Synthesis Report

UNDERSTANDING AFGHANISTAN
The Consolidated Findings of a Research Project Commissioned by Her Majesty’s Government

SULTAN BARAKAT

November 2008

This report was produced as part of a significant research project commissioned by the British government and implemented by the Recovery & Development Consortium. The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not represent UK government policy.

The following Recovery & Development Consortium members were involved in this project:

DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

Acknowledgements
Report Author:
Sultan Barakat This report provides a synthesis of more than 500 pages of scholarship generated in the course of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ research project commissioned by DFID Afghanistan. The entire undertaking includes a Political Economy Analysis led by Peter Middlebrook, a Strategic Conflict Assessment led by myself, Sultan Barakat, a Growth Diagnostic Scoping Study led by Alfie Ulloa and Sharon Miller, and a Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis led by Sippi AzarbaijaniMogaddam. ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ draws upon insightful contributions not only from these output leaders but also from the individual team members: Jonathan Goodhand, Chris Cramer, Anna Patterson, Simon Foot, Antonio Giustozzi, Christopher Langton, Michael Murphy, Mark Sedra, Arne Strand, Emma Hooper, Deniz Kandiyoti, Andrew Pinney, Adam Pain, and Abi Masefield. Numerous informants, who are included in the appendices to the individual reports, allowed the study to gain timely and intriguing perspectives on conflict, history politics, economics, culture, reconstruction and social exclusion. The whole team is indebted, in particular, to the several senior Afghan government figures, including more than half a dozen Ministers and a dozen members of the National Assembly, who took the time to speak with us. I would furthermore like to acknowledge the support and guidance provided by Chris Pycroft, Shalini Bahuguna, Lu Ecclestone, Alan Whaites, James Fennel, Miguel Laric, Rob Ower and numerous others from DFID. This significant undertaking, which provides one of the very first opportunities to draw together expertise from numerous sectors pertaining to Afghanistan’s stabilisation and development, would not have been possible without their keen interest and commitment. We also would like to recognise the tremendous efforts of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ project management team, particularly Peter Middlebrook (Team Leader), Sharon Miller (Project Coordinator), Oliver Mathieson (Project Director) and Robbie Gregorowski (Project Manager), the latter two from Maxwell Stamp PLC. Peer reviewers such as Astri Suhrke, and Dianna Wuagneux, Michaela Prokop and Deniz Kandivoti strengthened the content with their insightful critiques. Finally, I would like to note the role of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) at the University of York, particularly that of Research Fellow Steven A. Zyck, in supporting the production of this report. All errors and omissions remain the author’s exclusive responsibility. Sultan Barakat, Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit Author, Synthesis Report & Output 2 Leader, Strategic Conflict Assessment

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................................... 1 1. Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 8 1.1 Purpose.................................................................................................................................................................... 8 1.2 Key Findings ........................................................................................................................................................... 9 2. Methodology.................................................................................................................................. 12 2.1 The Political Economy Approach ...................................................................................................................12 2.2 Opportunities and Challenges........................................................................................................................12 3. Context and Conflict in Afghanistan .............................................................................................. 14 3.1 The Structural Context .....................................................................................................................................14 3.1.1 Physical Structures.........................................................................................................................14 3.1.2 Human / Social Structures...........................................................................................................15 3.2 The Historical Context ......................................................................................................................................17 3.3 Conflict and Security ........................................................................................................................................18 3.3.1 The Multi-Conflict System...........................................................................................................19 4. Contemporary Conflict in Afghanistan ........................................................................................... 23 4.1 A ‘Theoretical’ Perspective on Conflict in Afghanistan..........................................................................23 4.2 Insurgents and Armed Opposition Groups.................................................................................................23 4.3 Motivating the Insurgency..............................................................................................................................26 4.4 Financing the Insurgency ................................................................................................................................27 5. Governance and the State .............................................................................................................. 29 5.1 The Envisioned State and Underlying Assumptions................................................................................29 5.2 Setting the Stage: The Bonn Agreement ....................................................................................................29 5.3 Territorial Control...............................................................................................................................................30 5.4 Revenue Control and Mobilisation ...............................................................................................................30 5.4.1 Control of Revenues ......................................................................................................................30 5.4.2 Revenue Mobilisation ....................................................................................................................30 5.5 Corruption, Predation and Taxation............................................................................................................. 31 5.6 (De) Mobilising Legitimacy..............................................................................................................................32 6. Economic Development .................................................................................................................. 34 6.1 Economics and Conflict in Afghanistan .....................................................................................................34 6.2 The Economic Context ......................................................................................................................................34 6.3 Constraints to and Opportunities for Growth ..........................................................................................37 6.3.1 Economic Rule of Law...................................................................................................................37 6.3.2 Crime and Insecurity......................................................................................................................39 6.3.3 Infrastructure ...................................................................................................................................39 6.3.3 Opportunities for Growth ............................................................................................................39 6.4 Contextualising the Growth Diagnostic .....................................................................................................40 7. Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion ............................................................................................. 41 7.1 Poverty, Gender, Social Exclusion and Conflict ........................................................................................ 41 7.2 Poverty................................................................................................................................................................... 41

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8.

9.

7.2.1 Poverty and Access to Public Goods and Services ...............................................................42 7.2.2 Characteristics and Location of the Poor................................................................................42 7.2.3 Efficacy of Recent Interventions ...............................................................................................43 7.2.4 Key Findings......................................................................................................................................44 7.3 Gender ...................................................................................................................................................................44 7.3.1 Women and Security .....................................................................................................................46 7.3.2 State Absence in Female Insecurity ..........................................................................................46 7.3.3 Policies, Institutions and Interventions ...................................................................................47 7.3.4 Opportunities and Constraints ...................................................................................................47 7.3.5 Drivers and Blockers of Change .................................................................................................48 7.4 Other Forms of Social Exclusion....................................................................................................................50 7.4.1 The Disabled......................................................................................................................................50 7.4.2 Female-Headed Households ........................................................................................................ 51 7.4.3 Youth................................................................................................................................................... 51 7.5 Constraints to Social Inclusion ......................................................................................................................52 Strategies and Options ................................................................................................................... 53 8.1 The Grand Bargain .............................................................................................................................................53 8.2 Combating Conflict ...........................................................................................................................................53 8.2.1 Utilise Public Diplomacy to Counter Insurgency..................................................................53 8.2.2 Focus Sustained Assistance on ‘Angry, Young Men’ ............................................................54 8.2.3 Minimise Intra-State, Regional Tensions ................................................................................54 8.3 Governance ..........................................................................................................................................................55 8.3.1 (Re) Mobilising Legitimacy...........................................................................................................55 8.3.2 Improve Anti-Corruption Measures..........................................................................................55 8.3.3 Reform the ANA and ANP............................................................................................................56 8.3.4 De-Centralise the State ................................................................................................................56 8.3.5 Increase Revenue Mobilisation and Limit Expenditure ......................................................56 8.4 Economic Development ...................................................................................................................................57 8.4.1 Prioritise the Battle Against Nuisance Taxes and Corruption ..........................................57 8.4.2 Take Early Action to Protect Business from Crime and Insecurity..................................58 8.4.3 Increase Vision, Coherence and Consistency of Policy .......................................................58 8.4.4 Concentrate on Durable Systems, Not Personalities ...........................................................58 8.4.5 Foster Special Economic Zones ..................................................................................................59 8.4.6 Address Infrastructure Weaknesses ..........................................................................................59 8.4.7 Develop Value Chains ....................................................................................................................59 8.4.8 Build Human Capital......................................................................................................................59 8.4.9 Discourage Poppy Eradication ....................................................................................................60 8.5 Poverty Reduction..............................................................................................................................................60 8.6 Gender and Women’s Empowerment .......................................................................................................... 61 8.7 Social Exclusion ..................................................................................................................................................62 8.6 Cross-Cutting Recommendation: Further Research ...............................................................................63 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 65

