Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Rights and Freedoms

This thematic category comprises of AAN’s reporting on human rights, including women’s rights, media freedom, rule of law, governance and democratisation.

UN Human Rights warns of Afghanistan’s descent into authoritarianism

Kate Clark

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan has released his first report to the UN’s Human Rights Council. The situation in the country has deteriorated, Richard Bennett said, “to the point where the human rights crisis matches Afghanistan’s humanitarian and financial crises.” He holds the Taleban responsible for the worsening of […]

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The flag of the fallen Islamic Republic of Afghanistan among the flags of all the state parties at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Photo: Ehsan Qaane, taken in March 2016, but an ICC spokesperson said, it still hangs there.

Delaying Justice? The ICC’s war crimes investigation in limbo over who represents Afghanistan

Ehsan Qaane

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have still not made a decision to authorise, or not, the resumption of the court’s war crimes investigation in Afghanistan, ten months after the ICC Prosecutor urged them to expedite their approval. It means that, 16 years after the ICC began to look into Afghanistan, it has still yet to […]

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Arbitrary Power and a Loss of Fundamental Freedoms: A look at UNAMA’s first major human rights report since the Taleban takeover

Kate Clark

UNAMA has published its first major report on human rights in Afghanistan since the Taleban came to power on 15 August 2021. It covers a multitude of issues, including detentions, torture and extrajudicial killings, the rights of women and girls and civilian casualties. One recurring theme is the arbitrary way the new administration often works […]

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Asadullah Harun Gul released from Guantanamo and in Qatar, where he was met by the Taleban officials, finally on his way home. Photo: Bakhtar News Agency

Free at Last: The Afghan, Harun Gul, is released from Guantanamo after 15 years

Kate Clark

One of the last two remaining Afghans held in Guantanamo Bay, Asadullah Harun Gul, has been released after his lawyers threatened the United States government with contempt of court. A judge had ruled in November 2021 that the government was holding him unlawfully and must release him. A month earlier, a review board at Guantanamo […]

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Policing Public Morality: Debates on promoting virtue and preventing vice in the Taleban’s second Emirate

Sabawoon Samim

The Taleban’s ‘religious police’ are back in force, leaving many Afghans fearing a return to the notorious brutalities of the Taleban’s 1990s Amr bil-Maruf ministry. Yet, two decades on, argues guest author Sabawoon Samim* (with input from Roxanna Shapour), Taleban views on the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice have evolved, as has Afghan […]

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“We need to breathe too”: Women across Afghanistan navigate the Taleban’s hijab ruling

Kate Clark Sayeda Rahimi

It has been three weeks since the Taleban announced a new order, prescribing a strict dress code for women, that they should not leave the house without real need and if they do, should wear what is termed ‘sharia hijab’, with face covered entirely, or except for the eyes. The order made a woman’s ‘guardian’ […]

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The Ban on Older Girls’ Education: Taleban conservatives ascendant and a leadership in disarray

Ashley Jackson

The Taleban’s abrupt decision to keep girls’ secondary schools closed, despite promising for months that they would re-open, has caused distress to girls, parents and teachers alike. The Taleban’s justification was confused, with various officials giving different reasons for the closure, from lack of teachers to inappropriate school uniforms. Eventually, a formal announcement cited the need […]

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Regime Change, Economic Decline and No Legal Protection: What has happened to the Afghan media?

Ehsan Qaane

The Taleban takeover of Afghanistan delivered a devastating blow to one of the Republic’s few achievements – freedom of expression and a vibrant media sector. Since the fall of the Republic, nearly half of Afghanistan’s media outlets have closed and thousands of Afghan journalists and media workers have either left the country, lost their jobs, […]

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War Crimes Trial Begins in the Netherlands: Former commander at Pul-e Charkhi faces justice

Kate Clark

The trial of an Afghan man suspected of committing war crimes in Afghanistan in the 1980s will start today in the Netherlands. Abdul Razaq Arif is believed to have served in leadership positions in the Pul-e Charkhi prison from 1983 to 1990 and is being charged with being an accessory to or allowing inhuman treatment and […]

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Who Gets to Go to School? (3): Are Taleban attitudes starting to change from within?

Sabawoon Samim

In the last of our three reports on the Taleban and education, especially of girls, we turn to what seems to be a relatively new trend. Guest author Sabawoon Samim* has been looking at views of girls’ education within the Taleban movement and finds it notable that some Taleban are now seeking out school and […]

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Who Gets to Go to School? (2) The Taleban and education through time

S Reza Kazemi Kate Clark

In trying to understand Taleban policy on state education, especially for girls, our first report heard from people around the country. They painted a picture of primary schools for boys and girls, and boys’ secondary schools having generally re-opened after the Taleban captured power on 15 August, but of girls’ secondary schools opening only very patchily. […]

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Who Gets to Go to School? (1): What people told us about education since the Taleban took over

Kate Clark AAN Team

Taleban policy towards women and girls is one of the prisms through which the movement has been studied – and judged – ever since the Taleban first came to power in the mid-nineties. A touchstone for many Afghans and outside observers was whether, after capturing power nationally in August 2021, they would allow girls to […]

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