Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Posts tagged: Iran

Iran

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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Fatemiyun fighters’ graves in Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. Three of the ten women interviewed had lost men in the war in Syria. Casualties among the Fatemiyun have been heavy. Photo: Mohsen Hamidi, April 2019

The Two Faces of the Fatemiyun (II): The women behind the fighters

Mohsen Hamidi

Existing studies on the Fatemiyun have focused on the Afghan men fighting for the Iran-backed government in Syria. The women behind the fighters – wives, mothers and sisters – have remained invisible, despite the fact that many fighters decided to go to Syria with family concerns in mind. Based on interviews with ten women in […]

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Fatemiyun fighters during the Palmyra offensive in Palmyra, Homs province, central Syria, December 2016 (Photo Iranian Tasnim News Agency, 10 December 2016, available under CC BY 4.0)

The Two Faces of the Fatemiyun (I): Revisiting the male fighters

Mohsen Hamidi

Over the last eight years, thousands of Afghan men and some boys have fought on the side of the Iran-supported Assad government in Syria as members of the Fatemiyun group. Although they are sent to Syria from Iran and supported by the Iranian government, Tehran describes the group as “self-motivated.” This dispatch, which is the […]

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Speculation Abounding: Trying to make sense of the attacks against Shias in Herat city

S Reza Kazemi

Herat – the generally safe and prosperous city in western Afghanistan – has seen a series of attacks against Shia religious figures and sites, especially since 2016. Fieldwork shows there is little empirical evidence as to who the perpetrators are or why they carried out these attacks. Based on conversations with Shia and Sunni activists, […]

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Why Farah?  A short history of the local insurgency (II)

Thomas Ruttig

The Taleban have been a persistent and growing force in Farah since 2001, rebuilding their strength quietly after the US invasion and then seizing territory in remote districts. Insurgents now challenge pro-government figures for control of valuable trade and smuggling routes, assisted by the disarray among their opponents as the provincial government is hobbled by […]

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The NUG, brought to light by 'midwife' John Kerry in 2014, will be part of Obama's Afghan legacy for President Donald Trump. Photo c/o US Embassy Kabul

“People That Hate Us”: What can Afghans expect from President Trump?

Kate Clark Thomas Ruttig

If Hillary Clinton had won Tuesday’s race for the White House, the world would now have a good sense of who her top officials would be and what her foreign policy would look like. With a Secretary of State-turned-president, Afghanistan could have expected business to carry on pretty much as normal. With Donald Trump coming […]

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A view over Herat city from a hill in the Bagh-e Mellat (Nation's Garden) resort – Herat is Musa's hometown, where he saw no future for himself. (Photo Source: Said Reza Kazemi)

Raftan, Raftan: How young Afghans from Herat end up in the Syrian war

S Reza Kazemi

Much has been reported about how Afghan men, mostly young Shias, are being incentivised or coerced by Iran into fighting on the side of the Assad regime in Syria. There has been little study, however, of how exactly they end up in Syria. Said Reza Kazemi (*) has been tracking a 22 year-old Shia Afghan […]

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Murad and Sayyed in their neon-lit basement prison in Aleppo, Syria. They are being held by Syrian rebels who want to exchange them, but find no one interested in their prisoners. Photo: screenshot from a video taken by Christoph Reuter

Murad’s War: An Afghan face to the Syrian conflict

Christopher Reuter

In Syria, the Assad regime is running out of soldiers and is increasingly relying on mercenaries. Many are Shiites – Lebanese Hezbollah militiamen, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Yemenis. But no group is represented to the degree that the Afghan Hazara are. AAN guest author Christoph Reuter (*) has met two of them – recruited in […]

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A Delicate Balance: The regional puzzle surrounding Pakistan’s decision to stay out of Yemen

Ann Wilkens Sudhansu Verma

Power relations and cooperation patterns are changing around Afghanistan. Its two most intrusive neighbours, Pakistan and Iran, are both at a stage where long-set behaviour seems to be tilting in different directions, with linkages to China (in the case of Pakistan) and the USA (in the case of Iran). At the same time, Pakistan and […]

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Power to the People: How to extend Afghans’ access to electricity

Mohsin Amin

More than four billion dollars have, to date, been spent on Afghanistan’s power infrastructure. And yet there are still considerable deficiencies, even in the country’s capital, which has seen most of the investment – and most of the progress. At the same time, the demand for electricity is rapidly growing and the supply-demand gap has […]

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A new Afghan Shia Leader: Return to quietism versus political Islam?

Qayoom Suroush

A new leader is emerging in Afghanistan’s Shia community, one who so far has chosen to abstain from any presence or involvement in the religious or political affairs of the country. Ayatollah Mohammad Eshaq Fayaz is being supported by Afghan Shia – among them rather influential figures such as Second Vice President Sarwar Danish – […]

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Death in Aleppo: A group of Afghan fighters located in Syria

Christopher Reuter

Are Afghans fighting in the war in Syria? There have been a few reports to that effect in the international news media over the past months, detailing recruitment efforts mainly by the Iranian government among Hazaras in order to bolster the Assad regime’s manpower. However, there has never been evidence of Afghan fighters actually present in […]

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