Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Helmand

Finally, Rain and Snow in Afghanistan: Will it be enough to avert another year of drought?

Kate Clark AAN Team

The last few weeks have finally seen rain and snowfall in Afghanistan, raising hopes for farmers and herders that this year could be better than the last three drought years. Afghans typically categorise a drought year as one where the low amount of precipitation causes problems for agriculture – a poor harvest or crop failure […]

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A farmer walks through his destroyed poppy field on the outskirts of Lashkargah in Helmand Province. Photo by Sanaullah Seiam/AFP, 9 April 2023

The Opium Ban: The impact on small farmers, sharecroppers and labourers in Helmand province

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Jelena Bjelica

In what used to be Afghanistan’s largest poppy-growing province, Helmand, cultivation plummeted by 99 per cent in 2023 following the Islamic Emirate’s ban on the crop in April 2022. Although opium trading largely continued, which brought windfall profits to anyone with opium stocks to sell, the ban on cultivation has caused unemployment and an economic […]

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The exclusive Sherpur neighbourhood in Kabul, built in 2003 after Kabul Chief of Police Abdul Bashir Salangi, on the orders of Minister of Defence Qasim Fahim, bulldozed the mud-built houses of poor residents: plots were subsequently distributed largely to their factional comrades from Shura-ye Nizar. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP, 2022

Land in Afghanistan: This time, retaking instead of grabbing land?

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

When the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) retook power, it started reclaiming state land that had been seized during previous administrations. In October 2022, the IEA established the Land-Grabbing Prevention and Restitution Commission, within the Ministry of Justice, whose purpose is to investigate land-grabbing under the Islamic Republic, restore any state land and prevent it […]

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A wedding hall in Kabul, August 2022. The age of first marriage had been rising in Afghanistan. However, increasing numbers of child marriages, driven by economic distress, are being reported. Photo: Daniel Leal/AFP.

Living in a Collapsed Economy (4): The desperation and guilt of giving a young daughter in marriage 

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The collapse of the economy has led families across Afghanistan to make desperate decisions, including giving young daughters in marriage in exchange for a bride price. AAN interviewed four fathers who spoke about the pressures of debt and the emotional turmoil and guilt that surrounded the decision.

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

The Fall of Nimruz: A symbolic or economic game-changer?

Fabrizio Foschini

With the fall of five provincial capitals in three days – Zaranj in Nimruz, Sheberghan in Jowzjan, Sarepul, Kunduz and Taloqan in Takhar –, the Taleban switched pace. After an unexpected and highly successful sweep of rural districts in many parts of Afghanistan yielded particularly astounding results in areas considered ‘difficult’ for them, such as […]

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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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Why does the Incidence of Polio Vary? A comparative study of two districts in Helmand (Part 2)

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

In this second of two case studies exploring why polio vaccination varies between apparently quite similar districts in Afghanistan, we look at two neighbouring district in Helmand province, Nawa, with its rare incidences of polio since 2001, and Nad Ali, which has seen one of the highest numbers of polio cases in the country. A […]

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Droughts on the Horizon: Can Afghanistan manage this risk? 

Mhd Assem Mayar

In the last two decades, Afghanistan has experienced more droughts than ever before. New data suggest that after two relatively good years, the country is facing a moderate-to-high drought risk for the new year 1400 (2021). Half of Afghanistan’s agricultural land depends on spring rainfall, which has become less reliable because of climate change. Annual droughts in […]

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Living with the Taleban (2): Local experiences in Nad Ali district, Helmand province

AAN Guests

What is it like to live in an area controlled by the Taleban? How does their rule affect your life and can you influence what they do? To answer these questions, we embarked on a research project scrutinising three districts in depth, looking at the local dynamics of citizen/Taleban interactions, the structure of Taleban government and whether local […]

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“Helmand is my soul, my mother. I never want to leave”: Obituary for murdered journalist, Muhammad Aliyas Dayee, 1988-2020

Andrew Quilty

One of Afghanistan’s most respected journalists, Muhammad Aliyas Dayee, was killed in a targeted attack on 12 November in the Helmand capital, Lashkargah. Greatly admired and loved by colleagues and listeners to his radio reports alike, Dayee’s murder has raised questions about whether the profession is a viable one as the incidence of targeted killings […]

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New special report: ‘Ghosts of the Past: Lessons from Local Force Mobilisation in Afghanistan and Prospects for the Future’

Kate Clark

A major new special report, ‘Ghosts of the Past: Lessons from Local Force Mobilisation in Afghanistan and Prospects for the Future’ looks at what is likely to make a local defence force – such as the Afghan Local Police (ALP) or Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANA-TF) successful. This research sought to understand what makes some […]

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One Land, Two Rules (11): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected districts – a synthesis report

Kate Clark

In many parts of Afghanistan, the issue of who is in control is not straightforward: it may be the government or the Taleban or a mixture of both. Yet despite this – and the ongoing conflict ­– many public services continue, including health and education. How that works in practice is a question we wanted […]

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