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  • Reports and Analysis

    Reports and Analysis Original reporting by the Afghan Witness team 16 Jul 2024 Confusion after Taliban decree to cap women's salaries The Taliban's decree to cap female salaries has caused widespread confusion and sparked protests among women employees. Read more 16 Jul 2024 Protests and clashes over poppy cultivation in Badakhshan Local residents of Kargian village protested the Taliban's destruction of poppy fields, leading to reported gunfire and injuries. Read more 16 Jul 2024 Taliban destroys murals in Kabul and Nangarhar Images show the Taliban’s destruction of murals representing religious or national figures conflicting with official values. Read more 16 Jul 2024 No reopening: Taliban disputes claims of girls' schools allowed in Kabul Claims emerge in the media that the Taliban has allowed the operation of certain girls' schools, which the Taliban later denies. Read more 3 Jul 2024 Taliban’s religious authority challenged over delay of Eid celebrations The Taliban's decision to delay Eid-ul-Adha in 2024 sparked widespread defiance and criticism from Afghan communities and leaders. Read more 3 Jul 2024 Shia Afghan leader calls for armed resistance at Frankfurt conference Calls for armed resistance against the Taliban at a conference of Shia Afghans in Germany were largely met with reticence from Shias both in Afghanistan and abroad. Read more 3 Jul 2024 Torture of young man by Taliban commander The harrowing video of a young Afghan man being tortured by a Taliban commander sparked global outrage. Read more 26 Jun 2024 Afghanistan's mining sector under the Taliban In September 2023, the Taliban announced that they had signed more than $6.5 billion in new mining deals. Afghan Witness delves into the sector dubbed the Taliban’s “cash cow”. Read more 19 Jun 2024 Forging New Paths: Russia and Taliban's Growing Cooperation At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Moscow and the Taliban signalled closer ties, while Russian involvement in a railroad project in Herat underscores strengthening relations. Read more 19 Jun 2024 ISKP: Use of Generative AI presenters to create newscasts The recent usage of AI-generated videos to claim ISKP attacks has stirred controversy within pro-IS communities over the religious permissibility of AI technology. Despite increased accessibility to AI tools for propaganda, the isolated efforts and mixed reception suggest AI use in extremist content may remain limited. Read more Load more

  • Protests and clashes over poppy cultivation in Badakhshan | Afghan Witness

    Protests and clashes over poppy cultivation in Badakhshan Local residents of Kargian village protested the Taliban's destruction of poppy fields, leading to reported gunfire and injuries. 16 Jul 2024 On 3 July 2024, Afghanistan International published two videos featuring a group of men protesting and chanting slogans against the Taliban administration. According to the news agency, the footage was sent to the outlet by local residents of the Kargian village, in the Darayim district of Badakhshan province, and shows the population reacting to the Taliban’s destruction of poppy fields in the area. The first video shows a large group, comprised of dozens of men and a few teenage boys, chanting “death to [Taliban Supreme Leader] Hibatullah,” “death to the Emirate” (the Taliban administrative state of Afghanistan), and “we don’t want the Taliban.” The group appeared to be unarmed, with only a few men seen holding large wooden sticks as walking aids. Despite the chants, the video did not show the group engaging in violence or advancing towards the Taliban fighters reportedly in the area. In the second video , it is possible to hear gunfire in the distance, and the man filming stating: “the Taliban are opening fire at people and we can’t do anything.” Various Afghan news agencies reported that, as a result of Taliban gunfire, numerous people were injured. Whilst both Afghanistan International and Hamasa Media reported four victims, 8am , and Paigah News reported only three injured civilians. AW was not able to verify the number of civilians injured by Taliban gunfire. The Kargian village sits near the reported locations of clashes between poppy farmers and Taliban forces which occurred in May 2024, as shown in the map below. Figure: Map showing location of villages in the Argo and Darayim districts of Badakhshan province with reported protests and clashes between the population and the Taliban. Current situation of opium cultivation in Afghanistan There is evidence to demonstrate that despite the Taliban ban, poppy cultivation continues in some areas of Afghanistan. Alcis, a UK-based company that analyses geospatial data, published a report in 2023 with satellite imagery showing an “unprecedented 85% reduction of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.” However, although provinces such as Helmand, Farah, and Nimruz, showed a reduction of over 90% of fields being used for poppy, Badakhshan experienced an “increase from 13,803 hectares to 15,391 hectares,” thus “illustrating the challenges faced by the Taliban to eradicate and ban poppy growing in remote mountainous regions.” With an absence of viable alternative sources of income, many Afghans may continue to resort to poppy cultivation despite the ban. According to a report on opium cultivation in Afghanistan published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in November 2022, almost all opium in the country is harvested between the months of April and July, with farmers selling most of their crops during this time period, or in the following months. According to the November 2023 UNODC’s report , farmers would have also had to make a decision on what to cultivate in 2024 as early as October or November 2023. Therefore, protests and clashes are not unexpected as local poppy farmers in Badakhshan, who are approaching the end of a year’s worth of work, are left without a source of income. Share

