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.

Beginning of a New Era at the AIHRC: Nine fresh commissioners

Ehsan Qaane

The National Unity Government has finally, after 13 painful months mulling the matter over, appointed nine new commissioners to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The new chair is Shaharzad Akbar, a well-known human rights activist, who has served as a deputy at the National Security Council on peace, protection of civilians and fallen […]

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Civilians at Greater Risk from Pro-government Forces: While peace seems more elusive?

Jelena Bjelica Rachel Reid

After a Ramadan stained with violence, peace seems remote. Both sides have intensified the tempo of the conflict, with civilians paying a heavy price. While the Taleban appear to be exercising more care with some tactics that protect civilians, they continue to unlawfully target civilians with others, as recent attacks demonstrate. The US and Afghan […]

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Better, But Still Bad: UNAMA releases new report on the torture of security detainees

Kate Clark

UNAMA has released its latest two-yearly report on the treatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and finds perpetrators of torture in the Afghan National Security Forces are still enjoying immunity from punishment. Overall rates are down, especially in the Afghan intelligence agency, the NDS, but the proportion of those detained giving credible accounts of torture […]

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An injured man uses a piece of timber as a crutch to try to get away from the scene of one of the worst attacks since 2001. The Taleban said they were targeting the Ministry of Interior buildings in Kabul. Using a van painted to look like an ambulance, the suicide attack killed 114 civilians, and injured 229 more. Such intentional killing of civilians by Taleban is one of the crimes the ICC Prosecutor had wanted to investigate. (Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2018)

ICC rejects war crimes investigation in Afghanistan: Continuing impunity for perpetrators, no voice yet for victims

Kate Clark

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided not to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity that have allegedly taken place on Afghan soil. The Court’s Chief Prosecutor, after finding that there was evidence of the Taleban committing a range of crimes, including murder and intentionally attacking civilians, and of Afghan government forces and the […]

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Commemoration in the Basement: Kabul’s hidden war victims museum (2)

Thomas Ruttig

With the Afghanistan Centre for Memories and Dialogue, a new museum dedicated to the victims of the Afghan wars of the last four decades and their families has opened in Kabul in February this year. It was initially supposed to be housed in the capital’s landmark Behzad cinema but now is confined to a provisional […]

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What’s in a Woman’s Name? No name, no public persona

Rohullah Sorush

Across Afghanistan, women are not addressed or referred to by their names in public. Even on wedding invitations and tombstones, they are typically referred to as the daughter, wife or mother of their father, husband or eldest son. Many Afghans believe naming a woman in public dishonours her. Others are arguing that a tradition that […]

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Visitor at the opening of Kabul’s newest museum, the Afghanistan Centre for Memories and Dialogue, which commemorates war crimes and their victims (Photo Hadi Morawej 2019)

Peace in The Air, But Where Is Justice? Efforts to get transitional justice on the table

Ehsan Qaane Sari Kouvo

A new museum, commemorating war crimes and their victims, has opened in Kabul. The Afghanistan Centre for Memories and Dialogue is dedicated to collecting the stories of survivors and the families of victims of war crimes. Their voices have rarely been heard in recent decades, partly because dealing with the legacy of violations in the […]

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The 2018 Election Observed (3) in Kunduz: A Very Violent E-Day

Obaid Ali

Kunduz province faced serious security issues during and after Election Day. The turnout was far lower than expected. This was mainly due to an almost unprecedented level of Taleban violence compared to most other provinces on that day. Three districts were deprived of their rights to vote in their entirety, while six others had a […]

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Voters queue in Nili, provincial capital of Daikundi. Photo: Ehsan Qaane

Election Day One: A rural-urban divide emerging

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s third post-Taleban parliamentary elections have started slowly, with a lot of technical chaos and significant fighting in a number of provinces. Polling hours have now been extended. Even in many areas of Kabul, polling centres had not opened by 9:30am. There are widespread reports of a lack of polling material, electoral staff being unfamiliar […]

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AIHRC’s Bamyan provincial office building inaugurated in 2014. Its nine from 14 offices, one HQ and 13 provincial offices, have their own buildings. The buildings of its provincial offices in Balkh and Daikundi are under construction. Photo: AIHRC’s website.

New Commissioners for the AIHRC: 390 applications for nine positions

Ehsan Qaane

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), set up in 2002 as part of the Bonn Agreement, is to get a new set of commissioners. How to choose them has proved difficult. Before, the president just appointed whom he wanted. Now, a new procedure aimed at greater transparency has ended up being slow and clumsy. The […]

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Widespread Violence yet Perpetrators go Unpunished: A new UN report on violence against Afghan women

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

Violence against women – be it murder, beatings, mutilation, child marriage, the giving away of girls in marriage to resolve disputes (baad) or other harmful practices – remains widespread throughout Afghanistan, despite the government’s efforts to criminalise such practices, the UN has found. Its new report highlights how mediation by government and traditional actors, which […]

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Two New Reports on Afghan Civilian Casualties: Gruelling, but important reading

Kate Clark

UNAMA and Human Rights Watch have each released blistering reports on the killing and wounding of civilians in the Afghan conflict. UNAMA presents the results of its investigation into the Afghan Air Force’s bombing of an open-air graduation ceremony at a madrassa in Dasht-e Archi in Kunduz province in April. It concludes that, even if […]

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