Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Badghis

Covid-19 in Afghanistan (9): Into the third wave

Thomas Ruttig Rohullah Sorush

Afghanistan has entered the third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic amid an unprecedented rise in confirmed cases. Doctors in various provinces detected signs of the impending new wave soon after the start of the Afghan new year (21 March), but the government only imposed contact restrictions on 28 May and enlisted religious scholars to urge […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (1): No large outbreak yet in the country

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan has so far been moderately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer than 100 people testing positive and four confirmed fatalities. There are strong indications that these cases may have been seeded by the outbreak in neighbouring Iran, via Afghans who returned from that country. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has compiled an overview of what […]

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The ‘Reduction in Violence’ Week: What did (some of the) people think?

AAN Team

The ‘reduction in violence’ week between the US and Afghan militaries and the Taleban started after midnight on 22 February. It is to open the door for a US-Taleban deal on troop withdrawal and anti-terrorism guarantees to be signed on 29 February 2020 and, in the next step, for intra-Afghan peace negotiations. AAN researchers wanted to […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (10): What to watch out for on election day

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Martine van Bijlert Thomas Ruttig

Past Afghan elections have frequently been bewildering and surreal, even for those following the politics of the country for a long time. With this in mind, and taking into account the recent measures adopted to try to stave off a repeat of the chaos, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, Martine van Bijlert, Ali Yawar Adili and Jelena […]

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Drawings of mynahs by Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić, who travelled to Afghanistan in 1972 in search of birds. Photo: Author

Searching for the Afghan Snowfinch: Memories of a birdwatching journey fifty years ago

Voislav Vasic

The bearded vulture, the rich diversity of wheatears and, above all, the Afghan snowfinch – found nowhere else in the world – are what drew a young ornithologist, Voislav Vasić, to travel from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan in the summer of 1972. In this guest dispatch, Vasić, now the retired head of the national Natural History […]

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Lizards far from home. Some of the specimens brought back from Afghanistan in 1972 and now part of the Belgrade collection of lizards from Afghanistan at the Siniša Stanković Institute for Biological Research at the University of Belgrade. Photo: Jelena Bjelica

Lizards of Afghanistan: An unknown collection discovered in Serbia

Jelena Bjelica

In the summer of 1972, Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić travelled to Afghanistan and brought back a collection of lizards. It was a favour to a herpetologist (specialist in reptiles and amphibians) colleague. The collection, practically forgotten since has been rediscovered and re-examined by a Czech herpetologist Daniel Jablonski who published a paper with Serbian colleagues […]

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10 days 15 hours, 35 minutes and 13 seconds to go: The IEC's count down to the 20 October 2018 parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. Source: Screenshot from the IEC website, at the time of uploading this dispatch

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (16): Basic facts about the parliamentary elections

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has posted a clock on its home page that counts down the time remaining until the 20 October parliamentary election (minus Ghazni province). That’s a nice gag. It would also have been good if a counter had been provided to show, for example, the total number of registered voters (on its […]

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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (13): New voter registry too good to be true

Scott Warden

One of the main goals of Afghanistan launching a new voter registration process – a key provision of the 2014 National Unity Government Agreement – was to more accurately match the number of ballot papers to the number of voters in any given area. It was hoped this would reduce the opportunities for ballot stuffing. […]

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Less Rain and Snowfall in Afghanistan: High level of food assistance needed until early 2019

Jelena Bjelica

The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) has reported that in 22 of Afghanistan’s provinces, cumulative rain and snowfall during the ‘wet season’ – October 2017 to May 2018 – was 30 to 60 per cent below average. The northwest of the country has been particularly hard hit. AAN’s Jelena Bjelica (with input from Obaid Ali […]

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Tanks in front of the presidential palace on 28 April 1978, one day after the Saur coup. Photo: Cleric77, Wikipedia - Creative Commons 3.0

An April Day That Changed Afghanistan 1: Four decades after the leftist takeover

Thomas Ruttig

Forty years ago, Afghanistan experienced its second military coup d’état within five years. The authoritarian President Muhammad Daud had seized power in 1973 without much attention abroad and even little notice in Afghanistan – Daud was a sardar (prince) and seen as just another new king, although he proclaimed a republic. It was the second […]

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Poppy field in Helmand. Photo: AAN Staff

A Low-Risk Crop in a High-Risk Environment: Annual opium survey shows Afghan poppy cultivation at a record high

Jelena Bjelica

More opium was grown and more opium paste produced in Afghanistan in 2017 than in any year since the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) began monitoring in 1994. The UNODC’s annual Afghanistan Opium Survey, released today, has shown that 328,000 hectares of land were used to grow poppy this year, an increase […]

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How Neglect and Remoteness Bred Insurgency and a Poppy Boom: The story of Badghis

Jelena Bjelica

Badghis, a far-flung province in the west of the country, was the bad surprise in the 2016 Afghanistan Opium Survey of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The poppy cultivation area in Badghis increased almost by 200 percent compared to 2015, contributing significantly to the overall countrywide increase of ten per cent. AAN’s Jelena […]

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