  • Afghan Witness | OSINT reporting from Afghanistan

    To survey How to use our map View map Home: Our Misson Latest Reports Taliban destroys murals in Kabul and Nangarhar Images show the Taliban’s destruction of murals representing religious or national figures conflicting with official values. Protests and clashes over poppy cultivation in Badakhshan Local residents of Kargian village protested the Taliban's destruction of poppy fields, leading to reported gunfire and injuries. No reopening: Taliban disputes claims of girls' schools allowed in Kabul Claims emerge in the media that the Taliban has allowed the operation of certain girls' schools, which the Taliban later denies. Confusion after Taliban decree to cap women's salaries The Taliban's decree to cap female salaries has caused widespread confusion and sparked protests among women employees. Taliban’s religious authority challenged over delay of Eid celebrations The Taliban's decision to delay Eid-ul-Adha in 2024 sparked widespread defiance and criticism from Afghan communities and leaders. Shia Afghan leader calls for armed resistance at Frankfurt conference Calls for armed resistance against the Taliban at a conference of Shia Afghans in Germany were largely met with reticence from Shias both in Afghanistan and abroad. Torture of young man by Taliban commander The harrowing video of a young Afghan man being tortured by a Taliban commander sparked global outrage. Afghanistan's mining sector under the Taliban In September 2023, the Taliban announced that they had signed more than $6.5 billion in new mining deals. Afghan Witness delves into the sector dubbed the Taliban’s “cash cow”. Forging New Paths: Russia and Taliban's Growing Cooperation At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Moscow and the Taliban signalled closer ties, while Russian involvement in a railroad project in Herat underscores strengthening relations. ISKP: Use of Generative AI presenters to create newscasts The recent usage of AI-generated videos to claim ISKP attacks has stirred controversy within pro-IS communities over the religious permissibility of AI technology. Despite increased accessibility to AI tools for propaganda, the isolated efforts and mixed reception suggest AI use in extremist content may remain limited. ISKP: attacks against Taliban officials in Ghor and expansion of area of operations ISKP has stepped up its attacks on Taliban officials, recently killing Mullah Hassan in Ghor province and expanding its operations across Afghanistan. The group's increasing activity from Kabul to Herat and Kandahar highlights a growing challenge for the Taliban's efforts to control them. Disinformation: Alleged drone strike in Logar province On May 17, 2024, reports of a drone strike targeting the Taliban in Logar province surfaced on social media, leading to widespread speculation and conflicting accounts about the incident. Despite official denials of an attack by Taliban authorities, the claim continued to be spread, both by legitimate accounts and by bots. More Reports In the Press Home: Who we are For Witnesses For journalists Anchor 1 Home: Contact Strengthening reporting Our database of verified information is available in the form of the interactive Afghan Witness Map , designed to support journalists, researchers and policymakers in their reporting and analysis. Further data from our database of visual evidence and claims is also shared with organisations and journalists upon request. While our work is rooted in open source verification, our interviews with Afghans from a variety of backgrounds shed light on the impacts of the issues we monitor daily. These testimonies are available in an anonymised form for journalists and international media to report on. Get in Touch For Witnesses We provide a secure solution for anyone who has witnessed a human rights incident in Afghanistan and wants to ensure their digital evidence is recorded, analysed and stored in order to hold perpetrators to account. Afghan Witness will investigate and, where possible, verify information submitted through the portal. Evidence can be uploaded anonymously – safeguarding the identities of witnesses and those providing information is of the utmost importance. Upload Evidence View map Subscribe below for in-depth reports, stories, and our monthly newsletter. First name Enter your email address I agree to the terms & conditions View terms of use Subscribe Thanks for submitting! Top of Page Strengthening the information environment Part of our work focuses on building community and strengthening the capabilities of the Afghan diaspora and international organisations to collect, analyse and record information in a way that is verifiable and in accordance with international accountability mechanisms. We do this through training, collaboration, skill swapping, information sharing and through our grants and fellowship program.

