Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Jelena Bjelica

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 […]

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A poppy farmer and labourer by the farmer's crop in Nad Ali district, Helmand Province in spring 2015. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

Prosperity or Penury: The political and economic fallout of the opium ban in Afghanistan

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports, one from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and another by David Mansfield and Alcis, show that Afghan farmers have largely complied with the Islamic Emirate’s ban on opium cultivation. They chart a swingeing cut in cultivation in 2023 – just 10,000 to 30,000 hectares of land sown with opium […]

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What Do Young Afghan Women Do? A glimpse into everyday life after the bans

Jelena Bjelica AAN Team

Since coming to power, the Taleban authorities have issued many edicts, decrees, declarations and directives limiting, restricting, suspending or banning basic freedoms for women and girls. Afghan women are no longer free to go to public parks, gyms and other public spaces and are banned from boarding planes and leaving the country on their own; they cannot […]

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Taleban Bans on Drugs: What is the Emirate’s counter-narcotics agenda?

Jelena Bjelica Fabrizio Foschini

Since they captured power in summer 2021, the Taleban have issued two strict bans on drugs. In April 2022, they banned the cultivation and production of opium and the use, trade and transport of all illegal narcotics. A year later, in March 2023, they issued another ban, specifically on the cultivation of cannabis and the […]

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Two Security Council Resolutions and a Humanitarian Appeal: UN grapples with its role in Afghanistan

Jelena Bjelica Roxanna Shapour

Recent complex negotiations surrounding UNAMA’s mandate in Taleban-run Afghanistan have shone a light on longstanding divisions among UN Security Council members concerning key issues, such as human rights, women’s rights, peace and security and governance. This year, on 16 March 2023, member states agreed to resolve their differences by passing two Afghanistan-related resolutions; one that […]

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opium 2022

The New Taleban’s Opium Ban: The same political strategy 20 years on?

Jelena Bjelica Kate Clark

Seven and a half months after they took power in Afghanistan, the Taleban have officially banned opium. Observers had been waiting to see if they would implement their promise to ban narcotics made shortly after they captured Kabul. The ban has come at the beginning of the opium harvest and at a time when Afghans […]

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Rural Women’s Access to Health: Poverty, insecurity and traditions are the main obstacles

Jelena Bjelica AAN Team

What do good health services look like for rural women in Afghanistan? How easy or difficult is it for them to access the basic health services that do exist in their area? Does insecurity have a different impact on access to health services for women and men? To answer these questions, we interviewed nineteen Afghan women from different rural districts of the country. As […]

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mountains

Shrinking, Thinning, Retreating: Afghan glaciers under threat from climate change

Jelena Bjelica

Lying high up in Afghanistan’s highest mountains, hidden from most human eyes, are almost 4,000 glaciers, according to the first comprehensive Afghan glacier database. These glaciers are of critical importance for Afghans for supplying water for drinking and irrigation. Yet research shows Afghanistan’s glaciers are melting. Almost 14 per cent of the total area of […]

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New World Drug Report: Opium production in Afghanistan remained the same in 2019

Jelena Bjelica

The United Nations Drugs and Crime Office’s (UNODC) World Drug Report, released today, shows a decrease in the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan in 2019 following price falls after the bumper years in 2017 and 2018. However, in 2019 when weather conditions were optimal for growing poppy and plant disease absent, yields were high. Overall, that meant […]

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UNAMA’s New Report on Anti-corruption: More backsliding from government and growing frustration from donors

Jelena Bjelica

The annual UNAMA anti-corruption report released today shows that the institutional fight against graft in Afghanistan between January 2019 and April 2020 has stalled in many areas. While the report acknowledges that the reform agenda has been overshadowed by the presidential elections and the pandemic, it does not hold back from pointing to failures in […]

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Is the Citizens’ Charter the Right Vehicle for Reconciliation? The risks of monetising peace

Jelena Bjelica

The Citizens’ Charter is a community-driven development programme, currently implemented in one third of Afghanistan, which is seen as key means of reducing poverty. However, there are pilots planned that will stretch this ambitious programme beyond its economic goals, to use it as a vehicle for peace. AAN’s Jelena Bjelica looks at the mixed achievements of […]

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Topdara-stupan berättar om det buddistiska arvet

Jelena Bjelica

SCA/SAK, 6 April 2020 Jelena Bjelica’s AAN report, The Largest Standing Stupa in Afghanistan: A short history of the Buddhist site at Topdara, has been translated (and shortened) into a version in Swedish.

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