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9.1 Areas of Consensus............................................................................................................................................65 9.2 Points of Contention.........................................................................................................................................65 9.3 Refreshing ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ ...................................................................................................65 Bibliography.............................................................................................................................................. 66

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Table of Figures and Tables
Figure 1. Afghanistan’s Demographic Structure in 2000 ....................................................................................16 Figure 2. The Expanding Security Threat...................................................................................................................20 Figure 3. Annual Increases in Afghanistan’s Opium Production (MT) ............................................................. 21 Figure 4. Location of Key Armed Groups ..................................................................................................................25 Figure 5. Afghan Imports and Exports, 1962-2006...............................................................................................35 Figure 6. Afghanistan’s Informal Economy, by Sector..........................................................................................36 Figure 7. Hausmann, Rodrik and Velasco Growth Diagnostic Framework .....................................................38 Figure 8. Poverty, Level and Extent, by Province ....................................................................................................43 Table 1. Key Phases in Contemporary Afghan Conflict ........................................................................................17 Table 2. The Mounting Security Crisis........................................................................................................................19 Table 3. Drivers and Blockers of Gender Transformation in Afghanistan ......................................................48

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Acronyms and Abbreviations
ACCI AICC AIHRC AISA AMF ANA ANAP ANCOP ANDS ANP AREU ARTF ASOP BPHS CBO CDC CID CNPA CSO DDR DFID DIAG EPAA EVAW FATA FCO FDDP FDI FHH GDP GECCS HiG HMG ICA ICT IDLG IMF IMU/T Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Afghan International Chamber of Commerce Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Afghanistan Investment Support Agency Afghan Military Force Afghan National Army Afghan National Auxiliary Police Afghan National Civil Order Police Afghan National Development Strategy Afghan National Police Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund Afghan Social Outreach Programme Basic Package of Health Services Community-Based Organisation Community Development Councils Criminal Investigation Department Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan Central Statistics Office Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Department for International Development Disarmament of Illegal Armed Groups Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan Elimination of Violence Against Women Federally Administered Tribal Areas Foreign and Commonwealth Office Focused District Development Programme Foreign Direct Investment Female Headed Household Gross Domestic Product Gender Equity Cross Cutting Strategy Hizb-e Islami (of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) Her Majesty’s Government Investment Climate Assessment (World Bank) Information and Communication Technology Independent Directorate for Local Governance International Monetary Fund Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan/Turkestan

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ISAF LOTFA LTO MDG MISFA MoCI MoD MoF MoFA MoI MoJ MoLSAMD MoPH MoT MoWA MRRD NATO NGO NRVA NSID NSP NWFP OEF PDPA PEA PFM PPA PRT SSR SWAP TTP UNAMA UNF UNODC USAID VET

International Security Assistance Force Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan Large Taxpayer’s Office Millennium Development Goals Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan Ministry of Commerce and Industry Ministry of Defence Ministry of Finance Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Interior Ministry of Justice Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and the Disabled Ministry of Public Health Ministry of Transport Ministry of Women’s Affairs Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Non-Governmental Organisation National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment National Security, International Relations and Development National Solidarity Program Northwest Frontier Province Operation Enduring Freedom People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan Political Economy Analysis Public Finance Management Power Purchasing Agreements Provincial Reconstruction Teams Security Sector Reform Sector Wide Approaches Tehreek-e Taliban (“Pakistani Taliban”) United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan United National Front United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime United States Agency for International Development Vocational and Educational Training

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

1.

Introduction
During the period in which the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ engagement was ongoing (April to August 2008), the British military suffered some of its greatest losses, measured in the number of casualties, within Afghanistan since the start of the international intervention in late 2001. This fact, accompanied by the tragic loss of scores of Afghan civilians during the same interval, highlights ever more strongly the need for a holistic understanding of Afghanistan – as a country, an economy, a polity, a society and a zone of frequent international interventionism– in order to identify the most effective manner in which to intervene in the cycles of national, regional and global conflict which have affected it for much of the past 30 years. The ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ research project consists of four main studies: (i) a Political Economy Analysis, (ii) a Strategic Conflict Assessment, (iii) a Growth Diagnostic and, (iv) a Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis. Combined, they present one of the few initiatives that have sought to consolidate information pertaining to contemporary Afghanistan as a whole. Their main arguments and findings are brought together and streamlined within this report. Given the diversity of the sectors being explored, the methods employed and the findings arrived at, this document should be understood not as the sum of its parts but, rather, as a useful tool for analysing the linkages between the different ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ outputs. References are constantly made to the component reports, and further details, explanations and findings should be sought from within them where this document, due to its brevity, is unable to reflect their totality and depth. Furthermore, it should be noted that, while this report captures a snapshot of Afghanistan at the time of its writing, the highly dynamic situation will require constant analysis and a continuous updating of studies such as ‘Understanding Afghanistan’. This Synthesis Report begins with a brief description, in Section 2, of the methodologies and conceptual frameworks employed within ‘Understanding Afghanistan’. It then turns, in Section 3, to a discussion of the contemporary and historical context which have ‘set the stage’ for all developments and interventions that have taken place in Afghanistan since 2001. This contextual analysis includes a discussion of the multiple ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, which are then further explored – as regards their participants, objectives, motives and financing – in Section 4. Sections 5 and 6, respectively, review the current statuses of state building and economic development in order to understand how limited progress in these areas has hindered the pursuit of stability. Social exclusion and the constraints to inclusion and equity, particularly as related to women, the chronically poor and the disabled, among others, is the focus of Section 7. Finally, policy options for improving interventions in each of these sectors – conflict, governance, economic development and social exclusion – are offered in Section 8 prior to a conclusion in Section 9. In sum, these various sections review where Afghanistan currently stands and how, after nearly seven years of external assistance and internal efforts, conflict has intensified, the State has failed to gain widespread legitimacy, the economy has deteriorated and social exclusion has continued.