  • Reports | Afghan Witness

    Filter by Tags Reports & Analysis Original reporting by the Afgha n Witness team 16 Jul 2024 Confusion after Taliban decree to cap women's salaries The Taliban's decree to cap female salaries has caused widespread confusion and sparked protests among women employees. Read here 16 Jul 2024 Taliban destroys murals in Kabul and Nangarhar Images show the Taliban’s destruction of murals representing religious or national figures conflicting with official values. Read here 3 Jul 2024 Taliban’s religious authority challenged over delay of Eid celebrations The Taliban's decision to delay Eid-ul-Adha in 2024 sparked widespread defiance and criticism from Afghan communities and leaders. Read here 3 Jul 2024 Torture of young man by Taliban commander The harrowing video of a young Afghan man being tortured by a Taliban commander sparked global outrage. Read here 19 Jun 2024 Forging New Paths: Russia and Taliban's Growing Cooperation At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Moscow and the Taliban signalled closer ties, while Russian involvement in a railroad project in Herat underscores strengthening relations. Read here 16 Jul 2024 Protests and clashes over poppy cultivation in Badakhshan Local residents of Kargian village protested the Taliban's destruction of poppy fields, leading to reported gunfire and injuries. Read here 16 Jul 2024 No reopening: Taliban disputes claims of girls' schools allowed in Kabul Claims emerge in the media that the Taliban has allowed the operation of certain girls' schools, which the Taliban later denies. Read here 3 Jul 2024 Shia Afghan leader calls for armed resistance at Frankfurt conference Calls for armed resistance against the Taliban at a conference of Shia Afghans in Germany were largely met with reticence from Shias both in Afghanistan and abroad. Read here 26 Jun 2024 Afghanistan's mining sector under the Taliban In September 2023, the Taliban announced that they had signed more than $6.5 billion in new mining deals. Afghan Witness delves into the sector dubbed the Taliban’s “cash cow”. Read here 19 Jun 2024 ISKP: Use of Generative AI presenters to create newscasts The recent usage of AI-generated videos to claim ISKP attacks has stirred controversy within pro-IS communities over the religious permissibility of AI technology. Despite increased accessibility to AI tools for propaganda, the isolated efforts and mixed reception suggest AI use in extremist content may remain limited. Read here View More

  • No reopening: Taliban disputes claims of girls' schools allowed in Kabul | Afghan Witness

    No reopening: Taliban disputes claims of girls' schools allowed in Kabul Claims emerge in the media that the Taliban has allowed the operation of certain girls' schools, which the Taliban later denies. 16 Jul 2024 On 29 June 2024, during ‘ Saar ’, a political programme on the Ariana Television Network (ATN), Kabul-based political analyst Salim Paigir claimed that the Taliban had allowed 47 girls’ schools in Kabul to educate girls above grade six. Paigir stated, “I am so happy today as my daughter started ninth grade.” The talk show host asked how this was possible, given girls’ schools above grade seven remained closed. Paigar replied, "Forty-seven private schools were authorised, all for girls. My daughter enrolled after passing a test administered by the Ministry of Education’s representatives.” Paigir further elaborated that these institutions are referred to as education centres rather than schools, emphasising that it does not matter whether they are called madrasas or any other term, as long as girls are allowed to receive an education. “Starting today, my daughter will attend school from 13:00 to 17:00,” he added. Paigir reiterated his remarks in an interview with another Kabul-based private television network, Shamshad, adding that the school, called Dar-ul-Uloom, offers a curriculum equally divided between modern and religious subjects. Several pro-Taliban accounts shared the video clip of Paigir’s remarks, presenting the claims as a positive update regarding the reopening of girls' schools in Afghanistan. On 3 July, political analyst Rohullah Hotak reiterated on the Kabul-based 1TV News channel that the Taliban had authorised 47 private girls' schools in Kabul for students above grade six. He claimed that this approval came after the schools met Taliban conditions, including the separation of male and female students, and the hiring of female teachers. Taliban denies reports On 1 July, a prominent Afghan social media activist with over 214,000 followers on X (formerly Twitter), Shaikh Hamid, claimed that no girls' schools above grade six have reopened. He clarified that certain private madrasas enrol girls above grade six, but the registration of additional madrasas has also been banned by the Taliban. The Taliban's Ministry of Education released a statement on its official X (formerly Twitter) account on 7 July, denying the reopening of girls' schools above grade six in Kabul. According to the statement, “Recently, some individuals and media outlets have falsely claimed that the Ministry of Education has allowed 47 girls' schools in the country to operate above the sixth grade. The Ministry of Education considers these reports unrealistic and far from the truth.” The Taliban banned girls' education above grade six following the beginning of its administration in August 2021. However, some private schools received permits to run madrasas for girls from first to 12th grade, as permitted by the Taliban’s Ministry of Education. In March 2024, at the beginning of the academic year in Kabul, some private schools announced classes above grade six for girls under the name of Madrassa. They emphasised that their curriculum combines religious and secular education and that graduates will receive the same 12th-grade certificates as those from other types of schools offering secular education. These private education centres added secular subjects such as science and mathematics to their curriculum, effectively operating girls-only madrasas as private schools for girls above grade six, to attract more students and reassure parents of a comprehensive education. This has resulted in misunderstandings by some political analysts regarding the Taliban allowing schools to educate female pupils above grade six. The Taliban’s Ministry of Education’s latest statement reaffirmed that no schools for girls above grade six will reopen until a comprehensive decision is announced. Share

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