Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Publications

AAN research and analysis is published in the format of AAN reports - former dispatches, special reports - former thematic reports, dossiers - former thematic dossiers and other publications. The reports are reflective of AAN’s eight thematic areas.

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Reports

Two Parties Too Wary for Peace? Central questions for talks with the Taleban in Doha

Christine Roehrs Ali Yawar Adili Sayed Asadullah Sadat

For the first time, representatives of the Afghan government and the Taleban are coming together, officially and in person, to negotiate power-sharing and peace.  While the start of the talks was somewhat delayed by disagreements on the last prisoners to be released, the negotiating teams in Doha are now ready to go.  But there are big questions […]

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Peace Leadership: Power struggles, division and an incomplete council

Ali Yawar Adili

Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has approved a 46-member Leadership Committee for the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), but criticisms have come in hard and fast from all quarters. The most significant rejection has come from Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who asserts his right under the power-sharing agreement to lead the peace process, including making appointments […]

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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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War in Afghanistan in 2020: Just as much violence, but no one wants to talk about it

Kate Clark

As memories of the relative peace of the Eid ul-Adha ceasefire fade and direct talks between the government and the Taleban should be about to begin, it seems a good time to look again at what has been happening in the conflict since the United States and the Taleban signed their agreement on 29 February. […]

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

Thomas Ruttig Ali Yawar Adili Obaid Ali

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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To Release, Or Not To Release? Legal questions around Ghani’s consultative loya jirga on Taleban prisoners

Ehsan Qaane

The Consultative Loya Jirga, called by President Ashraf Ghani to decide the fate of 400 Taleban prisoners, and whether they should be released to enable intra-Afghan peace talks, has begun. Ghani has argued that, according to the constitution and the penal code, it was not in his power to release these prisoners and therefore he […]

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Special Reports

New special report on Afghanistan’s newest local defence force: Were “all the mistakes of the ALP” turned into ANA-TF safeguards?

Kate Clark

Today, AAN publishes a special report looking at Afghanistan’s newest local defence force, the Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANA-TF). Set up by presidential decree in February 2018 and funded and supported by NATO’s United States-led Resolute Support mission, it was intended to be a lightly-armed, low-cost, local arm of the ANA which could hold […]

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New special report: ‘Ghosts of the Past: Lessons from Local Force Mobilisation in Afghanistan and Prospects for the Future’

Kate Clark

A major new special report, ‘Ghosts of the Past: Lessons from Local Force Mobilisation in Afghanistan and Prospects for the Future’ looks at what is likely to make a local defence force – such as the Afghan Local Police (ALP) or Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANA-TF) successful. This research sought to understand what makes some […]

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The Cost of Support to Afghanistan: New special report considers the reasons for inequality, poverty and a failing democracy

Kate Clark

In a new AAN special report, Kate Clark considers the apparent paradox that despite almost two decades of international support to Afghanistan, poverty for most Afghans has deepened. She also explores the gap between the promise of the 2002 Bonn Agreement and 2004 constitution, a multi-ethnic, fully representative government, a democracy with strong checks and […]

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Boys threshing wheat in Ghor province (Adam Pain 2008)

Growing Out Of Poverty? Questioning agricultural policy in Afghanistan

Adam Pain

A new AAN paper seeks to understand why agricultural policy since 2001 has failed to increase production, lift rural Afghans out of poverty or secure their food supply. It finds the answers in the stories agricultural development planners tell themselves about how to ‘modernise’ agriculture, even as they ignore evidence from the field. AAN guest […]

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Kabul Unpacked: A Geographical Guide to a Metropolis In The Making

Fabrizio Foschini

Today, AAN publishes a new report, “Kabul Unpacked: A Geographical Guide to a Metropolis In The Making”. In maps and text, Author Fabrizio Foschini charts Kabul’s 22 police districts, their history, landmarks and architecture, population and security. We hope this guide will be a go-to, easily-used backgrounder for a city that many of us love, […]

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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 […]

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Dossiers

Thematic Dossier XXVI: Big Tent ‘Democracy’ – Afghanistan’s loya jirgas, 1915 to 2020

AAN Team

The loya jirga – or grand assembly – has been used as a political instrument by almost every Afghan king and president for the last century, with the first held arguably in 1915 and the last, for now, in August 2020. These jirgas typically bring together hundreds, sometimes thousands of delegates from the various ethnic […]

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AAN Dossier XXV: The Quest for Peace in Afghanistan, 2015 to 2020

AAN Team

Any day now, a first diplomatic breakthrough toward peace in Afghanistan is expected: the United States and the Taleban have both announced that they have finalised their negotiations which would exchange withdrawal of the US and other NATO troops from the country for anti-terrorism guarantees from the Taleban. These negotiations started in October 2018 in […]

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Thematic Dossier XXIV: Ten years of reporting on civilian casualties, still no ceasefire

AAN Team

As the Taleban and the United States sit down together again to discuss the possibility of a peace agreement, the issue that appears to be most pressing for Afghans is a ceasefire. Not surprising given that 2019 is likely to be the sixth year in a row when the number of civilians killed and injured […]

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Nad-e Ali poppy farmer

Thematic Dossier XXIII: Afghan drugs – opium, cannabis and meth

AAN Team

Since AAN was established ten years ago, drugs have often featured in our reporting, both directly and indirectly. Drugs and counter-narcotics efforts are not a priority for either Afghan politicians or foreign donors at this time. However, for anyone seeking to understand Afghanistan’s economy, people’s livelihoods and the political economy of elections, appointments and insurgency, […]

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Afghan migrants, including minors, living in inhumane conditions in a Belgrade, Serbia squat. Photo: Martine van Bijlert, April 2017.

Thematic Dossier XXII: Afghan migration to Europe and beyond (2)

AAN Team

The subject of Afghans trying to migrate to Europe and beyond may have dropped out of the headlines in the last couple of years, but AAN has continued to follow their stories. Getting into Europe and then getting across eastern Europe into the west has become much more difficult since we published our first thematic […]

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Thematic Dossier XXI: The aftermath of the 2018 Afghan parliamentary elections

AAN Team

Two months after Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018, a final result is still not in view. Afghanistan’s electoral institutions remain deep in their drawn out counting phase. A number of delays have made the original plan to announce a final result yesterday, on 20 December 2018, obsolete. To maintain an overview over post-elections […]

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