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

Living with the Taleban (3): Local experiences in Dasht-e Archi district, Kunduz province

Bilal Sediqi

In our third study exploring Taleban rule in territories under their control, AAN looks at Dasht-e Archi district in Kunduz province. The intra-Afghan talks in Doha may presage an Afghan state with key positions held by the Taleban. At the very least, the pattern of the Taleban controlling particular localities is likely to continue. In this […]

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AAN Obituary: Muhammad Azam Rahnaward Zaryab, pioneering Afghan writer and guardian of the Persian language

Thomas Ruttig

One of Afghanistan’s most influential and prolific writers died in a Kabul hospital 40 days ago on 11 December 2020. Born in Kabul in 1944, Zaryab wrote some of the first modern Afghan novels, and his contributions to Afghanistan’s literature inspired a new generation of Afghan writers. In Afghanistan’s post-Taleban media scene, the celebrated author […]

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Living with the Taleban (2): Local experiences in Nad Ali district, Helmand province

AAN Guests

What is it like to live in an area controlled by the Taleban? How does their rule affect your life and can you influence what they do? To answer these questions, we embarked on a research project scrutinising three districts in depth, looking at the local dynamics of citizen/Taleban interactions, the structure of Taleban government and whether local […]

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AAN’s most-read dispatches in 2020: Cannabis, Bollywood, Bride Prices… and War

Kate Clark

2020 was a year when our readers wanted to read about the war and efforts to find peace and Afghanistan’s culture and history. Reports scrutinising the Doha talks and mapping the conflict appeared in our twenty most-read publications last year, along with others looking at Afghanistan’s history, its relationship with Bollywood and practices around getting married and […]

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mountains

Shrinking, Thinning, Retreating: Afghan glaciers under threat from climate change

Jelena Bjelica

Lying high up in Afghanistan’s highest mountains, hidden from most human eyes, are almost 4,000 glaciers, according to the first comprehensive Afghan glacier database. These glaciers are of critical importance for Afghans for supplying water for drinking and irrigation. Yet research shows Afghanistan’s glaciers are melting. Almost 14 per cent of the total area of […]

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Intra-Afghan Talks (1): Rules of procedure agreed, but still no agenda as talks resume

Ali Yawar Adili

The second round of intra-Afghan negotiations – as they are officially called – is scheduled to begin in two days time, on 5 January 2021, in Doha. The first round ended on 14 December after three months of talks. During that time, the teams managed only to agree on the rules of procedure for the […]

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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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