Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Special Reports

Special Reports – formerly known as thematic reports or briefing papers – are more substantive publications on subjects that are high on the policy agenda. Special Reports are all externally peer-reviewed.

The Takhar attack: Targeted killings and the parallel worlds of US intelligence and Afghanistan

Kate Clark

The targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden has given a boost to those in the US who believe this is also an effective strategy to defeat – or at least degrade – the Taleban in Afghanistan. This new AAN thematic report, by senior analyst Kate Clark, warns against this strategy, stressing that the legality of […]

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The Insurgents of the Afghan North

Antonio Giustozzi Christopher Reuter

In this report Antonio Giustozzi and Christoph Reuter describe the rise of the Taleban in northern Afghanistan. They discuss their recruitment and shadow administration, the conduct of the Afghan government, the effects of ISAF’s ‘capture-and-kill campaign’ and how all of this together contributes to a very unstable status quo. Until recently, the belief was widespread […]

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Afghanistan’s Early Reformists: Mahmud Tarzi’s ideas and their influence on the Wesh Zalmian movement

Thomas Ruttig

This paper of its Senior Analysts Thomas Ruttig represents the opening of AAN’s new series of occasional papers. It addresses the influence of the thoughts of Afghan nationalist and moderniser Mahmud Tarzi (1865-1933), foreign minister under reformer-king Amanullah (1919-29), on Afghanistan’s 1940/50s pro-democratic opposition movement, the Wesh Zalmian (Awakened Youth). Mahmud Tarzi and the movement […]

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Afghanistan’s Drug Career: from War to Drug Economy

Citha D Maas

This new AAN thematic report (with SWP Berlin) by German scholar Citha D. Maass looks into the beginnings and the evolution of drug production in Afghanistan during its three decades-long war. Starting with the Western-supported anti-Soviet jihad in 1979, drug production became a major base for the country’s war economy. After the fall of the […]

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Pashtunwali – tribal life and behaviour among the Pashtuns

Lutz Rzehak

‘Doing Pashto: Pashtunwali as the ideal of honourable behaviour and tribal life among the Pashtuns’ – this new thematic report by Lutz Rzehak provides an overview about the way of life of the Pashtuns, often called Pashtunwali. The term features prominently when civilian and military actors in Afghanistan discuss ways of engaging the civilian population […]

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Untangling Afghanistan’s 2010 Vote: Analysing the electoral data

Martine van Bijlert

This new briefing paper by Martine van Bijlert provides a backdrop to the controversies surrounding the 2010 parliamentary vote. It presents an overview of the main publicly available electoral data and maps what information has been provided, what conclusions can be drawn and what information is still missing – either because it was not shared […]

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Inciting the Believers to Fight: A closer look at the rhetoric of the Afghan jihad

Florian Froschk

While AAN in a series of recent papers has recently been looking at features of the Taleban movement in general, now it takes a look on one of its specifics: their propaganda. Our author Florian Broschk has dissected a rare Dari-language propaganda video and the language used in it, a Salafi-influenced narrative of ‘oppression’ and […]

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Peace offerings: Theories of conflict resolution and their applicability to Afghanistan

Matt Waldman

AAN’s new discussion paper by Matt Waldman and Thomas Ruttig takes a more theoretical approach to the current debate about reconciliation, often too narrowly described just as ‘talking to the Taleban’. It looks into various theories of conflict resolution and which insights they may offer for a peaceful solution of the Afghan conflict. Despite the […]

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The Ex-Taleban on the High Peace Council: A renewed role for the Khuddam ul-Furqan?

Thomas Ruttig

AAN’s latest discussion paper by Thomas Ruttig provides a first analysis of the former Taleban members on the newly-established Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), of what their possible role may be in this body, their political and historical background as well as the development of their positions vis-à-vis a possible process of negotiations. An analysis […]

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Who Controls the Vote? Afghanistan’s Evolving Elections

Martine van Bijlert

AAN’s latest report, by Martine van Bijlert, provides the first in-depth analysis of the 2009 provincial council elections and presents important clues on what the parliamentary vote on 18 September will look like. It argues that, contrary to what some internationals hope, the upcoming vote will again be messy, fiercely contested and manipulated at all […]

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How Tribal Are the Taleban? Afghanistan’s Largest Insurgent Movement between its Tribal Roots and Islamist Ideology

Thomas Ruttig

The Taleban in Afghanistan should be treated as a primarily political movement with political aims, and not as a tribal one, concludes Thomas Ruttig, author of the new report ‘How Tribal Are the Taleban? Afghanistan’s Largest Insurgent Movement between Tribal Roots and Islamist Ideology,’ published today by AAN. Today’s Taleban movement has a double nature, […]

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The Northern Front: The Afghan Insurgency Spreading beyond the Pashtuns

Antonio Giustozzi Christopher Reuter

One of the key developments in Afghanistan during the last year is the expansion of insurgent activity in the northern region. The latest AAN briefing paper analyses this expansion and points to the crucial fact that the Taleban are expanding their constituency into non-Pashtun areas. The paper is authored by Antonio Giustozzi, prominent scholar of […]

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