Author Biography

With MA in Security and Politics from the OSCE Academy, Abdul Rahman Yasa is a Policy and Research Officer with Civil Society and Human Rights Network in Kabul, Afghanistan. His focus is on Human Rights, international interventions, state-building, peacebuilding, security sector reform, good governance, and anti-corruption.

Mr. Yasa, as a young expert, for the past several years has served with different national and international organizations in Afghanistan. He has worked as Consultant with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and as Development Trainer with Creative Associates International, Inc. His work as a researcher in Afghanistan Cultural House and as Civilian Consultant in Ministry of the Interior and Independent Directorate of Local Governance of Afghanistan between 2012 and 2018 has provided him the opportunity to look at governance practices and challenges of a broad range of institutional issues including corruption, sub-national governance policy, citizen-centered government, and security sector reform. E-mail: yasarahman2015@gmail.com / yasa@osce-academy.net




Subject Area Keywords

Afghanistan, Armed groups, Counterinsurgency, Human rights, Nonstate actors, Stability operations, Taliban


Civic space, an imperative to a democratic society where citizens can exercise their basic rights, is now under attack in Afghanistan. The fall of the Islamic Emirate in 2001 by a coalition of the U.S.-led military intervention grounded the rise of a vibrant environment for civil society and human rights defenders (HRDs). Promoting and safeguarding democratic values, mainly freedom of speech, assembly, and association, enshrined within a progressive constitutional framework, had turned to the topic of the day. The heavy presence of foreign troops with the money influx put strong support behind the nascent Afghan CSOs, HRDs, and democracy advocates to speak up for the many repressed Afghans.

However, the drawdown of foreign troops proceeded by protracted political infighting between Afghan leaders over power-sharing, shaped a grim milestone for civic space and human rights in 2014. The Afghan security forces had learned but not enough to take full security responsibility. Meanwhile, the Afghan leaders were wrestling over power in Kabul while an emboldened Taliban was threatening civic space by making more territorial gains in provinces. Consequently, the security situation deteriorated dramatically, triggering widespread public protests. To respond, the government resorted to the use of force against protesters, and democratic advocates and introduced legal restrictions to prevent any prospective unrest. Finally, the U.S. military withdrawal has doubled concerns over the loss of the rights under civic space. Therefore, the United States should stay, not forever, but until the Afghan peace negotiations succeed.


I would like to take this opportunity to express my very great appreciation to several sophisticated experts and researchers, both in and out of Afghanistan, who dedicated their time and granted me interviews, especially during the Covid-19 restrictions, in regard to their corresponding areas of expertise and provided me a great deal of information.