Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

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 […]

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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 […]

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Kandahar from Razeq to Tadin (2): The collapse foretold that did not happen

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 had installed in central parts of the province might break down without him and the Taleban might capitalise on this. Although fighting has since increased, the feared collapse has […]

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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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The main intersection in Shin Kalay village half an hour's drive east of Lashkargah Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2018.

One Land, Two Rules (6): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Nad Ali district of Helmand province

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

In opium-rich Nad Ali district, public service provision is poor. The district is roughly divided between the government and the Taleban and they continue to clash over control of population, territory and roads. Although only the government and NGOs fund public services, the Taleban exert considerable control over what is delivered in their areas, determining […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
A women voter casting her vote in a polling centre in Kandahar City. Photo: Ali Mohammad Sabawoon, 2018.

The 2018 Election Observed (2) in Kandahar: Facing the same problems as the rest of the country

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The people of Kandahar cast their vote on 27 October 2018, a week later than the rest of the country. Although no figures have been released, turnout appears to have been good in Kandahar city and Spin Boldak, as was expected, and patchy to nonexistent in most other districts. The IEC had stressed that the […]

Political Landscape Read more
Helmand peace marchers in front of the Russian embassy. Photo: People's Peace Movement/2018

“The Eid ceasefire helped our efforts well”: Helmand peace marchers keep up the pressure

Thomas Ruttig Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Although the Eid ceasefires have been and gone, they have rekindled hopes across Afghanistan that peace is possible. Helmand’s peace movement is keeping up the pressure. It has staged sit-ins in front of embassies in Kabul and sent letters to countries participating in or supporting the war effort. The movement has also reached other parts […]

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Girls and boys from Nawaabad school singing the national anthem to welcome the protesters to Ghazni city. (2018: the peace marchers)

Peace (hopefully) for a few days: A ceasefire for Eid as Helmand marchers approach Kabul

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Afghans may, just possibly, have a happier Eid than in previous years. The government, the Taleban and the United States military have all called temporary ceasefires. Meanwhile, seven marchers for peace, who set off from Helmand on 13 May have been walking towards Kabul in temperatures of more than 40 degrees while keeping the Ramadan […]

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Surrounding the Cities: The meaning of the latest battle for Farah (I)

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Obaid Ali Rohullah Sorush Thomas Ruttig

An attack on Farah city had long been feared. For years now, the Taleban have been taking control of the provincial capital’s outlying districts and inching their way towards the central hub. For a few days in mid-May, it looked as though the Taleban were about to take Farah city, which would have been their […]

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Helmand Peace March Initiative protestors pray for peace in their tent at the Ghazi Ayub Khan Stadium. Photo: c/o Helmand Peace March Initiative, 2018.

Going Nationwide: The Helmand peace march initiative

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Protests in Helmand calling for a ceasefire and talks between insurgents and government are about to enter their second month. The pro-peace demonstrations which began in what are often described as the Taleban’s ‘southern heartlands’, have been spreading: they can now be found in half of Afghanistan’s provinces and for now, at least, they are […]

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One of the refugee families who returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2017. Last year, some 57,000 people returned. This year, a far bigger, forced exodus is feared. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017, Nangrahar.

Still Caught in Regional Tensions? The uncertain destiny of Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Jelena Bjelica Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

As this dispatch was finalised, the Pakistan government had not made any last-minute extension to the ‘Proof of Registration’ identity cards for Afghan refugees residing in the country. Those cards were due to run out on 31 January 2018. Without an extension, a huge number of people could be forced to go back to Afghanistan […]

Migration Read more