Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Jelena Bjelica

The Largest Standing Stupa in Afghanistan: A short history of the Buddhist site at Topdara

Jelena Bjelica

A dome-shaped ancient Buddhist shrine, the Topdara stupa to the north of Kabul was described by 19th century British explorer Charles Masson as “perhaps the most complete and beautiful monument of the kind in these countries.” Since Masson’s visit in 1833, the Topdara stupa saw few visitors and had fallen into neglect until recently, in […]

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BVV devices unloaded in IEC’s Warehouse Three where they were checked before being sent for data transfer. That transfer is now complete, but disputes over turnout continue. Photo: Ali Yawar Adili, 3 October 2019

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (23): Disputed biometric votes endanger election results

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica

Almost 40 days after the election, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has still not been able to give a final turnout figure for the presidential election. The latest figure announced by the IEC is just over 1.8 million, but this does not seem to be the final count. As for the 770,000 to 900,000 votes […]

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BVV devices that have arrived in IEC’s Warehouse 3 in Kabul. They will be checked and then sent to IEC headquarters for their data to be transferred to the IEC server. Photo: Ali Yawar Adili, 3 October 2019

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (21): BVV devices and a delay in announcing preliminary results

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has completed the transfer of data from the biometric devices to its central server. Those 1,932,673 votes now need to be gone through using a verification process to weed out duplicate, underage and ‘photo-proxy’ votes. Only then, will the IEC know the final number of biometrically-validated votes. It has also, […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (20): Even lower turnout figures

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has published the first turnout figures which are backed up by biometric voter data. After weeks of ever greater turnout figures being successively announced, this latest update has reversed the trend: the IEC is now saying only 1.7 million ‘BVVed votes’ were cast, a decrease in reported turnout of almost one […]

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A US Air Force A-10 strikes alleged Taliban narcotics facility in Farah province on 3 April 2018. US forces in Afghanistan and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces conducted a series of strikes on alleged Taliban narcotics production facilities in Farah and Nimroz provinces in April 2018 and May 2019. Photo: Resolute Support website.

New UNAMA Civilian Causalities Report: US targeting of alleged drug labs goes against international humanitarian law

Jelena Bjelica

UNAMA released a special report on Wednesday 9 October, which examines in detail the United States airstrikes against alleged methamphetamine processing facilities in Bakwa district of Farah province. The report concludes that the operation, which took place on 5 May 2019, “did not meet the definition of legitimate military objectives under international law.” It is […]

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Counting the vote in Bamyan city in Afghanstan’s fourth presidential elections (Photo: Ali Yawar Adili 2019)

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (11): A first look at how E-Day went

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The Independent Election Commission has given its first rough estimation of turnout in Afghanistan’s 2019 Presidential Elections. It was low, with fewer than two million voters out of 9.66 million registered, about a quarter, coming out to vote. The Taleban only managed to conduct one large-scale attack, in Kandahar city, but committed 400 other, mainly […]

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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 […]

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Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (9): Presidential poll primer

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

After two delays and the cancelation of a peace deal which might have scuppered the poll altogether, Afghanistan’s presidential election is finally to happen, on Saturday 28 September. It will be the country’s fourth presidential election and seventh election in total since 2001. In this primer, AAN’s Ali Yawar Adili, Jelena Bjelica and Thomas Ruttig […]

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A labourer leaves a poppy field after his morning's work in Nad Ali district, Helmand Province. The new UNODC report heard from ‘lancers’, those who harvest the poppy, bringing new insights into Afghanistan's drug economy. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017.

Local Drug Markets Normalised, More Mass Treatment for Addicts, a Ministry Dissolved: A look at recent drug trends

Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports – UNODC’s annual survey and a scrutiny by SIGAR of US-funded drug treatment programmes – have revealed new trends in the drug industry in Afghanistan. Opium sales locally look to be increasingly normalised, and those with skills in harvesting the crop are doing well, even while farmers’ incomes have fallen. AAN’s Jelena […]

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Lizards far from home. Some of the specimens brought back from Afghanistan in 1972 and now part of the Belgrade collection of lizards from Afghanistan at the Siniša Stanković Institute for Biological Research at the University of Belgrade. Photo: Jelena Bjelica

Lizards of Afghanistan: An unknown collection discovered in Serbia

Jelena Bjelica

In the summer of 1972, Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić travelled to Afghanistan and brought back a collection of lizards. It was a favour to a herpetologist (specialist in reptiles and amphibians) colleague. The collection, practically forgotten since has been rediscovered and re-examined by a Czech herpetologist Daniel Jablonski who published a paper with Serbian colleagues […]

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Civilians at Greater Risk from Pro-government Forces: While peace seems more elusive?

Jelena Bjelica Rachel Reid

After a Ramadan stained with violence, peace seems remote. Both sides have intensified the tempo of the conflict, with civilians paying a heavy price. While the Taleban appear to be exercising more care with some tactics that protect civilians, they continue to unlawfully target civilians with others, as recent attacks demonstrate. The US and Afghan […]

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On 20 May, the Council of Presidential Candidates called a press conference and warned that if President Ghani did not step down on 22 May, crisis and instability would befall the country. The Council has proposed a caretaker government to lead elections, reconciliation process and transfer of power to the next elected president. Photo: General Murad Ali Murad’s Facebook Page

A Snapshot of the Week: Has Ghani consolidated his extended presidential term?

Ali Yawar Adili Jelena Bjelica

Kabul has been on heightened security alert, as the presidential term of President Ashraf Ghani approached its constitutional end on 1 Jawza (22 May 2019). The authorities responded to calls by the political opposition for Ghani to step down in favour of a caretaker government and threats that protestors would take to the streets by […]

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