Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Regional Relations

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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A Tomb in Kabul: The Fate of the Last Amir of Bukhara and his country’s relations with Afghanistan

Thomas Ruttig Vladimir N Plastun

In addition to the last Amir of Bukhara’s former garden, on which we reported some days ago, there is another landmark in Kabul that reminds us of this unlucky ruler – his tomb at the Shuhada-ye Salehin cemetery. The Amir, Muhammad Alem Khan, died in Kabul in 1944 and remains buried in Afghanistan despite his […]

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Cover of "Directorate S: The CIA and America’s secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016" written by: Steve Coll

“The US’s Greatest Strategic Failure”: Steve Coll on the CIA and the ISI

Ann Wilkens

“Directorate S” is Steve Coll’s second major study of the CIA’s role in recent Afghan wars. While “Ghost Wars” chronicled the years 1979-2001, “Directorate S” – referring to a subdivision of Pakistan’s inter-services intelligence directorate that covers Afghanistan – takes up the story in 2001 and follows it through to 2016. AAN Advisory Board member […]

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One of the refugee families who returned from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2017. Last year, some 57,000 people returned. This year, a far bigger, forced exodus is feared. Photo: Andrew Quilty, 2017, Nangrahar.

Still Caught in Regional Tensions? The uncertain destiny of Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Jelena Bjelica Ali Mohammad Sabawoon

As this dispatch was finalised, the Pakistan government had not made any last-minute extension to the ‘Proof of Registration’ identity cards for Afghan refugees residing in the country. Those cards were due to run out on 31 January 2018. Without an extension, a huge number of people could be forced to go back to Afghanistan […]

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Satellite image of Bahramcha crossing point located in Helmand’s remote Dishu district. Photo: Google Maps

Jihadi Commuters: How the Taleban cross the Durand Line

Borhan Osman Fazl Rahman Muzhary

The Taleban use Pakistan as a sanctuary: most of the movement’s leaders are settled there and it is the movement’s preferred place for training, meeting and as a rear base. It is also the prime destination for ‘rest and recuperation’ (R&R) and the rehabilitation of wounded fighters. But how do the Taleban move between the […]

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Tall-hatted Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev opened a ‘Chechen embassy’ in Kabul in 2000. Photo: Natalia Medvedeva (2000)

Chechens in Afghanistan 3 (Flash from the Past): Diplomats, yes, but fighters?

Kate Clark

Following the authoritative account of Chechens – or rather lack of Chechens – in Afghanistan by Christian Bleuer, and how they have frequently been reported on, but rarely encountered, AAN’s Kate Clark here describes her own experiences with Chechens in 2000. In January of that year, she reported on the opening of a Chechen embassy […]

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Map: Major Ethnic Groups of Pakistan in 1980, Source: Wikipedia

The Crowded-Out Conflict: Pakistan’s Balochistan in its fifth round of insurgency

Ann Wilkens

In the international discussion on Pakistan´s many problems, the low-level conflict in its Balochistan province does not get much attention. The issue of nuclear arms, for instance, is considered more immediately frightening; Balochistan is just the area where these arms are tested. But the province is also the arena for a long-standing, complex and multi-faceted […]

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Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan. Credit: Kate Dixon (Flickr)

Attack on the Opposition in Tajikistan: Afghan concerns and comparisons

Christian Bleuer

Despite its 1300 kilometre-long border with Tajikistan, Afghanistan is rarely worried by the internal political strife and occasional violence to its north. The situation is, however, worsening. The Dushanbe government’s relentless attack on its domestic political (non-military) opposition, including the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), threatens to undo the relative peace and prosperity of […]

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Tajik gentlemen discussing in Dushanbe. Photo: Thomas Ruttig

‘Peace-for-Power’ versus Participatory Solutions: Lessons of Tajikistan’s civil war – a book review

Arne C Seifert

In a highly relevant 2013 book, Central Asia analysts Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer (*) have looked at social relations and the political system in Tajikistan at the end of the 1990s civil war in this Central Asian neighbour of Afghanistan. Our guest author Arne C. Seifert (**) has read the book and argues that […]

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The Refugee Dilemma: Afghans in Pakistan between expulsion and failing aid schemes

Christine Roehrs

Nearly 52,000 Afghans living in Pakistan have, within the past ten weeks, packed their belongings and crossed the border back into Afghanistan – more than twice as many as in the whole 12 months of 2014. This started after an attack of Pakistani Taleban on a public army school in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on […]

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A “Pending Issue”: Pakistani Balochs seeking shelter in Afghanistan

Monica Bernabe

While millions of Afghans have fled to Pakistan over the past four decades, now, Pakistanis are flocking to Afghanistan. There are not only those who flee Pakistani military operations in Waziristan, though, but also Pakistani Balochs who say that they flee from repression by the Pakistani government, linked to latest Baloch insurgency activities. In Afghanistan, […]

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