1.1

Purpose

The aim of Understanding of Afghanistan is to improve Her Majesty’s Government’s (HMG) comprehension of the country in order to inform a multi-donor strategy and the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Country Plan. In doing so, it not only serves to consolidate information but to provide analysis which correlates to specific short-, midand long-term strategies and policy options integral in operationalising the National Security, International Relations and Development (NSID) strategy. However, it is important to note that what results is not a blueprint or instruction manual but a variety of critical insights and policy options which DFID and HMG should consider and, where appropriate, adopt for inclusion in a broader government-wide or multi-donor strategy.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

1.2

Key Findings

The following are among the key findings of the various outputs produced during the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ initiative. x Little progress with security, economic development or social inclusion is likely to be achieved without the incorporation of the Taliban into the government, a goal which was unwisely excluded from the December 2001 Bonn Agreement. A more inclusive, post-Bonn political process is of critical importance, and all components of the international intervention should focus upon achieving this end. It will be of primary importance to expand the presently weak constituency for peace and stability within the Afghan government in order to counter the economic and political interests dependent upon prolonged insecurity That said, the process of dialogue and, eventually, negotiation over power-sharing should be led by the Afghan government without external interference. The continuation of divisive rhetoric of the ‘war on terror’ and the labelling of all insurgents as ‘terrorists’ could prevent meaningful dialogue and should be avoided. The pursuit of a ‘grand bargain’ would prove unsettling for northern militias, in particular, who had initially been privileged in the first post-Bonn systems of governance. The perception of a pro-Pashtun agenda among key governmental officials or the international community would severely exacerbate tensions created by the current focus of development and security assistance on southern Afghanistan. All future interventions must take into consideration rising North-South tensions, the realistic potential for a large-scale civil war and the need to consistently provide financial incentives and security guarantees to the North while politically incorporating or courting the Taliban and other predominantly Pashtun entities. Contemporary conflict within Afghanistan involves a growing diverse group of fighters representing several factions and even more numerous interests and motives. The common perception, however, that all attacks aim to achieve the overthrow of the State is unfounded, and it appears likely that many insurgent leaders, including those among the Taliban, see their interests best served by incorporation into the government. Furthermore, it must be noted that, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, no evidence of direct Taliban engagement in poppy cultivation or narcotics trafficking was found. Each of these groups, however, is fuelled by Afghanistan’s exceptionally pronounced ‘youth bulge’ and the lack of employment opportunities for, in particular, young men. Targeting employment opportunities and livelihood assistance at this group is critical in order to dampen insurgent recruitment. The present-day Afghan State continues to struggle to gain legitimacy as a result of dependence upon external assistance, high levels of corruption and its minimal control over both the international military response and the reconstruction and development process. The challenge of legitimacy is best demonstrated by the government’s limited, meagre ability to mobilise domestic revenues. One critical challenge to State sovereignty has been the partial and not entirely successful incorporation of traditional or customary measures into a modern, constitutional framework. The failure to do so has resulted in the creation of three parallel systems, those supported by the Afghan government, those created by the international community and those that had already existed. Each of these is shaped in various ways by conflict and international, regional, national and local power struggles. A general conclusion was reached that in sectors such as justice, security, anti-corruption and service delivery, it is

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

critical to draw upon and unobtrusively develop customary mechanisms rather than continuing to treat them as corrosive or illicit. Providing a greater role for Islam within the Afghan State will greatly facilitate cooperation between public and customary institutions, as the perception of a technocratic and secular government has frequently led to mistrust and divisions between the periphery and the centre. x Similarly, economic development, while having achieved impressive growth in GDP, has, primarily, been sustained formally by external support and informally by narcotics trafficking. Furthermore, growth has been hindered by corruption which detracts from businesses’ profits and reduces incentives for investment. It is alarming to note that the number of registered businesses in Afghanistan, having peaked in 2005, is declining rapidly due to insecurity as well as the opaque and rent-seeking behaviour of public officials. This situation is troubling given the close relationship between economic growth, revenue mobilisation (i.e., taxation), governmental legitimacy, political stability, development and security. Furthermore, the examinations of economic growth and social exclusion highlight the need to approach reconstruction and development not only in terms of structural changes and the creation of enabling environments but also, if not more importantly, in terms of local development. National growth has, thus far, frequently failed to provide improved living standards at the local levels from which discontentment has principally emanated. Agriculture presents, perhaps, the greatest opportunity for providing national economic growth in terms of GDP while establishing livelihoods and communitybased development. This sector will require continued and expanded donor support which would be wise to target value chains and the infrastructure, such as roads, cold-storage and processing and packaging facilities, to support the added-value exportation of produce. Poverty rates are high, and a large segment of the Afghan population sits alongside the poverty line. Consumption poverty and food security are perhaps the most notable forms which poverty takes, though weak service delivery also contributes to poor living standards. Rising commodity prices and the high reliance upon grain purchases, compounded by insecurity and a potentially related decline in the overall economy, could push more people into poverty and malnutrition. Still, more research must be done into the ‘trajectories’ and qualitative dimensions of poverty given the weakness of current statistical approaches. The needs and interests of women, in particular, must be more fully addressed within and beyond the economic sphere. Doing so must recognise the political nature of what are far too commonly labelled ‘personal’, ‘private’ or ‘social’ concerns of women. Resources and assistance targeting sectors in which women have a customary or familial role, particularly health and education, is critical, as is the use of traditional and religious leaders to begin loosening the cultural association between familial honour (or religious purity) and the control of women. In some areas, however, such as justice, safeguarding women’s rights – as well as the rights of other marginalised groups – will require training and monitoring to ensure the rule of law. The Afghan government and international community must support equitable justice, access to social services and the amplification of empowering customary messages while ensuring accountability through consistent quantitative as well as qualitative monitoring of women’s evolving position. Violence against women must be understood as a remaining and potentially increasing challenge, particularly in the context of rising insecurity. The Afghan government has not taken steps to address this factor, and the international community’s

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willingness to do so may be blunted by overly broad sentiments that ‘touching’ gender could inflame additional insurgency. One critical step in tacking this epidemic of violence could be the engagement of more women in the police and judiciary and the taking of tangible steps to protect and empower women – not only relying upon the family to provide protection – and to follow-up conventions and abstract commitments with tangible and closely monitored actions. x Additional socially excluded groups – the chronically poor, female heads of household, the disabled, youth and others – will, like women, require improved access to basic social services, to justice, to economic opportunities and to forums for advocating their interests. There is a genuine need to invest in public goods – such as health, education and justice – in order to safeguard the interests of those commonly barred, through formal and informal systems, from accessing such opportunities. Yet, the provision of such goods must be accompanied by at least minimal social safety nets to assist those who are too vulnerable to benefit from, for instance, broader economic growth or development programmes. As with women, the international community would be wise to utilise traditional mechanisms, such as charitable giving (or zakat), particularly in those cases where marginalisation is not based on identity, to guarantee sustainability and local ownership. Finally, on an overarching programmatic level, three core components must be considered. First, the tendency to focus upon wide and quick impacts must be replaced by attention to the quality of interventions. Second, sustainability must be made a greater priority, both in fiscal and in programmatic terms. Third, a genuine model of collaborative governance whereby civil society, local communities, sub-national public structures and the international community cooperate, under the overall guidance of the Afghan government, to build consensus regarding the needs of the Afghan people and the most effective manners in which to reach them, is required.

