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.

New NDS boss – who is he?

Kate Clark

The appointment of a new head of NDS (National Directorate of Security) has come with a lot less fanfare than the departure of the old one, Amrullah Saleh, who resigned after deep disagreements with the president over policy towards the Taleban. The acting director, Engineer Ibrahim Spinzada, has returned to the shadows and his day […]

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Afghan civil society launches Access to Information campaign

AAN Team

This morning a large number of Afghan civil society organisations and several media organisations used the media attention surrounding the Kabul conference to launch a campaign highlighting the need for access to information and calling for the necessary legislation to be drafted. The demand is an important one. The pervasive ambiguity, the lack of clarity […]

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UK court rules on detainee transfers and the risk of torture

Kate Clark

Judges at the Royal Courts of Justice in London have given a ‘mixed ruling’ on a bid to stop UK forces transferring detainees to the Afghan intelligence directorate, the NDS. They found that there was risk of torture – which should make transfers illegal – but ruled that they could continue to be transferred to […]

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Six years late, the Constitutional Commission is formed; but will it take on president and parliament?

Sari Kouvo

One of the many ambiguities in the Afghan Constitution is on who has the authority to interpret the Constitution. For no obvious reason a mix of both judicial and legislative oversight was smuggled into the Constitution when it was adopted in 2004. Six years later, the Independent Commission for the Supervision of the Implementation of […]

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Freeing the Prisoners Blog 2: Protecting the Innocent?

Kate Clark

An unknown number of Afghans are being held in custody suspected of being Taleban or convicted of insurgency-related crimes. Complaints about wrongful arrest, detention without trial, torture and a justice system where influence and money count for more than guilt or innocence are rife – and, of course, not limited to security prisoners. President Karzai’s […]

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Freeing the Prisoners Blog 1: Letting the Guilty Go Free?

Kate Clark

When the Afghan intelligence boss, Amrullah Saleh, said he could not, in all conscience, carry on in his post if it entailed “negotiating with suicide bombers” he became the first person to take a principled, stand against the way Afghan policy on the Taleban is developing. Saleh is particularly opposed to freeing Taleban prisoners. Yet […]

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After two years in legal limbo: A first glance at the approved ‘Amnesty law’

Sari Kouvo

(Updated: 30 September 2017à) – Impunity is certainly a problem in Afghanistan, but now impunity has been made into law. The so-called amnesty law (now titled the National Reconciliation, General Amnesty and National Stability Law) was published in the official gazette in December 2008 (Qaus 1387). While opinions differ about whether the law was formally passed […]

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An Ugly Kind of Security

Thomas Ruttig

The new security regulations announced in the US already draw criticism. Rightly so because they smell like racial and political profiling – plus a pinch of the bad old ‘axis of evil’ thinking. All citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen plus ‘nations considered “state sponsors of terrorism”’ […]

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Time to Work with Warlords? What?

Thomas Ruttig

I did not believe my eyes when I reviewed what the international media have printed about Afghanistan over Christmas: A fellow of a famous US university’s Human Rights Policy(!) institute proposes that it is ‘time to work with Afghan warlords’ (maybe not his own headline) and that ‘if President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers […]

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Happy Christmas (But war isn’t over)

Thomas Ruttig

‘Happy Xmas (War is over)’ – this was John Lennon’s wish in his beautiful 1971 holiday’s single already. The ex-Beatle (killed already 29 years ago) wasn’t referring to Afghanistan, obviously, then. In that year, Afghanistan was experiencing another of a series of drought years which would seriously undermine the country’s apparently so stable monarchy. Kabul […]

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Rearranging election outcomes while the IEC archive burns

Martine van Bijlert

While people across the world are wrapping their last gifts and doing their last Christmas shopping, Afghanistan still has unfinished election business. And it is clear that we haven’t seen the last of all the bizarre twists and turns. (1)  The latest twist is a mysterious fire in the IT department of the Independent Electoral […]

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Afghanistan’s democrats; from underground to marginalisation (MEI paper repost)

Thomas Ruttig

This is the second repost of an AAN contribution (without the footnotes) to the Middle East Institute’s recent publication “Afghanistan 1979-2009. In the Grip of Conflict”. Thomas Ruttig was one of the 53 experts who contributed essays on Afghanistan’s much conflicted recent history. In the spring of 2000 some 25 Afghan women and men secretly […]

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