Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Sar-e Pol

Försiktigt kinesiskt engagemang i Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

Swedish Afghanistan Committee, 18 December 2023 This is an abbreviated translation into Swedish of Thomas Ruttig’s Septemr 2023 AAN report, titled “Chinese Investments in Afghanistan: Strategic economic move or incentive for the Emirate?” on the Swedish Committee’s website.

External publications Read more
A child makes bricks in a mould at a brick kiln in Kandahar. For the families in our study from Sar-e Pul, working in the brick kilns in Mazar-e Sharif was a last resort, but by 2016, 70 per cent of households were migrating there seasonally, with men, women and children working. Households could easily fall into debt-bondage. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP, November 2021

Living With Radical Uncertainty in Rural Afghanistan: The work of survival

Adam Pain

Yet again, Afghanistan is experiencing a moment of rupture, the latest in a long series of upheavals that have marked the lives of most Afghans over the age of 55. For those living in rural areas, unpredictability is created not only by regime change or violent conflict, but also drought, flooding and other natural disasters. […]

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 […]

War and Peace Read more

A Quarter of Afghanistan’s Districts Fall to the Taleban amid Calls for a ‘Second Resistance’

Kate Clark Obaid Ali

In the last few weeks, the Taleban have captured scores of district centres across Afghanistan. In this report, we look at the general reasons for the success of the Taleban onslaught, before focusing on the north, which has seen a collapse of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) of unprecedented speed and scale. The fall […]

War and Peace Read more

The case of Mawlawi Mehdi and Balkhab District: Are the Taleban attracting Hazaras?

Thomas Ruttig

Recently, a story appeared in the media reporting that the Taleban have appointed a Shia Hazara as a shadow district governor in Sar-e Pul province. This ethno-religious group is barely represented in the insurgent movement, and stands in the way of the Taleban’s attempt to present itself as nation-wide. Mehdi, however, is not physically present […]

War and Peace Read more

Afghanistan’s 2019 Elections (26): A Q&A about the ongoing election stalemate

Ali Yawar Adili

The aftermath of Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential election has now dragged on for 72 days. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has missed two dates for the announcement of preliminary results and is 50 days behind its original election timetable. The commission has not decided yet when it will announce the results. Meanwhile, the IEC’s audit and […]

Political Landscape Read more

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (19): An ambiguous picture of E-day civilian casualties

Thomas Ruttig

The latest UNAMA report and other figures paint a mixed picture of the level of violence Afghanistan experienced on election day. On one hand, the day remained calmer than many feared, without the massive terror attacks threatened by the Taleban. On the other hand, 28 September was the second-most violent election day the country has ever […]

War and Peace Read more
With intermittent fighting and rocket attacks throughout the day, election workers in the Awal Baba school voting centre in Maidan Shahr, had little work to do. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2019.

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (13): Observations from Kandahar, Takhar, Wardak and Balkh

AAN Team

Observations from the provinces show an election that, in general, saw less violence than anticipated, although some provinces were still very violent. Despite this, turnout was low, even in the relatively safe provincial capitals. Problems with the biometric verification process also meant that some voters who were registered were sent away. In this dispatch, AAN […]

Political Landscape Read more

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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

Rug Weavers and Bride Prices in the Northwest: Still expensive in spite of government and Taleban rules

Obaid Ali

Weddings in Afghanistan are often an expensive and ‘back-breaking’ affair. A government law to change the expensive wedding culture remains largely unimplemented and there seems to be little will to enforce it. The Taleban have also imposed an assortment of rules for controlling wedding costs in areas under their command, which vary depending on the […]

Context and Culture Read more
Footage from the Islamic Jihad Union's al-Sodiqlar social media channel.

New Confusion About ISKP: A case study from Sar-e Pul

Obaid Ali

After the defeat of a self-proclaimed ISKP group in Jawzjan in July 2018, focus has shifted to neighbouring Sar-e Pul. Russian media in particular have alleged that there are more pro-ISKP groups active in this province. AAN’s Obaid Ali (with inputs from Thomas Ruttig) has looked into Sar-e Pul’s insurgency landscape and found no indication […]

War and Peace Read more

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. […]

Political Landscape Read more