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These findings and many others are explored in further detail within the following sections and, far more elaborately, in the reports which have contributed to them. The overall picture is one of a weak State which has lost legitimacy just as the insurgency has expanded and also claimed, if not yet won, the moral high ground. The country’s future will depend upon the government’s ability to gain capacity, legitimacy and autonomy and to rid itself of the corruption which has not only weakened the State but severely hindered the economy. The international community has contributed to such problems through specific policies and practices and, more broadly, through its willingness to establish parallel structures and to deprive the government of the rights and responsibilities of an independent State, despite the stated intention to do quite the opposite.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

2.

Methodology
The various ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ outputs utilised differing but complementary research methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative. In addition, conceptual frameworks, reflective of their individual undertakings and subject areas, guided the development of each output. These are encapsulated in the methodology papers designed by each output team in advance of the field research. For its theoretical grounding, the Political Economy Analysis drew upon a tri-partite rubric of capital, coercion and legitimacy and the notion of a ‘triple transition’ in order to better understand the historical and contemporary processes of state building in Afghanistan. The Strategic Conflict Assessment drew heavily upon DFID’s own Conflict Assessment Guidance Notes in examining the varied roles of structures, actors and dynamics in the conflict and the manners in which they were (and could be) affected by the international intervention. The Growth Diagnostic, in recognition of the lack of conflict-adapted economic assessment tools, employed the framework developed by Hausmann, Rodrik and Velasco (2005), but then, in a separate and complementary report, analysed the results in the light of Afghanistan’s political economy and conflict. Finally, the Poverty, Growth and Social Exclusion Analysis drew upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods and the results of the 2005 and 2007 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessments (NRVAs). Within each ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ output, a standard process was followed in reaching the final conclusions and reports. This began with the development of individual methodologies to ensure rigor, followed by sector-specific literature reviews to highlight the gaps in knowledge and analysis. Each output team then undertook significant amounts of field-based research prior to drafting Initial Findings Papers, which were then developed in consultation with DFID counterparts. The consultation phase not only allowed the output teams to better understand HMG’s perspectives but also provided an opportunity for team members to identify and develop the linkages between their findings and streams of analysis. Such connections are evident within this Synthesis Report and within each of the individual output reports. Finally, peer reviewers, who brought additional expertise and a refreshing degree of detached objectivity to the findings, reviewed all outputs, including the final reports. This process allowed for thorough research and analysis and was guided by the overarching conceptual framework described below.

2.1

The Political Economy Approach

In the interest of linking up the findings, the team members determined that a political economy approach to the analysis was both most applicable to the task and most relevant to the Afghan context. Political economy maintains that the economy – the structure of production, patterns of economic activity, transactions and policies – cannot be understood simply as an outcome of economic laws but also as influenced by and inseparable from political interests, the organisation and balance of power and social relationships. Understanding conflict, for instance, entails an understanding of whose interests – political, economic, social, ideological or otherwise – are served by its initiation and continuation. Another example emerging from the Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis would be that women’s participation in the wage-earning labour force is not simply a function of economic logic but also of power relations and historically established (and perhaps changing) norms and ideologies. In addition, several reports demonstrated that governance in Afghanistan is not solely determined by technical arrangements and capacities but also by the economic structure and the manner in which vested local and international interests are served (or not) by various manifestations of governmental authority.

2.2

Opportunities and Challenges

The various methodologies were well suited for the individual outputs and for their consolidation

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into the overarching project. Most significant, however, was not the technical approach and analytical frameworks but the potential to engage in substantial amounts of field research within Afghanistan (and, in the case of the Strategic Conflict Assessment team, Pakistan). In sum, more than 140 person-days were spent conducting field research primarily in Kabul, though Strategic Conflict Assessment team members were able to conduct more than 15 days of research in Kandahar, Helmand and Herat provinces in addition to several days in Pakistan. ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ team members, facilitated by DFID Kabul, were able to interview highranking Afghan officials, members of the National Assembly, foreign and Afghan soldiers and military commanders, Afghan police officers, international police trainers, experts, advisers, consultants and countless representatives of international, intergovernmental, financial and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in addition to, in the UK, several Members of Parliament.1 These individuals provided insights and information which is not publicly available and served to highlight as well as challenge critical assumptions regarding politics, conflict, economics, reconstruction and social equity within Afghanistan. The research was not, however, without minor complications. Security concerns and the limited amount of time (one month) for field research posed anticipated constraints. However, the most notable challenge, evident across all outputs, was the lack of historical as well as contemporary data concerning Afghanistan. Several reports note that, despite the wealth of information gathered regarding various sectors, the data remains diffuse, decentralised and, in many cases, unpublished. The lack of data concerning gender and social exclusion, in particular, is noted by the Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis as resulting from the sensitivity of data related to women, ethnicity and marginalised groups. 2 This lack of data complicated, in particular, the degree of certainty which could be claimed by the results of the Growth Diagnostic, and, more broadly, data paucity will continue to inhibit evidence-based policy development and programming. One of the key recommendations emerging from this study is for DFID to take the lead in gathering and centralising data related to security, reconstruction, economic growth, governance and social exclusion.

1

Full lists of informants can be found in the appendices of each ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ report. In many cases, informants requested to remain anonymous. In such cases, efforts have been made to identify the role or placement of such individuals if not necessarily their title.

2 Additional information regarding data availability, or the lack thereof, can be found in Section 7 of the Political Economy Analysis final report, in Sections 2 and 3 of the Growth Diagnostic Scoping Study final report and in Section 1.4 of the Social Exclusion final report.

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3.

Context and Conflict in Afghanistan
The Afghan context and the key structures that comprise it provide a crucial backdrop for all other points addressed within ‘Understanding Afghanistan’, from conflict to politics, economics and exclusion. As such, understanding what that context is and how its present formulation has been shaped by history is critical. This section analyses those physical and human structures – such as geography and culture – which comprise this context before turning to an exploration of Afghanistan’s history and the patterns evident therein. Finally, it concludes by describing the troubling contemporary security situation and by identifying the multiple conflicts which have conspired to create it.

3.1

The Structural Context

By ‘structures’, this report means those relatively consistent (in temporal terms) features of a country or society that shape and direct the economic, political, social, security-related and other events and developments. Numerous structures were explicitly or implicitly referenced by the team, including: Geography, Location (including Trading Position), Natural Resources, Demographics, Centre-Periphery Relations, Corruption and Opportunism, Intra-State Regionalism, Inter-State Regionalism, Gender, Poverty, Exclusion, Ethnicity, Culture, Religion, Security, the War on Terror and Western Liberalism. The most significant and recurring structures are further examined below. 3

3.1.1

Physical Structures

3.1.1.1 Geography and Location
Afghanistan’s physical geography has provided both constraints and opportunities for governance, state building, economic development and security. Afghanistan is located on a pivotal trade crossroads which links Central and Southern Asia. The Afghan government is eager to regain the country’s historic role as the major trade route (‘silk road’) or ‘economic land-bridge’ connecting the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2008). 4 However, the inaccessibility of the country’s terrain and its land-locked position present particular challenges. Landlocked status brings constraints to economic development such as detrimental transit costs, reliance on the transit infrastructure and the regulatory challenges of cross-border commerce that are not experienced by coastal countries.5 The mountainous terrain has, furthermore, made it difficult for governmental authority to extend into isolated rural communities and has, historically, provided a strategic advantage against foreign armies in conflict. Conversely, Afghanistan’s position as a regional centrepiece and its extensive borders has also proven problematic. The country shares a total of 5,529 km of borders with Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Being relatively porous, these borders have allowed smugglers and illegal armed groups to operate with relative impunity.

