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: How Afghan women working for NGOs are coping with the Taleban ban

Roxanna Shapour

Afghan women who were studying at university or working for NGOs have now had a few weeks to take in the implications of two decrees issued by Taleban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada which denied them a university education and banned them from working for NGOs. The announcements had come as successive blows to women who had […]

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An Afghan girl carries a thermos and packed lunch out to family members working in a field in Bati Kot district in Nangrahar province. Photo: Shafiullah KAKAR/AFP

What We Were Writing, What You Were Reading in 2022: Reports about economic struggle and loss of rights

Kate Clark

2022 was the year in which the new reality of Islamic Emirate rule bedded down, following the precipitous collapse of the Islamic Republic in 2021. In that year, our reports and, even more so, the attention of our readers was dominated by trying to make sense of the war, the change of regime and failure […]

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The Art of the Tracker: How to find a thief in Afghanistan

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

The art of tracking footprints to find thieves, and even murderers, is well-known in Afghanistan, and particularly in southern Afghanistan and in the areas where Pashtun and Baluch tribes live on the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the Durand Line, the de facto international border, it can be a paid profession. Although trackers are in […]

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women education protest

Strangers in Our Own Country: How Afghan women cope with life under the Islamic Emirate

Roxanna Shapour Rama Mirzada

Sixteen months since its takeover of Afghanistan, the Emirate has imposed sweeping new restrictions on women’s lives, kicking female students out of universities and education centres, and banning women from working for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The bans have come on top of the continuing closure of girls’ high schools, the banning of female civil servants from offices, […]

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A Kuchi winter camp in Goshta district, Nangrahar. Photo: Fabrizio Foschini, 2012.

Conflict Management or Retribution? How the Taleban deal with land disputes between Kuchis and local communities

Fabrizio Foschini

A series of clashes between local villagers and incoming Pashtun groups in the northern province of Takhar brought the issue of conflict over land back into the spotlight. This is an age-long problem, but the collapse of the Republic shifted local power balances and brought different communities onto the winning side. As a result, many […]

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What Went Wrong: The 2021 collapse of Afghan National Security Forces

Timor Sharan

On 15 August 2021, the Afghan government and large parts of the state, primarily the army and police, came tumbling down like a house of cards, leaving serious questions about the sudden melting away of Afghanistan’s security forces. Many factors contributed to the collapse of the security forces, including widespread corruption, lack of a combat […]

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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

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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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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