Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Nangrahar

Kandahar from Razeq to Tadin (1): Building the ‘American tribe’

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Thomas Ruttig

After the assassination in October 2018 of Kandahar’s powerful police chief and ruthless anti-Taleban strongman, General Abdul Razeq, it was feared that the security regime he installed in central parts of the province might break down without him and the Taleban might capitalise on it. Although fighting has since increased, the feared collapse has not […]

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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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One Land, Two Rules (5): The polio vaccination gap

Jelena Bjelica

While researching the delivery of health, education and other services in districts affected by the insurgency, we found that three of our featured districts, in Helmand, Nangrahar and Kunduz provinces, had seen cases of polio leading to paralysis in the last five years. There is no cure for polio, but there is an effective vaccination, […]

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Sudais is in his father, Baktullah's, fruit and vegetable store in Shadal Bazaar village of Achin district. Life is slowly returning to normal after government and US forces pushed ISKP out of most of the district in 2017 and 2018. Public services – education, healthcare and electricity supply – are still patchy, barely-functioning or non-existent. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017

One Land, Two Rules (4): Delivering public services in embattled Achin district in Nangrahar province

Rohullah Sorush S Reza Kazemi

Achin district in the south of Afghanistan’s key eastern province of Nangrahar has been heavily fought over by the Taleban, ISKP and government and United States forces. The delivery of public services has been hampered, helped or abolished depending on who has been in charge at any given time; ISKP banned almost all public services […]

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Smoke rises from where an American airstrike targeted a presumed ISKP fighting position in Mamand Valley. As seen from Combat Outpost Blackfish on April 22, 2018. Photo: Author

“Faint lights twinkling against the dark”: Reportage from the fight against ISKP in Nangrahar

Andrew Quilty

It has been almost four years since the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) captured territory in southern Nangrahar province, where it ruled with extreme brutality, and nearly two years since the United States military and Afghan government forces began concertedly fighting the group there. (The Taleban, too, have fought ISKP sporadically.) The last commander of […]

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The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (2): The cultural history of hashish consumption in Afghanistan

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica Obaid Ali

Hashish or chars is a fairly common substance in Afghanistan. Its use, without ever attaining the levels of mass consumption that characterise other lightly-intoxicating substances in other war-torn countries, like the chewing of qat in Yemen or Somalia, for example, has remained relatively widespread. This does not mean that it is condoned by society: hashish-users, known as […]

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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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The Afghanistan Election Conundrum (12): Good news and bad news about district numbers

Thomas Ruttig

Afghan authorities have solved one of the most long-standing and consequential problems in the country‘s complex election system: the number of districts. It is 387. This is pending a final decision by parliament, as there are some so-called ‘temporary’ districts that could boost the number. If parliament takes this issue up, however, there is a […]

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UNAMA Mid-Year Report on Civilian Casualties: Highest number of deaths on record

Kate Clark

UNAMA has released its mid-year assessment of the harm done to civilians in the Afghan conflict. It found that more civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018 than in any year since 2009 when UNAMA started systematic monitoring. This was despite the Eid ul-Fitr ceasefire, which all parties to the conflict apart […]

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How to End the Afghan War? A new publication on peace reviewed

Kate Clark

A new short book-length report, “Incremental peace in Afghanistan” looks at what is needed to end the Afghan conflict. It explores the many drivers towards the war continuing – external backing for both sides, the war economy and basic persisting disputes about power-sharing – but also details what could drive a peace process – the […]

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Still under the IS’s Black Flag: Qari Hekmat’s ISKP island in Jawzjan after his death by drone

Obaid Ali

In April, Qari Hekmatullah, the self-proclaimed commander of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), was killed in a US airstrike. Under his command, a local affiliate of the Afghan-Pakistani Daesh affiliate, ISKP, had challenged both the government and the Taleban and established almost full control over two remote districts of Jawzjan province, Darzab and Qush […]

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