Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

S Reza Kazemi

Symbolism of a Day: A century of changing independence day celebrations in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

From Amanullah Khan in whose time independence was realised, to Habibullah Kalakani who seemed to distance it from the previous regime, to Nader Shah and Zaher Shah who gave it a regal face, to President Daud who continued the royal tradition, to the communists and the mujahedin who downgraded it, to the Taleban who revived […]

Context and Culture Read more
A still from the documentary showing a young girl wearing the traditional hat called kola-ye topak-dar in Daikundi province. Photo: Nasim Seyamak

A Kaleidoscopic Heritage: New efforts to promote Afghan traditions of art and culture

S Reza Kazemi

A fifteenth-century miniature painting of the prophet Yusuf brought to new life in an animation, puppets telling the modern love story of Siyamoy and Jalali and women’s traditional hats in Daikundi: all are featuring in a festival held in Kabul at the Qasr-e Chehel Sotun – the Palace of Forty Columns. The festival is one […]

Context and Culture Read more
Sudais is in his father, Baktullah's, fruit and vegetable store in Shadal Bazaar village of Achin district. Life is slowly returning to normal after government and US forces pushed ISKP out of most of the district in 2017 and 2018. Public services – education, healthcare and electricity supply – are still patchy, barely-functioning or non-existent. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017

One Land, Two Rules (4): Delivering public services in embattled Achin district in Nangrahar province

Rohullah Sorush S Reza Kazemi

Achin district in the south of Afghanistan’s key eastern province of Nangrahar has been heavily fought over by the Taleban, ISKP and government and United States forces. The delivery of public services has been hampered, helped or abolished depending on who has been in charge at any given time; ISKP banned almost all public services […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Speculation Abounding: Trying to make sense of the attacks against Shias in Herat city

S Reza Kazemi

Herat – the generally safe and prosperous city in western Afghanistan – has seen a series of attacks against Shia religious figures and sites, especially since 2016. Fieldwork shows there is little empirical evidence as to who the perpetrators are or why they carried out these attacks. Based on conversations with Shia and Sunni activists, […]

War and Peace Read more
Voters waiting for their turn to vote inside Masjid ul-Reza Mosque polling centre, while some are voting in polling stations and candidate agents and observers are either sitting or walking around, doing their work. Photo: Author/2018

The 2018 Election Observed (6) in Herat: Insecurity, organisational shambles, alleged rigging

S Reza Kazemi

Many have praised the parliamentary elections in Herat province in the far west of Afghanistan as second only to the capital Kabul in terms of turnout. There was indeed considerable enthusiasm and determination to vote from those who could get to the polls, but they were a restricted number, mainly those living in the provincial […]

Political Landscape Read more

One Land, Two Rules (2): Delivering public services in insurgency-affected Obeh district of Herat province

S Reza Kazemi

The matter of who governs the district of Obeh in the east of Herat province is complicated: control of the district is divided between the Afghan government and the Taleban, and shifts in unpredictable ways. The inhabitants of the district, usually via the mediation of elders, have had to learn how to deal with both […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Herat city is adorned with campaign posters - here in Tank-e Markaz Square – but the further you go out into the districts, the more campaigning diminishes in the face of insurgency and insecurity (Photo: Said Reza Kazemi: October 2018)

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (18): A lively election campaign amid growing insecurity in Herat

S Reza Kazemi

There is a vibrant electoral atmosphere in Herat city and nearby district centres. Rival political forces have brought supporters onto the streets to show their power and candidates have opened campaign headquarters and engaged in a range of heated campaign activities. In the midst of the bustle, there are also concerns over a series of […]

Political Landscape Read more
Well-diggers in the process of digging a deep well of 100 metres in Taimani neighbourhood of Kabul city. Photos: Author, 2018.

Blue Gold: The quest for household water in Kabul city

S Reza Kazemi

Given growing water scarcity and pollution, increasing numbers of residents in Kabul city are struggling to provide enough safe water for their households. Many are forced to turn to the expanding private water business for their needs: eitherby paying for water from mobile water tankers, subscribing to local private water supply companies or buying bottled […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Darb-e Khosh (Happy Gate), a historical gate to Herat city, being rebuilt as part of the young mayor's campaign for urban development. Photo: Said Reza Kazemi

The Battle between Law and Force: Scattered political power and deteriorating security test Herat’s dynamism

S Reza Kazemi

Herat – the affluent and vibrant city in western Afghanistan – is going through a ‘scattering’ of political power and a deterioration in security. While Ismail Khan, the self-styled ‘amir of the west’, is still the preeminent figure, political power is no longer concentrated only in his hands, and the new actors are behaving differently […]

Political Landscape Read more
The road that Maruf and his friends took to start off their odyssey from the shahrak to Vienna. From Herat, it runs all the way to Kabul and destinations such as Nimruz in-between and symbolizes the coming and going of people and goods in the emerging transnational community between the shahrak and Europe. (Source S Reza Kazemi)

Afghan Exodus: Maruf’s tale of an emerging transnational community between Herat and Europe

S Reza Kazemi

Between 2014 and mid-2016, thousands of people left Herat – a major urban centre in western Afghanistan – for various European countries. Since August 2014, Said Reza Kazemi (*) has been tracking Maruf and 24 of his friends and acquaintances, who have made the trip. The case of this young Afghan and his network shows […]

Migration Read more
A view over Herat city from a hill in the Bagh-e Mellat (Nation's Garden) resort – Herat is Musa's hometown, where he saw no future for himself. (Photo Source: Said Reza Kazemi)

Raftan, Raftan: How young Afghans from Herat end up in the Syrian war

S Reza Kazemi

Much has been reported about how Afghan men, mostly young Shias, are being incentivised or coerced by Iran into fighting on the side of the Assad regime in Syria. There has been little study, however, of how exactly they end up in Syria. Said Reza Kazemi (*) has been tracking a 22 year-old Shia Afghan […]

Regional Relations Read more
The men of the Heart of Asia process at their Beijing meeting. Photo: Pajhwok

More bilateral than multilateral effects: The Afghanistan conference in China

S Reza Kazemi

The fourth foreign ministerial conference of the Afghanistan-centred Heart of Asia/Istanbul process in Beijing on 31 October 2014 demonstrated a lack of progress in the regional cooperation in many respects, from its organisation to the funding. Nevertheless, it produced a few, rather mixed, results. These include, at a minimum, developments in Sino-Afghan relations and in Sino-American […]

Regional Relations Read more