Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Jelena Bjelica

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.

From Bad to Bombing: US counter-narcotics policies in Afghanistan

Jelena Bjelica

Afghanistan’s opium-driven economy has been a thorn in side of its international backers, and a major challenge for fighting the insurgency and rebuilding a functioning state. Through the lens of the military side of counter-narcotic strategies, the United States and its international allies have pursued various counter-narcotics approaches, centred mainly on eradication and interdiction. However, […]

International Engagement Read more
For the first time, an MP has accused a fellow MP of corruption. The case eventually went to the Attorney General, but only after the vast majority of other MPs voted to give the accused immunity from prosecution. Photo: Pajhwok archive photo.

Lost in Procedure: How a corruption case in the Afghan parliament was (not) dealt with

Jelena Bjelica Rohullah Sorush

The lower house of the Afghan Parliament – the Wolesi Jirga – has a long-standing and unflattering reputation for corruption, which ranges from members of parliament receiving bribes for votes of confidence to arranging lucrative contracts. The latest allegation, however, was the first time that an MP had accused a fellow MP of corruption. This […]

Political Landscape Read more

Kuja Meri? Joel van Houdt’s street photo exhibition on Afghan migration

Jelena Bjelica

Joel van Houdt, an independent Dutch photojournalist, who lived in Afghanistan for several years, has recently returned to Kabul to exhibit his photography on Afghan migration. The exhibition, entitled “Kuja meri? – Where are you going?”, comprises a series of about 50 photos that focus entirely on Afghanistan’s refugees and is displayed on the outer […]

Migration Read more
A still image from video posted online by the Organisation for the Protection of Bulgarian Citizens (OPBC), which shows three Afghan migrants captured by the group near the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Photo: Open source.

Far Beneath the European Average: The treatment of Afghan migrants in Bulgaria

Jelena Bjelica

Many Afghan migrants have been opting to travel through Bulgaria, a country bordering Turkey, on their journey to western and northern Europe. This route, while safer than a sea crossing, comes with its own terrifying experiences, as first-hand testimonies of migrants collected by different human rights organisations have shown. In Bulgaria, Afghan migrants are not […]

Migration Read more
Poppy field in Helmand. Photo: AAN Staff

A Low-Risk Crop in a High-Risk Environment: Annual opium survey shows Afghan poppy cultivation at a record high

Jelena Bjelica

More opium was grown and more opium paste produced in Afghanistan in 2017 than in any year since the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) began monitoring in 1994. The UNODC’s annual Afghanistan Opium Survey, released today, has shown that 328,000 hectares of land were used to grow poppy this year, an increase […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
An improvised cave school on the outskirts of Bamyan city, for the IDP children from Maidan Wardak who in prolonged displacement in Bamyan. Photo: Jelena Bjelica, May 2016.

Education, an Ideal Corrupted: An assessment of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education

Jelena Bjelica

The Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC), an independent anti-corruption body in Afghanistan, recently released its ‘vulnerability to corruption’ assessment of the Ministry of Education. The assessment points to 36 different types of corruption within the education sector, highlighting that corruption has become endemic in the last 10 to 15 years and that malpractice is systemic […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

The New Kabul ‘Green Belt’ Security Plan: More Security for Whom?

Jelena Bjelica Kate Clark

Following the devastating 31 May 2017 bomb attack in the Afghan capital, President Ashraf Ghani commissioned his security experts to develop a new security plan for Kabul. Although apparently not officially approved or fully funded yet, the plan called the ‘Zarghun Belt’ (Green Belt) was announced in mid-August. Jelena Bjelica and Kate Clark (with input […]

War and Peace Read more

Afghan Asylum Seekers in Italy: A place of temporary respite

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica

The number of Afghan asylum seekers in Italy has been steadily rising over the last decade. Numbers grew particularly rapidly between 2013 and 2015 and only in recent months have they slowed down. Throughout the last ten years, not only has Italy become a fixture in the mental map of Afghan migrants, but it has […]

Migration Read more
Afghan minors teaching Italian kids to fly kites, Trieste 2016 - photo by Fabrizio Foschini

Afghan Child Migrants: Italy, the preferred country of transit?

Fabrizio Foschini Jelena Bjelica

Over 100,000 unaccompanied Afghan minors, almost all of them male and generally between 14 and 17 years of age, applied for asylum in Europe between 2008 and 2016, making Afghanistan the single largest country of origin for this group of refugees. While Germany and Sweden received by far the highest number of applications, Italy became […]

Migration Read more

UNAMA Mid-Year Report 2017: Number of civilian casualties still at “record level”

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

The number of civilians in the war in Afghanistan remained on “record high levels” in the first six months of 2017, with Kabul remaining the most affected city in the country. These are the two main features that stand out in UNAMA’s just released mid-year report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It […]

War and Peace Read more

AAN Q&A: An established industry – Basic facts about Afghanistan’s opium-driven economy

Jelena Bjelica

Afghanistan’s unflattering label – the world’s leading producer of opium and its derivatives, morphine and heroin – has proved hard to remove. Over the last ten years, opium cultivation has increased steadily reaching unprecedented highs, whilst eradication levels have been decreasing and the country has slowly slid into more severe poverty. To see where Afghanistan […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Andrew Quilty, an award-wining Australian photojournalist. Credit: Balazs Gardi

In the Light of the Conflict: Photographer Andrew Quilty’s experience in Afghanistan

AAN Jelena Bjelica

Afghanistan has been an inspiration for many photographers, but very few opt to base themselves in a war-torn country. Andrew Quilty, an Australian photojournalist, is an exception: he came to Afghanistan in 2013 and has been based in Kabul since. Many remember his haunting photographs taken in the ruins of the Kunduz hospital, a week […]

Context and Culture Read more