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

Children in an IDP camp in Dand district, Kandahar province. Thousands of people fled their homes after Taleban offensives in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in October and November 2020, and ANSF counter-offensives. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP, 7 January 2021.

As US troops withdraw, what next for war and peace in Afghanistan?

Kate Clark

The United States’ decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan unconditionally, and the apparent dead end of its efforts to broker peace in Afghanistan, will have profound ramifications for the conflict. The likely outcomes can already be seen, including, ominously, in how civilian casualties are back up to their 2019 levels. Scrutinising the patterns […]

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American politics grounded in fear, ignorance and fantasy: New special report on Afghans in Guantanamo, as US prepares to withdraw troops

Kate Clark

President Joe Biden has announced that American troops will leave Afghanistan before 11 September 2021, a day that will mark twenty years since al-Qaeda attacked the United States and drew US forces to Afghanistan. Another anniversary is also looming: it will soon be twenty years since President George Bush opened the Guantanamo Bay detention camp […]

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Disbanding the ALP – An Update: Major transition of security forces achieved during wartime, but at a cost

Kate Clark

It is now six months since funding for Afghanistan’s oldest and largest community defence force, the Afghan Local Police (ALP) ended, and three months since the force should have been wound up. The early stages of the disbandment went badly, as we reported in October. The government was late in making preparations and failed to […]

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Helmand peace marchers in front of the Russian embassy. Photo: People's Peace Movement/2018

A Troika of Four: Looking back at the March 2021 Afghanistan meeting in Moscow

Thomas Ruttig

The ‘extended troika’ meeting in Moscow on 18 March did not spark a significant new impulse in the search for peace in Afghanistan. Instead, it followed a well-known pattern. Foreign powers offered platitudes about an ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned’ peace process, again, while they insist on setting the timeline themselves and handpick those who are to be […]

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Conditions-based Interim Government: President Ghani presents a preview of his peace plan

Thomas Ruttig

President Ashraf Ghani has raised the curtain on his peace plan and agreed to the formation of an interim government in Afghanistan. Ghani summarised his plan in a speech at the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process – a gathering of regional and other states on security and cooperation in Central Asia […]

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The Stagnation of Afghanistan’s State Institutions: Case studies of the Supreme Court, Senate, provincial councils and the constitutional oversight commission

Ali Yawar Adili Rohullah Sorush Sayed Asadullah Sadat

This report looks at the legal framework, status and trajectory of four important state institutions, both elected and appointed: the Supreme Court, Senate, provincial councils and the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (ICOIC). According to the Afghan constitution, these institutions should play significant roles in providing checks and balances, accountability, representation […]

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Special Reports

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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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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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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Other Publications

Afghanistan’s Divided Republican “Front”

Thomas Ruttig Ali Yawar Adili

ISPI online, 26 January 2021 AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and Ali Yawar Adili have co-authored an article for an Afghanistan dossier published on the website of the Italian Institute for the Study of International Politics (ISPI), dealing with the composition of the ‘Islamic Republic of Afghanistan team’ at the intra-Afghan negotiations with the Taleban that started […]

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