Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Kate Clark

Bostan Karim (L) and Abdul Zahir (C), two former prisoners held at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, arrive at Kabul airport in Kabul airport. Photo: AFP, 12 February 2024

Home at Last: After more than 20 years, two former inmates of Guantanamo reach Afghanistan

Kate Clark

Two more Afghan former inmates of the United States’ Guantanamo detention camp have finally returned home after more than two decades incarcerated or in exile. Abdul Zahir from Logar was detained by US forces and rendered to Guantanamo in July 2002, while Bostan Karim from Paktia was arrested by Pakistan a month later and handed […]

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What We Wrote, What You Read in 2023: Daily struggles, edicts and orders, falcons flying high

Kate Clark

2023 was a busy year for AAN, with just over 50 publications. They ranged from in-depth investigations into the economy, public finance and the aid industry to a poetic journey into the world of falconry. We introduced a new form of report – short, first-person accounts by Afghans of what they are doing to survive […]

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Dreams Deferred (Again): The last remaining Afghan in Guantanamo loses his latest bid for freedom

Kate Clark

The last Afghan still held in Guantanamo, Muhammad Rahim from Nangrahar province, has failed in his latest attempt to persuade the United States authorities to release him. The US continues to assert that he was a translator, courier and facilitator for al-Qaeda leaders and even though it is more than two years since US forces […]

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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 […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Goods trucks cross from Afghanistan into Pakistan at Torkham. Photo: Shafiullah Kakar/AFP, 25 February 2023

Survival and Stagnation: The State of the Afghan economy

Kate Clark

This paper is an attempt to give an overview of the Afghan economy in light of two new World Bank reports, one on the economy, two years on from the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and a second on the welfare of households. The Emirate has not published budgets for this year […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

New UN Report Charts the Emirate’s Treatment of Detainees: Allegations of torture and ill-treatment

Kate Clark

UNAMA has released its first report dedicated to the treatment of detainees since the Taleban takeover and alleges that the use of torture by the police and General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) is “systemic.” The report details methods of torture familiar to earlier generations of detainees – electric shocks, beating and suspension – but also […]

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An American flag seen through a broken window from inside a vacant airplane hangar used by the media at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (picture reviewed by US military). Photo: Brennan Linsley/Pool/AFP, 16 July 2009.

The Last Afghan in Guantanamo: Pressure mounts on US to deal with the remnants of its ‘War on Terror’ 

Kate Clark

It is more than three years since the United States signed its peace deal with the Taleban and almost two since the last American soldier left Afghanistan. Yet the US still insists that the last Afghan it holds in relation to that war – at its prison camp in Guantanamo – would be a threat […]

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From Land-grabbing to Haircuts: The decrees and edicts of the Taleban supreme leader 

Kate Clark

The decrees, edicts and instructions of Taleban supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, from 2016, when he became leader, to May 2023, have been published. They make fascinating reading, tracing some of what the leadership felt was important to ban, make obligatory, organise or administer during the insurgency and since recapturing power. Some themes are repeated […]

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Civilian Casualties since the Taleban Takeover: New UNAMA report shows sharp drop – but some communities still under threat

Kate Clark

UNAMA has published its first stand-alone report on conflict-related civilian casualties since the Taleban’s capture of power on 15 August 2021. Casualties have plummeted since the takeover, but the threat remains, especially to some communities, from suicide attacks and roadside and magnetic IEDs. UNAMA has also found that suicide attacks, of which the Islamic State […]

War and Peace Read more

What Do the Taleban Spend Afghanistan’s Money On? Government expenditure under the Islamic Emirate (Amended)

Kate Clark Roxanna Shapour

When our readers told us about some errors in our report: ‘What Do The Taleban Spend Afghanistan’s Money On? Government expenditure under the Islamic Emirate,” we started checking and cross-checking our sources and the report. We found that several budget lines in the operational budget for the security sector in the 1400 (2021) Q4 mini-budget […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Lashing, Beating, Stoning: UNAMA tracks corporal punishment and the death penalty in Afghanistan

Kate Clark

A new United Nations report on capital and corporal punishment has detailed the widespread use of corporal punishment delivered ad hoc by non-judicial authorities, such as the police and ‘Vice and Virtue’ officials. It also documents a rise in corporal punishment ordered by judges since November 2022 when the Taleban’s Supreme Leader encouraged the use […]

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A Ban, a Resolution and a Meeting: A look at the May 2023 meeting in Doha and the reactions to it

Kate Clark Roxanna Shapour

The 1-2 May 2023 gathering in Doha, hosted by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, brought together the representatives of 21 countries – the five permanent members of the Security Council, major donors and regional players, plus the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. They spent two days talking about how to engage with […]

International Engagement Read more