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

The Daily Hustle: “Helping the dreams of girls come true”

Rohullah Sorush Roxanna Shapour

After the Islamic Emirate banned older girls from education, many girls found alternative avenues to continue their studies, find intellectual stimulation – and even, as this Daily Hustle found out, make a living in the private education sector. AAN’s Rohullah Sorush hears from one young Afghan woman about how, even in the face of overwhelming […]

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The Long Winding River: Unravelling the water dispute between Afghanistan and Iran

Mhd Assem Mayar Roxanna Shapour

Afghanistan and Iran have been at loggerheads for much of this year over the Helmand River and its water. As the region grappled with a punishing drought for the third year running, the two neighbouring countries have been locked in a tense melee over shared transboundary rivers. While Iran seeks to assert its rights over […]

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A poppy farmer and labourer by the farmer's crop in Nad Ali district, Helmand Province in spring 2015. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2015.

Prosperity or Penury: The political and economic fallout of the opium ban in Afghanistan

Kate Clark Jelena Bjelica

Two new reports, one from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and another by David Mansfield and Alcis, show that Afghan farmers have largely complied with the Islamic Emirate’s ban on opium cultivation. They chart a swingeing cut in cultivation in 2023 – just 10,000 to 30,000 hectares of land sown with opium […]

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Nature’s Fury: The Herat earthquakes of 2023

Roxanna Shapour

The earth has continued to shudder in Herat province ever since the first of a series of deadly earthquakes hit the province on Saturday 7 October around 11am local time. They have destroyed entire villages and killed and injured thousands of people. Since then, dozens more tremors, including three powerful earthquakes have caused additional havoc […]

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Goods trucks cross from Afghanistan into Pakistan at Torkham. Photo: Shafiullah Kakar/AFP, 25 February 2023

Survival and Stagnation: The State of the Afghan economy

Kate Clark

This paper is an attempt to give an overview of the Afghan economy in light of two new World Bank reports, one on the economy, two years on from the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and a second on the welfare of households. The Emirate has not published budgets for this year […]

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Residents sit with a plate of eaten watermelon at a restaurant in Mirai bazaar in Andar district of Ghazni, after it was re-taken by the Taleban. Photo: Wakil Khosar/AFP, 3 June 2021

Finding Business Opportunity after Conflict: Shopkeepers, civil servants and farmers in Andar district

Sabawoon Samim

Andar district in Ghazni province was a battleground for most of the years of the Islamic Republic, from 2003 up until its fall in 2021. The conflict caused not only loss of life, but also severe damage and disruption to business. Andar’s economy is once again fully functional and, for the time being, it is […]

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Special Reports

Head of customs for the Hairatan border crossing in Balkh province, Abdul Sattar Rashid (second left), with other Taleban on the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge.
The Taleban moved swiftly to organise and regularise the collection of customs and taxes as they took power in 2021. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP, 27 October 2021

New AAN Special Report: “Taxing the Afghan Nation: What the Taleban’s pursuit of domestic revenues means for citizens, the economy and the state”

Kate Clark

As insurgents, the Taleban taxed farmers, businesses and NGOs in areas under their control, using the money to fund their war effort. On taking power in August 2021, they swiftly moved to collect taxes in the whole of the country. That serious-minded pursuit of domestic revenue collection is both a practice carried over from the […]

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New special report: ‘Between Hope and Fear. Rural Afghan women talk about peace and war’

Martine van Bijlert AAN Team

As the United States pushes ahead with the rapid and unconditional withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, an unrelenting Taleban offensive has driven the Afghan government out of scores of districts across the country. Many Afghans are seeing their fears about the fallout from the ill-considered US-driven peace process come true. Against this backdrop, AAN’s […]

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New Special Report from AAN: “Kafka in Cuba, a Follow-Up Report: Afghans Still in Detention Limbo as Biden Decides What to do with Guantanamo”

Kate Clark

As newly-elected United States President Joe Biden considers what to do with the almost two-decades-old ‘war on terror’ detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, we publish a special report on the last Afghans held there. Two Nangraharis, Asadullah Harun Gul and Mohammad Rahim, have both been detained since 2007. We also trace the fates […]

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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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Dossiers

Kafka in Cuba: A dossier of reports looking at the Afghan experience in Guantanamo

Kate Clark

AAN has followed the travails of the Afghans held by the United States at its prison camp at Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba for over a decade, prompted first by the cases of the five Taleban who were released in exchange for US serviceman Bowe Bergdahl in 2014, and later focussing on the […]

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The Afghan Economy Since the Taleban Took Power: A dossier of reports on economic calamity, state finances and consequences for households

Kate Clark AAN Team

When the Taleban captured power on 15 August 2021, the Afghan economy suffered sudden and catastrophic damage from all sides. Foreign aid fell away, United Nations and United States sanctions applied suddenly not to an armed movement but to the country’s government, Afghanistan’s foreign reserves were frozen, the banking sector paralysed, and the web of […]

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Not at COP27, but Already in Crisis: A dossier on Afghanistan and the climate emergency

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan is projected to be the sixth most badly affected country by climate change but is also among the lightest emitters of greenhouse gasses. Yet, it is not represented at the COP27 conference, a meeting of the member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change now underway in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh. Afghanistan signed […]

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Creating the ‘Idea’ of a Country: The ‘Afghanistan in World Literature’ dossier

Fabrizio Foschini

How do foreign literary works shape attitudes towards Afghanistan and Afghans? That is the subject of this dossier which brings together AAN reports from its ‘Afghanistan in World Literature’ series. Over the years, we have written many pieces on this subject, spurred not only by a passion for everything related to Afghanistan, but also by […]

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Dossier XXX: Afghan Women’s Rights and the New Phase of the Conflict

AAN Team

Afghan women are generally more talked about than heard from. From 1978 and the start of Afghanistan’s conflict onwards, the argument over women’s rights and roles has been an ideological fault line running through multiple phases of the war. Girls education, women in the workplace, women’s rights in marriage and the household, and in the […]

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AAN Dossier XXIX: Living with the Taleban

AAN Team

With the Taleban rapidly gaining ground in Afghanistan, it seemed useful to turn to AAN’s past research on what life under the Taleban has looked like for those living in insurgency-affected areas over the last few years. From December 2018 to January 2021, AAN conducted research first into how public services were delivered in a […]

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