue generation (taxes on telecommunications and public infrastructure projects). In this district, the Taleban have expanded into tax collection […]

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US-Taleban talks: An imminent agreement without peace?

Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

News coming out of the latest round of US-Taleban negotiations suggest that an agreement is imminent, but that in the desire to meet the White House’s 1 September 2019 deadline, the US have made concessions that may well complicate an actual peace agreement in Afghanistan. It appears that the US have dropped the “nothing is […]

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Casual labour in Badakhshan. Cash work, rather than income from agriculture, is key for many families in rural areas, but work is scarce. (Adam Pain 2011)

Why has Rural Poverty in Afghanistan Got Worse? New AAN paper on post-2001agricultural policy

Adam Pain

A new AAN paper seeks to understand why agricultural policy since 2001 has failed to increase production, lift rural Afghans out of poverty or secure their food supply. It finds the answers in the stories agricultural development planners tell themselves about how to ‘modernise’ agriculture, even as they ignore evidence from the field. AAN guest […]

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