3.1.1.2 Natural Resource Endowment
Afghanistan has abundant natural resources including natural gas, oil, coal, copper, uranium, gold, silver, chromate, talc, barites, sulphur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt and precious and semiprecious stones

Structures are discussed throughout each of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ reports but can be found, most notably, in Section 3 of the Political Economy Analysis, Section 3.1 of the Strategic Conflict Assessment and Section 2 of the Growth Diagnostic Policy Discussion Paper.
3 4 It has suggested that the Trans-Afghan Pipeline (TAP) would allow the country to serve as a conduit for Central Asian gas to growing energy markets in Pakistan and India, however, the commercial viability of the project are questionable due to security concerns, poor and unpredictable Pakistani-Indian cooperation and reliability of gas supply from Turkmenistan. 5

A key study of trade in the wider region surrounding Afghanistan has flagged up significant costs of being land-locked for this region (Byrd & Raiser et al., 2006).

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(Afghanistan Geological Survey, 2007).6 Major mineral reserves are largely untapped, and much existing mining is illicit. A substantial semi-precious stone industry exists in Afghanistan but is largely informal with stones passing into Pakistan for cutting and polishing (World Bank, 2004). As such, the recorded activity from such natural resources contributed less than one per cent of GDP in 2006.7 However, there are predictions that the contribution of minerals, if brought into the formal, licit economy, to GDP and to government revenues could increase dramatically (ibid). Oil and gas reserves, which may also be far greater than previously thought, could do the same. The US Geological Survey estimates that two northern regions could contain up to 1.6 billion barrels of oil and 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Yet, as research has consistently reflected, primary export commodities may sustain (if not, necessarily, ignite) conflict (Collier & Hoeffler, 2002). The mining and trade of gemstones, such as Panjshiri emeralds, for example, was widely reported as a source of income for the Northern Alliance. Agricultural resources are also a critical component of the context, including of the conflict dynamics, as they provide both substantial levels of employment (up to 70 per cent) and more than 90 per cent of the world’s opium and heroin. Both facts may seem to be counter-intuitive given that only between 10 and 14 per cent of Afghanistan is comprised of arable land, only a third to half of which has any access to irrigation. Yet, as later sections will discuss, agriculture may pose one of the greatest possibilities for economic growth if adequate infrastructure is put in place to connect Afghanistan with wider markets.

3.1.2

Human / Social Structures

3.1.2.1 Demographics
Afghanistan’s population remains unknown given the absence of a census, though best estimates place the number between 22.1 and 31.0 million (AREU Research Newsletter, 2007). Predominantly a rural population, Afghans have long resisted urbanisation. However, since the mid-1990s, urban centres have experienced rising populations (with Kabul averaging 15 per cent annual growth) due to internal migration, influxes of returnees and natural population growth. In 2004, Kabul’s population was estimated at 3 million, though growth rates predict that, at present, it is closer to 3.6 million (World Bank, 2005). The median age in Afghanistan is estimated at only 15, compared to 20.1 in Nepal, 20.3 in Pakistan, 23.4 in Iran and 23.8 in India (CSO/UNFPA, 2006: 25-26). The population exhibits a classic ‘youth bulge’, showing a large number of children, a rapid rate of population growth and a lower proportion of older individuals (see Figure 1). The presence of a growing, young population, if not accompanied by expanding and licit economic opportunities, may contribute to insecurity. This point is discussed further within Section 6 of this report and, in particular, within the Political Economy Analysis, Strategic Conflict Assessment and Growth Diagnostic.

6 7

Afghanistan Geological Survey, 2007

By November 2007, Afghanistan announced the State-owned China Metallurgical Group won the rights to exploit the Aynak copper field in Logar Province, south of Kabul. This investment is likely to generate significant revenues.

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Figure 1. Afghanistan’s Demographic Structure in 2000

Source: Population Action International (2003)

3.1.2.2 Culture and Ethnicity
Afghan society, given the predominantly rural population, has long been dominated by adherence to the qawm, or community. This community, with which would-be rulers frequently conflicted, is principally a local, social entity but extends more broadly to encompass family, tribe and other forms of social identification. The sense of community is considered strongest among Pashtun Afghans, situated predominantly in the South and East with substantial overlap into Pakistani border provinces. Pashtuns are estimated to include 44 per cent of the Afghan population. Other ethnic groups include Tajiks (25 per cent), Hazara (10 per cent), Uzbeks (8 per cent) and others, including Aimaqs and Turkmens (a combined 13 per cent). Many of Afghanistan’s warlords have maintained mono-ethnic militias, though they have frequently come together in the face of a common enemy, as was demonstrated in the anti-Soviet jihad. Conflict has not only brought Afghans together but has, most notably, driven them apart. During the Soviet era, in particular, traditional leaders, Khans and Maleks, were either co-opted or killed. Local jirgas, traditional decision making councils, remained in existence but had been tainted by the concept’s adoption by the Soviets and by subsequent regimes. In addition, the ‘Kalashnikovisation’ of Afghan culture, a result of the estimated US$6 billion in weapons provided by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China to the Mujahidin, has brought about an increase in crime, violence, atomisation and community isolation.

3.1.2.3 Religion
In addition to ethnicity, Islam, according to its local and fluid interpretations, is a powerful force though neither strictly fundamentalist nor completely stable in its interpretation and application. Yet, it is considered a sacred and inviolable part of life. However, it is important to note that, unlike the ongoing war in Iraq, sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shia Muslims have not been a defining feature of conflict within Afghanistan, largely given the country’s predominantly (80 per cent) Sunni composition.8 Islam has taken four major paths in Afghanistan.

8

Almost the entirety of the remaining 20 per cent are Shia.

