Afghanistan Breaking Bad: Crystal meth, a new drug on the market

The first methamphetamine seizure in Afghanistan was recorded in 2008, a minor capture of four grams in Helmand province. Now, seven years later, some 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, popularly known as ‘crystal meth’, were seized in the first ten months of 2015, in 14 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics warned […]

Hazaras in the Crosshairs? A scrutiny of recent incidents

Eight abductions of groups of people have been reported since late February by officials, activists or media as having targeted ethnic Hazaras. The first was also the biggest: the abduction of 31 bus passengers in Zabul on 23 February 2015. Other crimes ‘against Hazaras’ have been reported from Ghazni, Farah, Daikundi and Balkh. AAN’s Qayoom […]

Because of Impunity: UN reports Afghan forces still torturing Afghans

It is two years since UNAMA last reported on torture by Afghan security forces of detainees suspected of conflict-related crimes. In the wake of its 2013 report, former President Karzai was stung into investigating the matter and instituted steps to try to root torture out. ISAF also strengthened its monitoring of detainees it transferred to […]

Election 2014 (3): Snapshots from the provinces before the vote

While the countdown to the vote is nearly finished, the situation ahead of it differs widely in the various parts of the country. Reports from the provinces can convey enthusiasm, insecurity, suspicions of fraud or just resignation. Depending on the person talking to you, they can become extremely detailed mappings of the security situation and […]

Spring Offensive 2: Civilian casualties

At least fifteen children have been killed in the war in Afghanistan in the last 36 hours. All were ‘collateral damage’ from insurgent attacks – victims of two IEDs in Laghman and Farah and a suicide bomber’s blast in Paktia. The surge in the insurgency this year has been intense and civilians, generally, are being […]

A War of Attrition in Farah Province

With the withdrawal of foreign troops taking place countrywide, it is inevitable that not all provinces fare the same, given the differences in insurgents’ and government’s degree of attention. Farah, a province where transition was scheduled late by all standards, has experienced a serious deterioration in security, even before the transition was over. The second […]

Farah (2): Empty Spaces Beyond the Road

Part two of the report on the vast and far-off western province of Farah. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini looks at the threat that insurgents pose to communication routes and at the successes and shortcomings of security arrangements in the districts, complicated by poppy crops, social divides and the lack of an effective government presence. If mass […]

Farah (1): An island of secularism in the midst of troubled waters

Farah is the fourth largest province in the country and yet a frequently forgotten expanse in the Afghan Far West. It is also a doggedly contested battleground of insurgents and government, as recently shown with a spat of attacks on supply convoys and security forces that inflicted heavy casualties between the end of March and […]

2010 Election 25: The ECC, one district a time?

The Electoral Complaints Commission is there after all. Beyond the criticism it has received, beyond the obscurity which surrounded its recent activities, beyond the fears of it being reduced – after last year’s confrontation – to a rubber-stamp body not willing to pick up a fight with strongmen if needed. The decision to invalidate all […]

Finishing the unfinished election (1): Helmand, Khost and Farah

As the final provincial council results are being finally and gradually released, an early analysis of the figures shows that the fraud in the provincial council election has, unsurpisingly, been largely left untouched. The IEC audit that disqualified over a million votes focused solely on the presidential election and the need to arrive at some […]