Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Nangrahar

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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A Son of Nangrahar Paints the Sea: Afghan artwork from Guantanamo

Kate Clark

As an art exhibition featuring the works of eight current and former Guantanamo detainees, Yemeni, Algerian, Pakistani and Kuwaiti, is now showing in New York, we thought we would look at the paintings and sculptures of an Afghan who is still in the prison camp, who is not featured in the exhibition. Assad (known in […]

Context and Culture Read more
Haji Zaher Qader on the battlements. Credit: Zaher's Facebook Page, posted 12 February 2016

More Militias? Part 2: The proposed Afghan Territorial Army in the fight against ISKP

Borhan Osman Kate Clark

In recent days, Afghan government officials have raised the possibility of standing up a new militia force, the Afghan Territorial Army (ATA), modelled after both its Indian namesake and the Afghan Local Police (ALP). AAN understands that President Ghani is currently considering a pilot project for the ATA in the Achin and Kot districts of […]

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The Battle for Mamand: ISKP under strain, but not yet defeated 

Borhan Osman

In recent weeks, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) has lost a significant part of its stronghold in Nangrahar as well as several senior commanders and its overall leader, Sheikh Abdul Hasib. Its losses have been mounting steadily since early April when American and Afghan special forces intensified their campaign against the group. This included […]

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Daily wage labourers chatting with each other while waiting for jobs. As the number of returnees from Pakistan has increased, the chances of getting work has gone down. Some labourers told AAN that they had been waiting for weeks to get a single day’s work.

Resettling Nearly Half a Million Afghans in Nangrahar: The consequences of the mass return of refugees

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

Most of the 600,000 Afghans who returned from Pakistan last year chose to settle in the eastern border province of Nangrahar. This has put considerable strain on both health and education services. There has also been a boom in property prices, which has exacerbated land grabbing, already a major source of conflict in the province. […]

Migration Read more

‘Mother of All Bombs’ Dropped on ISKP: Assessing the aftermath

Borhan Osman Kate Clark Martine van Bijlert

American and Afghan forces have arrived at the site of the massive US bomb blast that targeted a complex of tunnels and caves in Achin, Nangarhar, the stronghold of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), on 13 April 2017. Journalists and other independent observers have not yet been allowed to enter the area, so information […]

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HIG leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Photo: website of Shahadat daily.

Hekmatyar taken off UN sanctions list: Paving the way for his return – and Hezb-e Islami’s reunification?

Thomas Ruttig

The United Nations has lifted the sanctions against Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan. This was the next step in the implementation of the peace agreement signed by the Afghan government and Hezb in September 2016. It paves the way for the return of the former mujahedin leader, one of the […]

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IS fighter distributes propaganda material to inhabitants of Kot district.

ISKP’s Battle for Minds: What are its main messages and who do they attract?

Borhan Osman

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) uses propaganda to carve out new space in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s already crowded jihadi landscape. It uses popular media and promotes a distinct narrative of Salafi-jihadism tailored to local preferences and focused on specific themes. In the first part of this dispatch, AAN’s Borhan Osman analyses the propaganda messages […]

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Screenshot from a video of a ISKP training in Nangarhar published in 2015

Descent into chaos: Why did Nangarhar turn into an IS hub?

Borhan Osman

Armed groups pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) have tried to establish a foothold in five of Afghanistan’s provinces, but only in Nangarhar have they succeeded. There, IS Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Afghanistan-Pakistan franchise of the Islamic State, landed on fertile ground with a fragmented insurgency, bickering provincial elites, a tradition of Salafi networks […]

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The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar

Borhan Osman

The Islamic State’s local franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the TUTAP protests in Kabul on 23 July 2016. The attack killed more than 80 people and injured over 230 others in Deh Mazang Square in western Kabul. The target of […]

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Afghan refugees in Germany are concerned about their asylum application status; here a group of new arrivals is led to the registration centre in Munich in December 2015 (Source Tolonews).

Deciding to Leave Afghanistan (3): What happens after arrival in Europe

Martine van Bijlert

AAN has done a series of twelve in-depth interviews with families of Afghans who recently travelled to Europe. The conversations provided a fascinating insight into the practicalities of both the decision making processes and the journey, the complex interplay between economic and security considerations and the mixed feelings families often have once their loved ones […]

Migration Read more

Deciding To Leave Afghanistan (2): The routes and the risks

Jelena Bjelica

AAN has done a series of twelve in-depth interviews with families of Afghans who recently travelled to Europe. The conversations provided a fascinating insight into the practicalities of both the decision making processes and the journey, the complex interplay between economic and security considerations and the mixed feelings families often have once their loved ones […]

Migration Read more