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The first is ‘traditional Islam’, which includes local folklore and is identified with the Sufi orders. The second, ‘revivalist Islam’, includes Deobandis, Salafis, Tablighis and other groups. The remaining two are notable for their relation to the State. ‘Pro-government Islam’ is comprised of clerics, generally on the public payroll, who extol the virtues of the government and its policies, while ‘political Islam’, as pursued by groups such as Hizb-e Islami and Jamiat-e Islami, seeks the incorporation of Islam (in varying degrees and forms) into the State and governmental entities. 9

3.2

The Historical Context

Numerous histories of Afghanistan exist, and summaries and reviews of the historical literature are available in the Political Economy Analysis final report and the Strategic Conflict Assessment literature review. This section aims not to chart Afghan history but to analyse common trends relevant to the contemporary situation and to address why Afghanistan has repeatedly proven such a challenging context for would-be state builders. Five central constraints have hindered effective state building in, at least, the past century.10 First, a Western-style government has consistently been pursued through administrative and technical processes without first having resolved external opposition among those stakeholders who possess the means – generally violent means – to swamp state building efforts. ‘Elite pacts’ that involve only a portion of the necessary stakeholders have consistently been sought to the detriment of more broadly inclusive ‘grand bargains’. Second, governing coalitions, once created, have repeatedly proven unwilling to compromise on their goals and interests, thus leading to the collapse of the coalitions and the devolution of political conflict into violence. Third, an overdependence on foreign patrons, whether British, Soviet, American or Pakistani, has privileged external (rather than internal) interests, has reduced the need to mobilise local revenues (primarily through taxation) and, in the process, has blocked the development of a ‘social contract’ whereby revenues are extracted in exchange for services and protection. Fourth, reforms pursued by elites in Kabul have repeatedly been perceived as culturally or ideologically threatening to wide swaths of the population, including relatively ‘traditional’ ethnic, community or religious leaders. Fifth and finally, the focus upon state building and governmental expansion in the immediate post-conflict phase has rendered it unnecessarily complex and less likely to succeed. While conflicts often result in and open the door for broad, national changes, they also force the re-negotiation of forms and distributions of power and authority at lower levels. Attempting to build a state within a context of countless small-scale power tussles has burdened and ultimately undermined the process in several instances. Table 1. Key Phases in Contemporary Afghan Conflict 1979 - 1988: Jihad in a Cold War Context The Afghan rural resistance fought the Soviet-backed Kabul regime. The Sunni (i.e., Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek) resistance parties received military and financial support from Pakistan, the United States11, Saudi Arabia and China. The Kabul regime received similar backing from the Soviet Union. More than 5 million Afghans became refugees in Iran and Pakistan. The Geneva agreements of 1988 paved the way for Soviet withdrawal.

9 Roy (2001) Islamic Radicalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Geneva: UNHCR); Dorronsoro (2000) Pakistan and the Taliban: state policy, religious networks and political connections (Paris: CERI). 10 11

More details can be found in the Political Economy Analysis of ‘Understanding Afghanistan’. It is estimated that US$6-8 billion worth of arms were sent through the Afghan arms pipeline (Rubin, 1995).

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1989 - 1992: Jihad among Afghans After the Soviet withdrawal an internal war between the Soviet-supported government of President Najibullah and the various Afghan factions ensued, with rapidly dwindling support from the Soviet Union and the US. The Najibullah regime collapsed when Abdul Rashid Dostum, commander of an Uzbek militia aligned to the Kabul regime, switched sides to the Mujahidin, who entered the capital in April 1992. 1993 - 1996: Factional War Among Afghans As superpower influence declined, regional power interests reasserted themselves and the conflict assumed the characteristics of both a regional proxy war and a civil war. In late 1994 the Taliban began to emerge, first in Kandahar in the South, with a stated objective of restoring stability. In September 1996 they entered Kabul. 12 1996 -2001: Taliban Rule Fighting continued between the primarily Pashtun Taliban, backed by Pakistan, and the primarily non-Pashtun United Front (UF; also known as the Northern Alliance)13, backed by Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The Taliban controlled roughly 90 per cent of the territory, and the UF the remaining pockets.14 The presence of radical Islamic groups in Taliban-controlled territory (and in neighbouring countries) including Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU; now the Islamic Movement of Turkmenistan) contributed to growing international concern and ultimately a re-engagement with the region.15

3.3

Conflict and Security

The question, thus, remains to what degree these historical patterns apply to contemporary Afghanistan. As is evident in the rising trend of violence and insecurity (see Table 2, below), the cycle has been repeated and, indeed, has led to several overlapping conflicts (or sub-conflicts). As of mid-July 2008, 153 international troops have died this year in Afghanistan not to mention the ever-increasing civilian toll of both, insurgency attacks and the international military response. May and June 2008 have been the first months during the ongoing Afghan conflict that have claimed the lives of more international military personnel than in the present war in Iraq. It is, thus, necessary to understand the various conflicts that have contributed to this escalation. These statistics reflect a situation which is becoming less secure and an ‘insurgency’ that has become more active and proficient.

12 13

See Maley, (1998) for an analysis of their rise to power.

The United National Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (Jabha-yi Muttahid-I Islami-yi milli barayi Nijat-I Afghanistan). The UF was formed in 1996 as an alliance of the groups opposed to the Taliban. The president of the ousted government, Burhanuddin Rabbani, remained the President of Afghanistan the titular head of the UF, although real power lay with Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Minister for Defence (Human Rights Watch, 2001:12).
14

Principally in the north, northeast and parts of the central highlands.

15

In August 1998 US air strikes on Bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan followed the US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. International sanctions were subsequently imposed in 1999 and 2000.

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Table 2. The Mounting Security Crisis 2002 Attacks targeting civilians16 Percentage of ‘Successful’17 Attacks Civilian Deaths per ‘Successful’ Attack IED Attacks18 Suicide Bombings19 Afghan Civilians Harmed by Such Attacks 20 Coalition Military Fatalities21 22 0 68 2003 83 2 57 2004 3 58 2005 491 74.5 4.2 783 17 1,540 130 2006 969 71.7 5.1 1,730 123 3,557 191 2007 1,127 79.1 5.2 1,314 137 4,673 232

3.3.1

The Multi-Conflict System

The ongoing ‘conflict’ in Afghanistan emerges from a combination of several inter-related subconflicts. It is neither a singular conflict nor a phenomenon of anti- versus progovernment elements. The various components of this multi-conflict system are described below.

3.3.1.1 The Insurgency
The conflict between the ‘insurgency’ and the government (and its international supporters) is perceived to be the most significant. However, the insurgency itself is comprised of a number of armed opposition groups with differing motives. The Taliban, now frequently labelled the neo-Taliban in light of its ongoing evolution, is comprised of members seeking a return to nearabsolute power while others pursue a strong bargaining position from which to enter and formally participate in governmental institutions. Newer Taliban recruits are reportedly seeking income or attempting to express frustration with the lack of anticipated progress since 2001, while many others are far more fundamentalist, in religious terms, and identify most closely with al-Qaeda. It is, however, important to understand that much of what is commonly perceived as the Taliban or ‘the insurgency’ is, in fact, a federation of smaller entities including Hizb-e Islami, the Haqqani Network and numerous Pakistani groups (Lashkar-e Taiba, Tehreek-e Taliban/the Pakistani Taliban). The specific goals and interests of such groups are discussed in Section 4 of this report and are elaborated within the Strategic Conflict Assessment final report.

16 Anthony Cordesman (2008) The Afghan-Pakistan War: A Status Update (Washington, DC: Centre for Strategic and International Studies), p. 24. Data included within the next two rows is provided within the same document or is extrapolated from statistics provided therein. 17

‘Successful’ attacks are those which resulted in casualties. Attacks in which the bomb did not detonate or in which it detonated accidentally and with no human impact are deemed to have been unsuccessful.

