Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Thomas Ruttig

Helmand peace marchers in front of the Russian embassy. Photo: People's Peace Movement/2018

“The Eid ceasefire helped our efforts well”: Helmand peace marchers keep up the pressure

Thomas Ruttig Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

Although the Eid ceasefires have been and gone, they have rekindled hopes across Afghanistan that peace is possible. Helmand’s peace movement is keeping up the pressure. It has staged sit-ins in front of embassies in Kabul and sent letters to countries participating in or supporting the war effort. The movement has also reached other parts […]

War and Peace Read more
Chai ne-khorda, solh ne-mesha. Photo: Thomas Ruttig

Understanding Hurdles to Afghan Peace Talks: Are the Taleban a political party?

Khalilullah Safi Thomas Ruttig

Following his February 2018 offer of peace talks to the Taleban, President Ashraf Ghani proposed that they run as a political party in the upcoming elections. In 2011, his predecessor, Hamed Karzai, had offered something different, that the government would support the Taleban’s recognition by the United Nations Security Council as a “party to the […]

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Why Farah?  A short history of the local insurgency (II)

Thomas Ruttig

The Taleban have been a persistent and growing force in Farah since 2001, rebuilding their strength quietly after the US invasion and then seizing territory in remote districts. Insurgents now challenge pro-government figures for control of valuable trade and smuggling routes, assisted by the disarray among their opponents as the provincial government is hobbled by […]

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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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Widespread Violence yet Perpetrators go Unpunished: A new UN report on violence against Afghan women

Jelena Bjelica Thomas Ruttig

Violence against women – be it murder, beatings, mutilation, child marriage, the giving away of girls in marriage to resolve disputes (baad) or other harmful practices – remains widespread throughout Afghanistan, despite the government’s efforts to criminalise such practices, the UN has found. Its new report highlights how mediation by government and traditional actors, which […]

Rights and Freedoms Read more

The Afghanistan Election Conundrum (8): Controversies over voter registration

Ali Yawar Adili Thomas Ruttig

As the Independent Election Commission (IEC) struggles to prepare for parliamentary and district council elections due to be held on 20 October 2018, one key prerequisite – voter registration – is not going well. Registration turnout, so far, has been very low, in part, due to security fears stemming from a new system aimed at […]

Political Landscape Read more

The State of Aid and Poverty in 2018: A new look at aid effectiveness in Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports have found that despite improvements in some sectors, aid delivery in Afghanistan is still largely ineffective and poverty has risen. A joint Oxfam and Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) report on aid effectiveness reveals that while development aid has decreased, donor support continues to be fragmented and aid dependency remains high. Meanwhile, […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more

Afghanistan’s Paradoxical Political Party System: A new AAN report

Thomas Ruttig

The role of political parties in Afghanistan’s highly centralised presidential system, with only limited parliamentary checks and balances, is an important yardstick by which to measure how the country has fared in its attempts to democratise in the post-Taleban era. This new AAN thematic report, in cooperation with the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), looks […]

Special Reports Read more

Inside and Outside the System: New AAN report on Afghanistan’s political parties published

Thomas Ruttig

The role of political parties in Afghanistan’s highly centralised presidential system, with only limited parliamentary checks and balances, is an important yardstick by which to measure how the country has fared in its attempts to democratise in the post-Taleban era. This new AAN thematic report, in cooperation with the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), looks […]

Political Landscape Read more

An April Day That Changed Afghanistan 4: The evolution of the PDPA and its relations with the Soviet Union

Thomas Ruttig

After the leftists of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) seized power in the Saur Revolution of April 1978, the Soviet Union became Kabul’s key backer, to the extent of invading the country in 1979 to prevent local insurgencies and military rebellions toppling its new ally. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig here explores the relationship between […]

Context and Culture Read more
Tanks in front of the presidential palace on 28 April 1978, one day after the Saur coup. Photo: Cleric77, Wikipedia - Creative Commons 3.0

An April Day That Changed Afghanistan 1: Four decades after the leftist takeover

Thomas Ruttig

Forty years ago, Afghanistan experienced its second military coup d’état within five years. The authoritarian President Muhammad Daud had seized power in 1973 without much attention abroad and even little notice in Afghanistan – Daud was a sardar (prince) and seen as just another new king, although he proclaimed a republic. It was the second […]

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Climbing on China’s Priority List: Views on Afghanistan from Beijing

Thomas Ruttig

Since the never completed withdrawal of NATO troops in Afghanistan, China has become more involved in one of its most conflictive neighbour’s affairs. It has offered to connect the country with its multi-billion dollar project, the Belt and Road Initiative, which includes the so-called Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor. AAN’s co-director Thomas Ruttig has found – after […]

Regional Relations Read more