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The Battle between Law and Force: Scattered political power and deteriorating security test Herat’s dynamism

Herat – the affluent and vibrant city in western Afghanistan – is going through a ‘scattering’ of political power and a deterioration in security. While Ismail Khan, the self-styled ‘amir of the west’, is still the preeminent figure, political power is no longer concentrated only in his hands, and the new actors are behaving differently […]

Under the Mountain: A pre-emptive Taleban spring offensive in Shindand

Throughout March 2016, Shindand district in Herat province witnessed heavy fighting. Clashes between two rival insurgent groups were followed by a string of ANSF military operations. With substantial help from Quetta, the local pro-Mansur Taleban group has swept away a pro-Rasul outfit that had recently proved less aggressive towards the government. This new outbreak of […]

Education and Health Care at Risk: UN report paints grim picture of post-transition Afghanistan

A new UN report highlights how access to healthcare and education in Afghanistan, particularly for children, is being increasingly compromised by violence, threats, intimidation and abuse of facilities. The number of verified incidents over the last three years (2013-2015) in particular shows an increase in recorded incidents of threats and intimidation, as well as a continued […]

Afghanistan’s Returning Refugees: Why are so many still landless?

More than 5.8 million Afghans, about 20 per cent of Afghanistan’s population, are refugees who have returned home since the fall of the Taleban according to UNHCR figures. Many found their houses destroyed or occupied, or discovered that a new set of laws had scrapped their tenancy rights. The government plan for distributing land to […]

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 […]