18 Numbers have been consolidated from a number of sources, including: US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs (2007) Afghanistan 2007: Problems, Opportunities and Possible Solutions. Available at: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/ber021507.htm; and Afghanistan Conflict Monitor (2008) Security Incidents. Available at: http://www.afghanconflictmonitor.org/incidents.html. The decline in 2007 is commonly credited to the enhanced interdiction ability of Coalition and Afghan military and security services. 19 20 21

UNAMA (2007) Suicide Bombings in Afghanistan (Kabul: UNAMA), Sept. Cordesman (2008) The Afghan-Pakistan War: A Status Update. Afghan Conflict Monitor (2008) Military Casualty Data. Available at: http://www.afghanconflictmonitor.org.

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Figure 2. The Expanding Security Threat

3.3.1.2 Narco-Conflict
For all of the attention provided to the role of narcotics in conflict, this may perhaps be the least significant and the least violent (or potentially violent). A conflict exists insofar as those engaged in the cultivation, processing and trafficking of opium poppies (i) pay ‘taxes’ to insurgent groups which, in return, provide them with protection and freedom to operate and (ii) engage in skirmishes during eradication or interdiction operations. Parallels to Colombia, where the rebel organisations themselves operated the drug trade, are unsubstantiated, and no evidence of direct Taliban involvement in the narcotics trade was found. It is widely perceived that those who attempt to equate security and poppy eradication are attempting to provide a rationale for the latter while paying little heed to the former.

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Figure 3. Annual Increases in Afghanistan’s Opium Production (MT)

Source: UNODC (2007)

3.3.1.3 International / Regional Conflict
Regional conflicts have had a significant impact upon Afghanistan. Often viewed in the context of Iran to the West, the highly paranoid Turkmen, Tajik and Uzbek regimes to the North and Pakistan to the East, the situation has frequently been described as a ‘regional conflict system’. However, despite the admitted relevance of each of Afghanistan’s six neighbours, Pakistan is by far the most influential.22 Pakistan’s inability to control its lengthy border with Afghanistan and the likelihood that Pakistani intelligence agents have continued to support various insurgent groups both pose fundamental security dilemmas for Afghanistan. Fears continue to exist, however, that emboldened international military action against militants in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Waziristan and Baluchistan could destabilise Pakistan and lead to a domino effect involving, at least, Kashmir and India.

3.3.1.4 North-South Competition
Regional tensions between the North and the South, or non-Pashtuns and Pashtuns, emerged as a currently non-violent but highly plausible conflict. North-South tensions and animosity lingering from the anti-Taliban resistance led by the United Front/Northern Alliance were transposed onto the Interim Administration and subsequent government as northern commanders claimed key governmental posts. President Hamid Karzai at first came to be seen as a Pashtun face for an anti-Pashtun agenda. However, the dynamic changed with the more recent transfer of leading cabinet posts from Tajiks to Pashtuns (the ‘de-northernisation’ of the government), which convinced many in the North that a Pashtun agenda had overtaken the State. The simultaneous resurgence of the Taliban and other Taliban-allied insurgent groups, which came to be derisively regarded as ‘Karzai’s Taliban’ by many in the North, compounded this situation. Currently, the distribution of international assistance and all actions within the security sector are being interpreted according to a North-South lens, and many fear that the

22

It is necessary to highlight the potential role of Iran, in particular, in Afghan politics. While there currently appears to be no credible evidence of Iranian involvement in the Afghan conflict, any political or military action against Iran could allow the regime in Teheran to, at least, allow non-governmental agents to send weapons and fighters across the border into Afghanistan. (Current accusations of Iranian weapons being used by the Afghan insurgency appear unfounded. Weapons recovered may have been purchased on the Iranian black market at an earlier date, are frequently imitations of Iranian weapons and were almost certainly not provided by the Iranian government

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expansion of the insurgency to northern Afghanistan could draw resistance and provide a catalyst for a large-scale civil war. The formation of the United National Front (UNF)23, a political party representing members of the United Front which many see as a defensive alliance amongst northerners, in 2007 is both a manifestation of Afghanistan’s unstable coalition politics and the country’s growing North-South bifurcation.

3.3.1.5 Local, Power-Sharing Conflicts
Largely disconnected from the broader insurgency are localised conflicts involving communities and ‘strongmen’. According to some informants, up to 70 per cent of the violence in the South and 50 per cent nationwide can be attributed to local disputes ‘outsourced’ to insurgent groups, claimed by insurgents or falsely attributed to the Taliban rather than veritable, anti-State insurgent activity.24 At the root of this violence are the grievances of some communities or social groups over perceptions of exclusion from the district or provincial public administrations. For instance, in Kandahar, the Noorzai tribe perceives itself as being virtually excluded from government offices, which are seen to be monopolised by rivals, and feels marginalized by the government. As a response this tribe’s members have frequently affiliated themselves with the Taliban and, subsequently, attacked government targets not because they wish to destabilise the State as a whole but in order to press their own equitable access to public resources and positions.

3.3.1.6 Interpersonal Violence
Despite a tendency to assume that interpersonal violence, particularly that which affects women and marginalised groups, is politically irrelevant, the report of the Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis shows that it is. The Taliban has routinely used violations of women’s ‘honour’ by international agents – such as showing foreign troops searching Muslim women – to boost recruitment figures. Furthermore, in addition to its fundamental immorality, violence against women and marginalised groups reduces social cohesion and economic productivity. It may, in fact, signify the displacement of men’s growing dissatisfaction with the postconflict context. As this section portrays, Afghanistan provides historical, cultural and geographical limitations upon state building in addition to a wide range of ongoing and simmering conflicts. The challenge thus remains to better understand how the pursuit of political power can be de-coupled from its nearconstant association with violence.

23 Members include Mustafa Zahir (grandson of former king Zahir Shah), ex defence minister Mhd Qasim Fahim, parliamentary speader Yunus Qanooni, vice President Ahmad Zia Massoud and former general Abdul Rashid Dostam. The UNF claims to be backed by 40 per cent of parliament. 24

Personal communication, UNAMA personnel, Kabul, Afghanistan, April 2008. In such cases, tribal ‘strongmen’ frustrated with their lack of control over the local, district or provincial administration may temporarily ally themselves with an insurgent group, such as the Taliban, in order to gain support for an attack. Alternatively, such ‘strongmen’ may attack independently and allow the attack to be attributed to or claimed by the Taliban in order to avoid responsibility or retribution.

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4.

Contemporary Conflict in Afghanistan
Given the wide variety of conflicts taking place (or potentially taking place) in Afghanistan, a discussion of the broader political economy is daunting. Indeed, there is no single political economy but rather a variety of micro-political economies which fuel its incitement and continuation. These are provided, in the scope of ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ within the Political Economy Analysis and Strategic Conflict Assessment. These two reports provide complementary perspectives on the same phenomenon, the first focused upon the theories and underlying vulnerabilities with the second on the nexus of agents and causes which drive it at global, national and societal (or individual) levels. Combined, they provide a comprehensive portrait of how state weakness, poor governance, deprivation, financing and culturally-rooted expectations and perceptions generate conflict and impel individuals to participate in armed groups.

