Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Christian Bleuer

One Land, Two Rules (8): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected insurgent-controlled Zurmat district

Obaid Ali Sayed Asadullah Sadat Christian Bleuer

The Taleban’s military dominance in Zurmat district of Paktia province has allowed them to assert their will over how government and NGO-provided public services are delivered. Their motivation varies from ideological control (education and media) to revenue generation (taxes on telecommunications and public infrastructure projects). In this district, the Taleban have expanded into tax collection […]

War and Peace Read more
Chechen cadets (but not in Afghanistan): Chechen separatist government National Guard cadets on parade in Grozny, 1999. Photo: Natalia Medvedeva

Chechens in Afghanistan 2: How to identify a Chechen

Christian Bleuer

Researchers focusing on Chechen issues point to clear evidence that many Chechens are fighting in Syria, but roundly reject the notion of a Chechen presence in Afghanistan. In the first part of his special two-parter, Christian Bleuer looked at how Chechens became a battlefield myth for western soldiers and a tool for Afghan and US […]

Regional Relations Read more
Resistance leader Imam Shamil, an ethnic Avar and hero to many Chechens, surrenders to Russian forces in August 1859, (finding pictures of Chechens in Afghanistan is difficult) painting by Alexei Kivshenko, 1880

Chechens in Afghanistan 1: A Battlefield Myth That Will Not Die

Christian Bleuer

 In 2001, as the United States and other allied military forces attacked Taleban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, numerous soldiers, journalists and Afghans allied to the Americans relayed stories of a fearless and deadly opponent, incomparably worse than any other enemy: the Chechen. Such reports have never gone away, despite no Chechen having ever been […]

Regional Relations Read more
Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan. Credit: Kate Dixon (Flickr)

Attack on the Opposition in Tajikistan: Afghan concerns and comparisons

Christian Bleuer

Despite its 1300 kilometre-long border with Tajikistan, Afghanistan is rarely worried by the internal political strife and occasional violence to its north. The situation is, however, worsening. The Dushanbe government’s relentless attack on its domestic political (non-military) opposition, including the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), threatens to undo the relative peace and prosperity of […]

Regional Relations Read more

A Taleb Lost in a Polish Forest and More: Afghanistan in western films (part 2), 2001 to 2015

Christian Bleuer

Since 2001, there has been a relatively large number of western films that feature Afghanistan – either briefly or, in some cases, for the entire length of the movie. But despite the significant numbers of American and European mainstream films that deal with Afghanistan, there are few that truly explore the country and its people. […]

Context and Culture Read more

Rambo Was Too Late: Afghanistan in Western films (part I), from 1909 to 2001

Christian Bleuer

Afghanistan has rarely featured in western films, especially when compared to other foreign locales – from countries in Africa to Latin America to East Asia. This cinematic neglect is matched by the lower prominence that Afghanistan was accorded in the popular imagination and in western foreign policy during this era. Despite the shortage of films about […]

Context and Culture Read more
Streets of Khanabad. Photo: Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands, under creative commons license

Security in Kunduz Worsening Further: The case of Khanabad

Obaid Ali Christian Bleuer

Kunduz has had the worst security environment of any province in the north for the past few years. And within this province there are several districts that are particularly notable for the intractable conflicts raging within them. One notable area in this regard is Khanabad district, where government forces, nominally pro-government militias, illegal armed groups […]

War and Peace Read more

From ‘Slavers’ to ‘Warlords’: Descriptions of Afghanistan’s Uzbeks in western writing

Christian Bleuer

From the early 1800s to the present day, western writers have explored Afghanistan either in person or from a distance, their publications providing a view of Afghanistan’s governments and people to the wider audience in Europe, the United States and the west. However, this view is distorted in many ways. One noticeable case in this […]

Context and Culture Read more

To Syria, not Afghanistan: Central Asian jihadis ‘neglect’ their neighbour

Christian Bleuer

Since the American and Northern Alliance defeat of the Taleban and their Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) allies in northern Afghanistan in late 2001, the arrival of would-be fighters from the former Soviet countries of Central Asia to Afghanistan has been a very small trickle. And yet, over the last year, the number of Central […]

Regional Relations Read more

The Study and Understudy of Afghanistan’s Ethnic Groups: What we know – and don’t know

Christian Bleuer

From voting blocs to the share of power in government ministries to the composition of the insurgency, references to ethnic groups are frequently made in reporting and analysis. Accurate analysis requires a careful look at the complicated social lives and local politics in which members of these ethnic groups operate. But what is actually known […]

Political Landscape Read more

Little Bridges: AAN’s new report on the slowly growing links between Afghanistan and the Central Asia republics

Christian Bleuer S Reza Kazemi

Reports about Afghanistan and its neighbours to the north usually lump the five former Soviet Central Asia republics together as an undifferentiated block  – ‘the Stans’. Such an approach does not reflect the reality of five countries with very different, mainly bilateral and very local relationships with Afghanistan. The distortion has only been worsened by […]

Regional Relations Read more
Photo: Pajhwok

Between Co-operation and Insulation: Afghanistan’s Relations with the Central Asian Republics

S Reza Kazemi Christian Bleuer

The latest AAN report, “Between Co-operation and Insulation: Afghanistan’s Relations with the Central Asian Republics”, by Christian Bleuer and Said Reza Kazemi, looks at the state of Afghanistan’s relationships to the former Soviet republics of Central Asia to the north. The authors look at the multi- and bilateral cooperation on various levels and from both […]

Special Reports Read more