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.

Latest Reads

Reports

One Afghan wins in court, while other Guantanamo detainees remain ensnared in a rigged system

Kate Clark

A landmark court ruling, which saw a Guantanamo detainee successfully argue that his detention was unlawful for the first time in more than a decade, has now been published. The judge said that the United States no longer had the legal authority to detain Asadullah Harun Gul because his faction, Hezb-e Islami, “is at peace.” […]

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Music Censorship in 2021: The silencing of a nation and its cultural identity

Fabrizio Foschini

Music and musicians once again face serious threats following Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taleban in August this year. Over the past two decades, the theory and practice of traditional Afghan instruments, as well as other musical forms, has seen a remarkable revival after the destruction of the country’s musical heritage during the 1990s, with skills […]

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Killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg: Afghanistan’s economic distress post-15 August

Kate Clark

Even as the Taleban celebrated their unprecedented victory on 15 August 2021, Afghanistan was transformed. It was poorer, more isolated and extremely fragile, economically. Most aid stopped, sanctions came into effect against the Taleban government and foreign reserves were frozen. Economic disaster came on top of the worst drought in years and the ill-effects of […]

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Global Warming and Afghanistan: Drought, hunger and thirst expected to worsen

mohammad assem mayar

While the nations of the world come together at the COP26 to seek solutions to climate change, Afghanistan is already suffering from global warming. One of the worst droughts in recent years has caused rainfed wheat crops to fail, led to plummeting livestock prices and shortages in drinking water. 19 million people – nearly half […]

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What now for the Taleban and Narcotics? A case study on cannabis

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

It has been more than a year since the Taleban banned the cultivation of cannabis and the production and trafficking of cannabis resin, known as hashish, in areas of Afghanistan under their control. The Taleban put a great deal of effort into formulating the ban, consulting Islamic scholars and various of their commissions before issuing […]

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Landmark Judgement: US court finds detention of an Afghan in Guantanamo unlawful

Kate Clark

A United States court has ruled that the detention of Afghan Asadullah Harun Gul in Guantanamo is unlawful, the first time in ten years that anyone at Guantanamo has won such a petition. The ruling comes just days after the government cleared him for transfer out of the detention camp – as AAN’s Kate Clark […]

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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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