Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

AAN Obituary: Muhammad Azam Rahnaward Zaryab, pioneering Afghan writer and guardian of the Persian language

Thomas Ruttig

One of Afghanistan’s most influential and prolific writers died in a Kabul hospital 40 days ago on 11 December 2020. Born in Kabul in 1944, Zaryab wrote some of the first modern Afghan novels, and his contributions to Afghanistan’s literature inspired a new generation of Afghan writers. In Afghanistan’s post-Taleban media scene, the celebrated author […]

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AAN Obituary: Doctor, general, minister, trailblazer Suhaila Sediq (1938-2020)

Thomas Ruttig

General Dr Suhaila Sediq, one of two female ministers in the first post-Taleban government, died on 4 December 2020 from complications of a second Covid-19 infection. Sediq who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years died in the same hospital she ran for over a quarter of a century until she was appointed Minister […]

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Janus-Faced Pledges: A review of the 2020 Geneva donor conference on Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

The 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva (which took place virtually) has produced pledges of 12 to 13 billion US dollars for the period 2021-24. The result represents a drop of up to 20 per cent compared to the 15.2 billion pledged four years ago in Brussels for 2017-20 and significantly below UNDP projections for the […]

International Engagement Read more

AAN Obituary: Mahbuba Hoquqmal, ‘friend of the law’ (1944-2020)

Thomas Ruttig

Mahbuba Hoquqmal was one of the most important legal scholars in Afghanistan. As a participant in two loya jirgas and with her working life dedicated to teaching and legal reform, she shaped the country’s constitutional history. She particularly focussed on the improvement of the legal situation of Afghan women. On 30 October 2020, she died […]

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Konfliktporträt Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 29 September 2020 AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has been writing a ‘conflict portrait’ of Afghanistan for the website of the German Federal Centre for Political Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, bpb) for several years now. the bpb is a major source for teachers and school students. Here is the latest version, update […]

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AAN Obituary: PDPA leader and poet Sulaiman Layeq (1930-2020)

Thomas Ruttig

Sulaiman Layeq, one of the last surviving founding members of the leftist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which changed the country’s history with its coup d’état in 1978, has died in late July. In 1992, he even made it to the top of the party, albeit in its final moments. The circumstances of his death […]

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Doors Opened for Direct Talks with the Taleban: The results of the Loya Jirga on prisoners and peace

Thomas Ruttig Obaid Ali Ali Yawar Adili

The three-day Consultative Peace Loya Jirga held in Kabul from 17-19 Asad 1399 (7-9 August 2020) has opened the way for the Afghan government to release a final 400 Taleban prisoners from government jails, thereby removing the last obstacle blocking direct peace talks with the Taleban. The jirga delegates did not question the stark choice the government […]

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A Threat at Kabul’s Southern Gate: A security overview of Logar province

Thomas Ruttig Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Logar – a strategic province at the southern gate of the capital Kabul – has been among Afghanistan’s most insecure provinces for years. The government only controls parts of three of its seven districts, in some cases not much more than (parts of) the district centre. This provides the Taleban positions closer to the capital […]

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Citizens, Finally, But No Place to Settle: The Magats, one of Afghanistan’s most marginalised minorities

Khadija Hossaini Thomas Ruttig

The Magats – a small ethnic group most frequently called ‘Jogi’ by others, a term often considered derogatory by them – have been living in Afghanistan for more than a century. Until recently, they were stateless but have now started a struggle for legal recognition and acknowledgement of their identity. The first successes, such as registration […]

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Between Professionalism and Accommodation: The slow progress on the new cabinet

Ali Yawar Adili Thomas Ruttig

More than three months after the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani, a cabinet has not yet been formed. The appointments were delayed and disrupted by the dispute about the election outcome and the ensuing standoff, which had beset the country for more than two months. However, almost a month after the impasse was resolved, Ghani […]

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The case of Mawlawi Mehdi and Balkhab District: Are the Taleban attracting Hazaras?

Thomas Ruttig

Recently, a story appeared in the media reporting that the Taleban have appointed a Shia Hazara as a shadow district governor in Sar-e Pul province. This ethno-religious group is barely represented in the insurgent movement, and stands in the way of the Taleban’s attempt to present itself as nation-wide. Mehdi, however, is not physically present […]

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Flash from the Past: The 1950 Kabul Students Union and its impact on the post-WWII opposition movement

Thomas Ruttig

70 years ago, on 4 April 1950, the first students’ organisation in Afghanistan’s history was launched. The Students Union of Kabul University started as an attempt by factions in the government to gain control over a small, but enthusiastic group of activists and instrumentalise it for their own interests. This attempt backfired, and the Union […]

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