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 Khalid Payenda Interview (1): An insider’s view of politicking, graft and the fall of the Republic

Kate Clark Roxanna Shapour

What was it like to be a reformer at the heart of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan? The Republic’s last finance minister, Khalid Payenda, has given AAN an insider’s perspective. It is a sobering account of the obstacles that prevented him and other reformers ending government corruption and holding wrongdoers to account. Payenda discussed with […]

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The Focus of the Taleban’s New Government: Internal cohesion, external dominance

Martine van Bijlert

As the twentieth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks that brought the US to Afghanistan to topple the Taleban’s emirate came round, it was the Taleban who were back in power. This week, they announced their new interim administration. It is all-male, almost all-Pashtun, almost all clerical and all-Taleban. Set alongside their sustained military campaign in […]

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Afghanistan’s looming economic catastrophe: What next for the Taleban and the donors?

Hannah Duncan Kate Clark

When the Taleban captured Kabul, it ruptured Afghanistan’s relationship with the international community. The problems now facing its aid-dependent economy and new Taleban rulers are rapidly piling up. Adding to the damage already wrought by conflict, pandemic and drought, foreign aid is now suspended and in doubt, the treasury is empty and foreign reserves held […]

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The Moment in Between: After the Americans, before the new regime

Martine van Bijlert

Monday night, Centcom Commander General Kenneth McKenzie announced the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan as complete, while the Taleban declared the country once again a “free and sovereign nation.” After the last American soldier left Afghan soil, Taleban forces giddily moved into the last part of Kabul airport that had still been in […]

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school girls

UN Human Rights Council to talk about Afghanistan: Why so little appetite for action?

Rachel Reid Ehsan Qaane

The United Nation’s Human Rights Council is holding a Special Session on Tuesday (24 August) to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan – both past and present. The resolution they will be considering has been drafted by Pakistan, the Taleban’s main international backer. Pakistan is currently the human rights coordinator of the Organisation of […]

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The Taleban’s rise to power: As the US prepared for peace, the Taleban prepared for war

Kate Clark

It seems likely that the twentieth anniversary of the al-Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on the United States – the event that brought the American military to Afghanistan – will be remembered for the start of the second Taleban emirate. After President Joe Biden announced the full, rapid and unconditional withdrawal of all international military forces from […]

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Special Reports

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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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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Dossiers

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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AAN Dossier XXVIII: Afghanistan in the Covid-19 Crisis

AAN Team

Afghanistan has just entered the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic amid an unprecedented rise in confirmed cases, relatively unprepared. Apparently due to the relatively modest numbers during the second wave in November 2020, many Afghans became complacent about following health protocols and taking preventive measures. Complacency seems to have also been a factor in […]

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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.

AAN 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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AAN 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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