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

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 […]

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“Helmand is my soul, my mother. I never want to leave”: Obituary for murdered journalist, Muhammad Aliyas Dayee, 1988-2020

Andrew Quilty

One of Afghanistan’s most respected journalists, Muhammad Aliyas Dayee, was killed in a targeted attack on 12 November in the Helmand capital, Lashkargah. Greatly admired and loved by colleagues and listeners to his radio reports alike, Dayee’s murder has raised questions about whether the profession is a viable one as the incidence of targeted killings […]

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Girls actually in the classroom. Getting Afghan children, especially girls, to school, has been considered a major success story for post-Taleban Afghanistan, but how many children appearing in the statistics are ‘ghosts'? (Photo: Christine-Felice Roehrs)

Less Money, More Conditionality? Stalled peace, Covid-19 and corruption foretell a sombre Afghanistan donor conference

Christine Roehrs AAN Team Ali Yawar Adili

On 23 and 24 November, the 2020 donor conference for Afghanistan takes place, which for the country matters more than ever. Rumours abound about cuts to foreign assistance, at a time when Afghanistan faces a stalled peace process and intensifying poverty and violence. Donors are concerned about the shape of the future state and corruption, with the pressure […]

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The Biden Presidency: What choices for Afghan policy remain?

Kate Clark

As of 20 January, the United States should have a new president, as Joe Biden takes over from Donald Trump. Decisions taken in Washington have, for the last 20 years, been fundamental to what happens in Afghanistan, and that is especially the case now. Biden takes power in the wake of President Trump’s decision to […]

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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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civcas

Behind the Statistics: Drop in civilian casualties masks increased Taleban violence

Kate Clark

Six weeks after intra-Afghan talks began in Doha, the Taleban and government teams are still arguing about protocol and what should be on the agenda. Meanwhile, UNAMA’s third quarterly report in 2020 on the protection of civilians in the conflict, published today, shows that, since the talks began, civilian casualties caused by the two parties […]

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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

With intermittent fighting and rocket attacks throughout the day, election workers in the Awal Baba school voting centre in Maidan Shahr, had little work to do. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2019.

Thematic Dossier XXVII: Afghanistan’s contested 2019 presidential election and its aftermath

AAN Team

A year on from Afghanistan’s fourth presidential poll since the fall of the Taleban regime, AAN is publishing all our reporting on the election and its aftermath in a new dossier. Our 37 AAN reports comprise coverage of the run-up to the election; on-the-day reporting; analysis of the controversies over counting, verifying and announcing the result, including our […]

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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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