Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

The Daily Hustle: ‘Packing up a life’ in Pakistan and being forcibly returned to Afghanistan 

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Nearly a million Afghans, many born and brought up in Pakistan, have ‘returned’ to their country since the start of Pakistan’s latest deportation campaign. On 3 October 2023, the government in Islamabad told undocumented Afghans living in the country to leave voluntarily by the end of that month or risk being forcibly returned. The police […]

Migration Read more
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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

The Daily Hustle: Crossing the Durand Line to visit family in Pakistan

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Roxanna Shapour

The story of Afghan families is often one of loved ones separated by long distances and national borders. Every year, many Afghans who have family living in neighbouring countries make the hours and sometimes days-long journey overland from Afghanistan, braving long bus rides, hours waiting to cross borders and the demands for payment by border […]

Context and Culture Read more

The Art of the Tracker: How to find a thief in Afghanistan

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The art of tracking footprints to find thieves, and even murderers, is well-known in Afghanistan, and particularly in southern Afghanistan and in the areas where Pashtun and Baluch tribes live on the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the Durand Line, the de facto international border, it can be a paid profession. Although trackers are in […]

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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

Crops not Watered, Fruit Rotting: Kandahar’s agriculture hit by war, drought and closed customs gates

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Farmers across Afghanistan have been hit hard by drought and fighting in recent years. In this report, we look at how this has affected agriculture in one province, Kandahar, famous for its fruit production. Much of the fruit crop is – or should be – exported, yet the frequent and unpredictable closure of crossings into […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Taleban Victory or Government Failure? A security update on Laghman province 

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Laghman province saw four of its six districts fall to the Taleban between late May and mid-July, part of the countrywide territorial advance by the Taleban that coincided with the final phase of the United States withdrawal from 1 May onwards. Laghman has long been contested, with a strong Taleban presence in some rural areas, […]

War and Peace Read more

Why does the Incidence of Polio Vary? A comparative study of two districts of Kandahar (Part 1)

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan are now the only two countries in the world still suffering from polio, an infectious viral disease that strikes children, causing temporary or permanent paralysis and, in some cases death. Despite the availability of a vaccine since the 1960s and national vaccination since 1978, polio remains a persistent challenge in Afghanistan. […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

A Threat at Kabul’s Southern Gate: A security overview of Logar province

Thomas Ruttig Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Logar – a strategic province at the southern gate of the capital Kabul – has been among Afghanistan’s most insecure provinces for years. The government only controls parts of three of its seven districts, in some cases not much more than (parts of) the district centre. This provides the Taleban positions closer to the capital […]

War and Peace Read more

The Gates of Friendship: How Afghans cross the Afghan-Pakistani border

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

There are three official crossings on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a boundary also known as the Durand Line. Two of these crossings are well-known: Torkham in the east and Spin Boldak in the south of Afghanistan. The gates that separate the two countries in the south read “the Gates of Friendship” in Pashto: […]

Regional Relations Read more

Government Rule Confined to District and Provincial Centres: Zabul’s capital under threat

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The Taleban have not yet been able to fully capture any province in Afghanistan, but they have been very close to capturing, or have briefly held, the provincial capitals of Kunduz, Farah, Ghazni, Uruzgan and Helmand in the recent past. Zabul province also remains on the brink, with the Taleban in control of most of […]

War and Peace Read more