Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Obaid Ali

ISKP fighters photographed alongside their captured weapons after their surrender to Afghan government in November 2019. (photo: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP)

Hit from Many Sides 1: Unpicking the recent victory against the ISKP in Nangrahar

Obaid Ali

In the very high mountains of Nangrahar are hiding out the last few, small groups of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) fighters in that province. The group was driven out of their last remaining bases in Nangrahar at the end of last year. Who drove them out is, however, contested: the government, the Taleban and […]

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Kuduz after the fighting on September 28, 2015. Photo Credit: @ehsan_af (Twitter)

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (22): Glances at Kunduz, Baghlan, Samangan

Obaid Ali

Kunduz, with its eponymous capital as the centre of one of the seven multi-province regions in Afghanistan (the northeast), had the lowest turnout of all Afghan provinces in the 28 September 2019 presidential election. This applies to  absolute and relative numbers – the latter a meagre 6.4 per cent. Baghlan had the second-lowest numbers. Bad […]

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Taleban attacks on Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri: Symbolic operations

Obaid Ali Thomas Ruttig

In the last week Taleban have attacked and entered three provincial centres, Kunduz city, Pul-e Khumri in Baghlan and Farah city, before being pushed back. This dispatch focusses on the offensives against Pul-e Khumri and Kunduz, considering them in the context of the regional security of northeastern Afghanistan. It finds that key lessons from earlier […]

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One Land, Two Rules (8): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected insurgent-controlled Zurmat district

Obaid Ali Sayed Asadullah Sadat Christian Bleuer

The Taleban’s military dominance in Zurmat district of Paktia province has allowed them to assert their will over how government and NGO-provided public services are delivered. Their motivation varies from ideological control (education and media) to revenue generation (taxes on telecommunications and public infrastructure projects). In this district, the Taleban have expanded into tax collection […]

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Rug Weavers and Bride Prices in the Northwest: Still expensive in spite of government and Taleban rules

Obaid Ali

Weddings in Afghanistan are often an expensive and ‘back-breaking’ affair. A government law to change the expensive wedding culture remains largely unimplemented and there seems to be little will to enforce it. The Taleban have also imposed an assortment of rules for controlling wedding costs in areas under their command, which vary depending on the […]

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One Land, Two Rules (3): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Dasht-e Archi district in Kunduz province

Obaid Ali

Dasht-e Archi, a district in the northeastern corner of Kunduz province is almost entirely controlled by the Taleban. They have established shadow sub-national governance structures in the district, while most local government officials are absent and work remotely from the provincial capital. Although the Taleban do not provide any services themselves, they have co-opted government […]

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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 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 […]

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The 2018 Election Observed (3) in Kunduz: A Very Violent E-Day

Obaid Ali

Kunduz province faced serious security issues during and after Election Day. The turnout was far lower than expected. This was mainly due to an almost unprecedented level of Taleban violence compared to most other provinces on that day. Three districts were deprived of their rights to vote in their entirety, while six others had a […]

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Footage from the Islamic Jihad Union's al-Sodiqlar social media channel.

New Confusion About ISKP: A case study from Sar-e Pul

Obaid Ali

After the defeat of a self-proclaimed ISKP group in Jawzjan in July 2018, focus has shifted to neighbouring Sar-e Pul. Russian media in particular have alleged that there are more pro-ISKP groups active in this province. AAN’s Obaid Ali (with inputs from Thomas Ruttig) has looked into Sar-e Pul’s insurgency landscape and found no indication […]

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Caption: Some of the self-proclaimed ISKP fighters outside the Darzab district centre mosque, still with guns/under armed guard. Photo: social media/2018

Qari Hekmat’s Island Overrun: Taleban defeat ‘ISKP’ in Jawzjan

Obaid Ali

 The Taleban have eliminated the self-proclaimed Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) group that had been holding an enclave of territory in the isolated districts of Qush Tepa and Darzab in Jawzjan province for the last three years. It was the only ISKP-aligned group with territorial control outside the east of Afghanistan. The group failed to […]

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Surrounding the Cities: The meaning of the latest battle for Farah (I)

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Obaid Ali Rohullah Sorush Thomas Ruttig

An attack on Farah city had long been feared. For years now, the Taleban have been taking control of the provincial capital’s outlying districts and inching their way towards the central hub. For a few days in mid-May, it looked as though the Taleban were about to take Farah city, which would have been their […]

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