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.

Women and Reconciliation (2): The Dangers of Representing Women as Victims

Deborah Smith

Why are the voices and everyday experiences of Afghanistan’s rural, urban poor and working class women still so rarely heard? Why do they continue to be (re)presented as a homogeneous group of victims of their own families, communities and traditions? In this guest blog, Deborah Smith* argues that it is important to move away from […]

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Acting on Old News? NATO Suspends Detainee Transfers in Afghanistan

Sari Kouvo

NATO has temporarily suspended detainee transfers to a number of detention centers in Afghanistan. This decision was taken pending the release of a so far unreleased UN report that is said to document mistreatment and torture in Afghan detention centers. AAN’s Sari Kouvo* ponders how this can be breaking news for NATO and ISAF troop […]

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Where Fear has Replaced Trust: Some Reflections after the World Humanitarian Day in Afghanistan

Sari Kouvo

Probably not so many of us know, but on 19 August, we celebrated the World Humanitarian Day. On that day, AAN’s Sari Kouvo and Naheed Esar Malikzay stumbled into a small ceremony in Kabul celebrating humanitarian work* and were inspired to explore the situation of Afghan humanitarian and development workers.** The stories Sari and Naheed […]

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Where criminals forgive themselves

Fabrizio Foschini

The Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSFo) today released a report titled ‘How People Define Violence and Justice in Afghanistan (1958 – 2008)’. Prepared by ACSFo with the funding of the Heinrich-Bӧll-Stiftung, the report provides a valuable insight into Afghans’ perceptions of these two concepts, drawn by their extensive experience of at least the first of […]

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Guest Blog: Let’s Remember Afghanistan on International Criminal Justice Day

Ajmal Pashtoonyar

Last year in Kampala (Uganda), the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to celebrate 17 July as the Day of International Criminal Justice, to commemorate the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (adopted 1998). As we celebrate International Criminal Justice Day, Ajmal Pashtoonyar* takes the opportunity […]

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Victims Organisations Sound a Wake-up Call

Sari Kouvo

AAN continues its analysis of civil society’s role in and ability to influence the processes unfolding in Afghanistan. AAN’s Sari Kouvo and Obaid Ali participated in the National Victims Conference held in Kabul 30-31 March. The National Victims’ Conference held in Kabul 30-31 March brought together representatives from victims and martyrs organizations, civil society and […]

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First Flickers of an Afghan Facebook Reform Movement

Gran Hewad

After the revolution in Egypt and Tunisia in which Facebook played a key role, young Afghan Facebook users have started to establish their own pages to organise anti-government protest. They have chosen corruption and reform as their rallying issues. AAN’s Gran Hewad went to the first press conference of one of the reformist groupings but […]

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Stories people tell (2): Bagram prison; not a single good day

Martine van Bijlert

There are so many stories of people who get caught up in the nightly operations by American and Afghan forces. In the search for ‘kill & capture’ targets the net is cast wide: once a door is kicked in all males in a household are usually taken for interrogation. And it is then anyone’s guess […]

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Shelters in the Storm: The Controversy over Women’s Safehouses

Sari Kouvo

The Afghan government accuses women’s shelters of corruption, while women’s rights advocates criticize the government for believing rumors rather than facts and succumbing to the pressure of conservatives. Whatever the outcome of this controversy, the victims are likely to be the women who have sought refuge in the shelters – most of them fleeing situations […]

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Baseless Words – or: A Little Coaching for Christopher Hitchens

Thomas Ruttig

A reply to Chistopher Hitchens’ under-researched rant against what he calls the human rights ‘activists’ community that ‘finally notices the Taliban’s war crimes’. AAN’s senior analyst Thomas Ruttig points to some reports that show how far this is from truth. There we get it: ‘The human rights community finally notices the Taliban’s war crimes. […] […]

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Guest Blog: Legal Pluralism – Decentralization of the Rule of Law?

Michael Daxner

The discussion about how Afghanistan’s legal system should work and its three components – state, customary and Islamic law (sharia) – should relate to each other has been going on ever since 2001, without a clear result. Even the constitution leaves loopholes that are reflected in the legal practice. Currently, the Afghan government works on […]

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The Air Is Getting Thicker in Paktia

Thomas Ruttig

Some progress on the women’s front but the security situation spiraling further downwards and a population that cannot find anything good in the Americans anymore – these are impressions from a short visit to Gardez this week that was undertaken by AAN’s Senior Analyst Thomas Ruttig, two and a half months after his last trip […]

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