Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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The Long Winding River: Unravelling the water dispute between Afghanistan and Iran

Mhd Assem Mayar Roxanna Shapour

Afghanistan and Iran have been at loggerheads for much of this year over the Helmand River and its water. As the region grappled with a punishing drought for the third year running, the two neighbouring countries have been locked in a tense melee over shared transboundary rivers. While Iran seeks to assert its rights over […]

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The Fall of Nimruz: A symbolic or economic game-changer?

Fabrizio Foschini

With the fall of five provincial capitals in three days – Zaranj in Nimruz, Sheberghan in Jowzjan, Sarepul, Kunduz and Taloqan in Takhar –, the Taleban switched pace. After an unexpected and highly successful sweep of rural districts in many parts of Afghanistan yielded particularly astounding results in areas considered ‘difficult’ for them, such as […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (9): Into the third wave

Thomas Ruttig Rohullah Sorush

Afghanistan has entered the third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic amid an unprecedented rise in confirmed cases. Doctors in various provinces detected signs of the impending new wave soon after the start of the Afghan new year (21 March), but the government only imposed contact restrictions on 28 May and enlisted religious scholars to urge […]

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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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At the Turn of a Century: A rare chance to discover Nawruz in history and in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

By popular count at least, the coming solar year 1400 will usher in a new century in Afghanistan. Taking this as an exceptional once-in-a-lifetime chance, AAN researcher Reza Kazemi taps into a diverse array of sources, including history, literature and folk music, to look at Nawruz in deep time and through Afghanistan as a kaleidoscopic […]

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“Another Bonn-style conference”: A new plan to ‘fix’ the war and enable US troops to leave

Thomas Ruttig

The United States envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has floated the possibility of a ‘new Bonn’ conference that could cancel or sideline the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha. ‘Bonn 2’ appears to have been discussed in some allied capitals and various Afghan leaders, although it is unclear how much buy-in the proposal has from them. […]

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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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Citizens, Finally, But No Place to Settle: The Magats, one of Afghanistan’s most marginalised minorities

Khadija Hossaini Thomas Ruttig

The Magats – a small ethnic group most frequently called ‘Jogi’ by others, a term often considered derogatory by them – have been living in Afghanistan for more than a century. Until recently, they were stateless but have now started a struggle for legal recognition and acknowledgement of their identity. The first successes, such as registration […]

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Herat City’s Reported Spike in Insecurity: What a sober reading of events reveals

S Reza Kazemi

In late 2019 and early 2020, Afghanistan’s key western city of Herat witnessed a series of security incidents, including targeted killings and attacks on the police. The increase in violence resulted in an Afghan media uproar and a swirl of local theories about what or who could be behind it. Taking a closer look at […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (2): Herat city between disregard and compliance

S Reza Kazemi

With around two-thirds of Afghanistan’s confirmed positive Covid-19 cases thus far, the western province of Herat is now known as the path through which the coronavirus spread from neighbouring Iran. But how have residents and government in Herat city, the provincial centre, reacted to the disease in day-to-day life? Based on observations and conversations, AAN […]

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan (1): No large outbreak yet in the country

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan has so far been moderately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer than 100 people testing positive and four confirmed fatalities. There are strong indications that these cases may have been seeded by the outbreak in neighbouring Iran, via Afghans who returned from that country. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig has compiled an overview of what […]

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Can Kabul Carry Two Melons in One Hand? Afghanistan and Iran sign strategic cooperation document

Thomas Ruttig

Almost unnoticed by the international media, Afghanistan and Iran have signed a “Strategic Cooperation Agreement” during President Karzai’s recent trip to Tehran. The document includes provisions on bilateral military, intelligence and economic cooperation. The sequence indicates importance; the agreement is mainly a security agreement. However, it also contains ideas for a number of trilateral extensions […]

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