Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)


AREU is a partner organisation of the Global Challenge Research Fund project titled “Drugs and (dis)order: Building sustainable peacetime economies in the aftermath of war.” AREU will support the project with policy engagement at national and international levels.

AREU will contribute to the research through conducting organisational ethnographies and case studies of policy making processes, capacity building in research, policy engagement and dissemination of publications, and facilitate innovative methodological approaches to ensure that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis and mapping products are archived for future reference and research purposes.

Finally, AREU’s researchers will participate to international events and conferences to share findings from the field.


Gulsom Mirzada
GIS Research Assistant

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) and a Minor in Development Studies from the Asian University for Women (AUW), Chittagong, Bangladesh. Furthermore, I worked as a Communication Specialist at the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN), and also as a Program Coordinator of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the United States Embassy in Kabul.
Alongside this, I was a technical member of the National Youth Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I have a solid knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research on a practical and theoretical level.

Moreover, for one year I have worked as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Researcher Assistant at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. During this period I have been involved in different research projects, such as Informal Credit from Gender Perspective, Radicalization in Universities, and EUNPACK. My research interests revolve around economic development, political and social issues.

Within this GCRF project I work as a GIS researcher, providing technical support and combining satellite images with qualitative field data for analysis. This project will be a unique learning experience and a great platform to improve my theoretical and practical research skills, developing novel research and understanding of  political economy.

Ahmad Masoud
Communication and Advocacy Manager

I work as the Communication and Advocacy Manager at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in Afghanistan. I have more than 12 years of work experience in communication, advocacy, and policy engagement with various organisations at national and international levels. I have successfully contributed to the drafting of actionable policy recommendations as well as to the development and implementation of communication, advocacy, and policy engagement strategies to promote policy analyses.

I am interested in communication, advocacy, policy engagement activities, writing and research. I hold an EMB in General Management and Honors Diploma in Freelance Journalism and Feature writing. My analytical reports and human interest stories have appeared in various print and online news services around the world.

Mujib Ahmad Azizi
Research Officer

My disciplinary background and core interest relates to Natural Resources Management. I have been working at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) since October 2011 as a Senior Research Assistant. Prior to this, I worked as the Deputy Program Manager for the Community Development Project by Mercy Corps in Kapisa from 2010 until October 2011. Prior to this, I worked with Aga Khan Foundation as a Social Organizer and Research Assistant for 4 years, and for a Social Water Management project funded by the European Commission (EC).

My role in this project as a Research Officer is to work on data collection, conducting interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) as well as supporting the Project Manager in his tasks and drafting of reports. I see this project as an opportunity to hone my research skills, and boost my career development by learning from an international team of experienced colleagues.

Qayoom Suroush
Project Manager

I hold an MA in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy and have worked as a researcher at the Afghanistan Analyst Network where I published, among other topics, on Afghanistan’s Ring Roads, Bamyan as the first cultural capital of South Asia, Afghan public libraries and national elections. I also worked as a Senior Advisor for the Afghanistan National Security Council, and I am currently employed at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, where I have conducted a study on assessing Afghanistan’s police reform and the European Union (EU) Police Mission in Afghanistan. My general research and academic interests are Security, Conflict, History and Islamic Studies.

My role in this project is to supervise everyday activities in Afghanistan, with a particular focus on research management and capacity building. The management parts mostly include making sure project goals and objectives are met on time and are reported to consortium members. The research responsibilities include developing research tools, writing reports and research papers and reporting the project activities to management board. I will also be engaged in Country Working Group (CWG) meetings and make sure communication between AREU and the GRCF project partners are smooth and systematic.

I see this project as a great opportunity to understand peace and war economies, and to find approaches that can help Afghanistan transform its economy from war to peace.

Orzala Nemat

I am an Afghan scholar and civil society leader with a PhD in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), MSc from University College London (UCL), and a Yale World Fellow in the class of 2008.

As an expert in political ethnography, my research interests includes development and conflict, gender, governance and borderlands studies. My PhD thesis in Development Studies focused on local governance relations that results from external interventions.

I was born, lived and worked in Afghanistan (and for fourteen years in Pakistan as refugee), I have first-hand experience from different aspect of life being a refugee, a grassroots leader and a researcher in recent years.
Following the completion of my Doctorate studies and after two years of teaching at SOAS, I moved back to my home country, serving briefly as the President of Afghanistan’s advisor on local governance, and then leading the Afghan think tank Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). As an Afghan scholar with over 18 years of experience in development practice, women’s rights and leadership in challenging environments, I bring an enriching experience into my new career path, leading AREU, one of the top research think tanks in the Central Asian region and in Afghanistan.

I provide regular analyses through publications, talks, media appearances and scholarly work on conflict, development, gender and the way local power relations are affected by global interventions.