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The Bride Price: The Afghan tradition of paying for wives

Weddings are hugely expensive affairs in Afghanistan, with excessive costs for wedding halls, lavish meals and usually a bride price. The bride price is the money paid by the groom’s family for the bride to her family. It is a contested tradition that is viewed as having no foundation in Islamic law and does not […]

The Attack on the American University in Kabul (2): Who did it and why?

The attack on the American University in Kabul on 24 August 2016 was unprecedented in many respects. For the first time, a ‘complex attack’ – often reserved for high-profile and well-guarded targets – hit an educational institution. It also came in the wake of an ideological campaign by circles in the Taleban movement that had […]

Operation Omari: Taleban Announced 2016 Spring Offensive

The Taleban made their yearly spring offensive announcement on 12 April 2016. The statement attributed to Taleban leadership council (Rahbari Shura) named the offensive “Operation Omari,” in honour of the movement’s late leader and provides clues with regard to both the Taleban’s plans and the way they wish to present themselves. Of particular note are the […]

An Afghan Exodus (2): Unaccompanied minors in Sweden

The increased refugee influx into Europe is testing cooperation within the European Union, has led to attempts to close borders and is affecting domestic politics. AAN advisory board member Ann Wilkens looks at the Swedish example. Sweden has seen more asylum seekers per head of population than any other European country and liberal asylum policies […]

Ghazni Jailbreak: Where the government failed and its enemy succeeded

Taleban fighters broke into the Ghazni jail and freed hundreds of inmates, including key Taleban commanders, in the early morning of 14 September 2015. It was the ninth spectacular jailbreak since 2001, but the Ghazni jailbreak was different than most of them: better planned and with more fighters. The government forces, on the other hand, […]

Landai Season: a delicacy and a feast in rural Afghanistan

Many find the arrival of fall and the beginning of winter depressing, but Landai, a traditional food feast in Afghanistan, makes the season something to look forward to. In certain ways, the anticipation of Landai can be compared to the way people around the world prepare for Christmas, with happiness; with one major difference, that […]

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 […]

Toward Fragmentation? Mapping the post-Omar Taleban

The Taleban movement has entered its third decade with infighting threatening its – up till now ­– remarkable unity. The killing of Mansur Dadullah during clashes between Taleban factions in Zabul on 12 November 2015 highlighted the scope of this unprecedented discord. Dadullah had been deputy leader of a newly-formed, breakaway faction of the Taleban. […]