Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Jelena Bjelica

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 in Nad-e Ali

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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Afghanistan’s Anti-Corruption Institutions: Too many, and with too few results

Jelena Bjelica

Corruption in the Afghan state has blossomed and bloomed in the years since 2001. A report published by UNAMA today on Afghanistan’s fight against corruption highlights how the frequent changes in corruption-related legislation and a mushrooming of anti-graft institutions have done little to stop it; recent reductions in petty corruption – as shown by the […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

One Land, Two Rules (5): The polio vaccination gap

Jelena Bjelica

While researching the delivery of health, education and other services in districts affected by the insurgency, we found that three of our featured districts, in Helmand, Nangrahar and Kunduz provinces, had seen cases of polio leading to paralysis in the last five years. There is no cure for polio, but there is an effective vaccination, […]

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AAN Q&A: Between ‘Peace Talks’ and Elections – The 2019 Consultative Peace Loya Jirga

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

The four-day Consultative Peace Loya Jirga will commence on Monday, 29 April 2019. This assembly – the sixth loya jirga since 2001 – was convened by President Ghani with the aim of discussing the framework for negotiations with the Taleban. Originally scheduled to start on 17 March, it had to be delayed for organisational reasons. […]

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The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (2): The cultural history of hashish consumption in Afghanistan

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica Obaid Ali

Hashish or chars is a fairly common substance in Afghanistan. Its use, without ever attaining the levels of mass consumption that characterise other lightly-intoxicating substances in other war-torn countries, like the chewing of qat in Yemen or Somalia, for example, has remained relatively widespread. This does not mean that it is condoned by society: hashish-users, known as […]

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The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (1): A cultural history of cannabis cultivation and hashish production in Afghanistan

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica

The cannabis plant is indigenous to the region of which Afghanistan is a part. Throughout human history, almost every part of the plant has been used – its fibres to make clothes, its oil-rich seeds as a food, its leaves, flowers, and resin as medicine, and of course, as a psychoactive drug. Hashish, made from […]

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One Land, Two Rules (1): Service delivery in insurgent-affected areas, an introduction

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

The Taleban today control or influence whole swathes of Afghanistan. Estimates of exactly how much vary, but in the vast majority of Afghanistan’s provinces, control is split between government and insurgency. What that means for local people in terms of services usually provided by a state is the subject of a new research project by […]

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