Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Jelena Bjelica

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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
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 […]

Context and Culture Read more

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 […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more
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 […]

Political Landscape Read more

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, […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

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. […]

War and Peace Read more

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 […]

Context and Culture Read more

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 […]

Context and Culture Read more

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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
The United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction, since 2001. Here a picture of government-led eradication in Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkar Gah in 2015. The Afghan government’s erdication efforts have been negligible since 2014. Only 3,760 of 183,000 hectares planted with opium poppy have been eradicated in 2015. Credit: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

A Drop from Peak Opium Cultivation: The 2018 Afghanistan survey

Jelena Bjelica

The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2018 released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows decrease of a fifth in the countrywide cultivation of opium compared to the previous years. The 263,000 hectares under the cultivation in Afghanistan this year was still the second largest score for Afghanistan since the UNODC began […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

The 2018 Election Observed (5) in Nuristan: Disfranchisement and lack of data

Jelena Bjelica Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

Organising elections in Nuristan, one of the most remote, under-served and unknown provinces, presents a severe challenge. Most villages are far from their nearest district centre and all of the districts are under some degree of Taleban control or influence. In two districts – Mandol and Du-Ab – people were fully deprived of their right […]

Political Landscape Read more