4.1

A ‘Theoretical’ Perspective on Conflict in Afghanistan

Afghanistan represents a profoundly unstable political economy due to four primary factors. First, Afghan statehood has been shaped by the interests and state-building strategies of Western and regional powers. The lack of a nationally owned approach and the constraints placed on the actions of Afghan political figures by their international backers has impeded the sorts of negotiation and political accommodation which commonly leads to conflict resolution. Second, Afghanistan is situated in a highly volatile and complex region which has injected countless stakeholders with numerous agendas into conflicts. Many of these actors, primarily Pakistan but also potentially Iran and Uzbekistan, have sought their own national interests through involvement (either active or passive) in Afghanistan and in their border regions. Third, the heavy degree of international financial support has made successive governments de-prioritise the interests and ideologies of their citizens in order to maintain continued access to external assistance. Doing so had led to widespread discontent with their government among Afghans and, at times, impelled their participation in conflict to topple it. Fourth, the succession of conflicts in Afghanistan has created a self-perpetuating cycle. Economies become oriented and in many ways dependent upon conflict, and local leaders at all levels become accustomed to high levels of autonomy and access to social and financial capital. The termination of conflict or establishment of stable governmental institutions would jeopardise these gains, thus compelling them to undermine security. These same patterns, as will be discussed in the following sub-sections, were validated by the Strategic Conflict Assessment, which explored the actors involved in Afghanistan’s conflicts and their interests. Yet, potentially the most profound implication of both the theory and the on-the-ground reality is that peace has few genuine proponents in positions of leadership. Regional leaders prefer to keep international and Afghan security services bogged down in Afghanistan and their national insurgents and terrorists occupied outside of or at the fringes of their countries. Afghan political elites, who often benefit from the war economy more than those in the provinces and villages (i.e., through involvement in narcotics and private security companies), have a vested stake in its continuation at a limited level of intensity (which does not threaten to topple the government or upset their financial interests). Local Afghan leaders, particularly those unaffiliated with the government, rely on continued conflict in order to enhance their autonomy, authority and illicit income. The only apparent losers in Afghanistan’s conflict are those devoid of authority, who suffer the brunt of violence, and the international actors who repeatedly fail to grasp that many of their allies remain, at best, ambivalent towards their goals and interests.

4.2

Insurgents and Armed Opposition Groups

While it is important to note that allies may not share HMG’s or the broader international community’s goals in Afghanistan, it is also critical to understand that not all insurgents necessarily

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oppose the achievement of a stable Afghanistan. Despite the common but misleading use of the term ‘anti-government elements’ to describe the insurgency, many actors involved in the contemporary conflict are not attempting to overthrow the State but instead to achieve autonomy, to earn pride or income or to bolster their negotiating position vis-à-vis the government. The Taliban – The most significant part of the insurgency remains the Taliban.25 Informed estimates put its maximum current size at 20,000 members (others closer to 10,000 or 15,000 members) with only a minority being full-time fighters. While many of its original members and recent recruits are motivated by a fundamentalist Islamic ideology which compels them to impose a radical interpretation of Sharia law, many newer members have joined out of more traditional Mujahidin motives of expelling an occupying army and a discredited government (to so-called ‘Mujahidin-isation’ of the Taliban). Relatively unexpectedly, a rising number of recent Taliban recruits have adopted the global jihadist perspective of al-Qaeda and have become more radical than the Taliban’s clerical leadership. Still, UN officials in Kabul report that many Taliban elements, including, potentially, Mullah Mohammed Omar, sustain the ‘insurgency’ as a means of improving their bargaining power in advance of an anticipated negotiation process or power-sharing arrangement.26 Hizb-e Islami – The second most significant insurgent group is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e Islami. While Hekmatyar and his affiliates are officially barred from politics, individuals affiliated with the Hizb-e Islami political faction, created in 2005 and officially not associated with Hekmatyar, are active in the Afghan National Assembly in Kabul. 27 Hekmatyar’s dual political and military approach has provided him with a strong hand in either stability or conflict. Concerns have recently developed, however, that he has begun re-mobilising his fighters on a broad scale. Recruitment among university students, a traditional Hizb-e Islami base of support, in northern Afghanistan has increased. Informed individuals currently estimate that, while far from flexing its full muscle and from giving up on the political system, Hekmatyar’s faction may account for up to a quarter of all active insurgents (up from approximately 10 per cent in 2006). Jamiat-e Islami – There are also signs that ideological fringe of Jamiat-e Islami, the largest of the Mujahidin groups, are turning to armed opposition to the sitting governmental administration, particularly in the West (Herat and Ghor provinces) but also in the northeast. This mobilisation, being small and isolated rather than coordinated, has not had much military impact but contributes to the spread of insecurity and facilitates the efforts of the Taliban to establish supply lines reaching to the northern and western borders. Haqqani Network – Jalaluddin Haqqani, like Jamiat-e Islami, fought with his so-called ‘Haqqani Network’ for the Mujahidin. The Haqqani Network, which is widely credited with the bombing of the Serena Hotel in Kabul in January 2008, now commands not only its own fighters but, due to its past tactical success, has been put in charge of Taliban field operations in, at least, Waziristan. (Unconfirmed reports say that Jalaluddin Haqqani may be the Taliban’s chief tactician and military commander.) Pakistani Insurgents – The so-called Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), led by Baitullah Mehsud, is believed to have close links to al-Qaeda but seems careful to give allegiance to Mullah Omar and the Afghan Taliban. In February 2008, TTP members kidnapped the Pakistani ambassador

25 Commentators such as Bearden and Gerges Fawaz who are familiar with the Taliban often note that, despite the constraints imposed by its current outlaw position, seems to be far less well funded than prior to 2002. 26 27

Personal communication, UN officials, Kabul, Afghanistan, April/May 2008.

Some such individuals have, in order to qualify for public office, been forced to sever ties with Hekmatyar. Such renunciations are, however, not viewed as particularly meaningful, and Hekmatyar’s covert political role is considered firm. Indeed, he is believed by some informants to be pursuing broad infiltration of the government, though the extent of his political reach is not considered to be deep at present.

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to Afghanistan, who it released three months later. It is an increasingly active organisation, particularly due to the lessened interference of Pakistani security services, and is significant, among other reasons, as a source of channelling finances and fighters to Afghanistan. In addition to TTP, a variety of other Pakistani and Kashmiri insurgent and terrorist groups have the potential to engage in Afghanistan. These groups may find their political aims within Pakistan assisted by instability in Afghanistan or, more simply, may decide to join their fellow fundamentalists in their struggle on the other side of the Durand Line out of anti-Western sentiments. A history of tribal cooperation in cases of shared political pursuit is common between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Figure 4. Location of Key Armed Groups

Al-Qaeda – At present, there are 14 global jihadist groups operating in Afghanistan, of which alQaeda is the only critical actor.28 While considered a more meaningful symbolic and financial rather than militant force, al-Qaeda is believed to be behind the increasing use of tactics such as kidnappings, beheadings and suicide bombings, practices not previously seen in Afghanistan. AlQaeda volunteers from abroad, excluding Pakistani Pashtuns, are commonly unwelcome by the Taliban inside Afghanistan.29 As such, al-Qaeda’s support may flow to proxies operating in Afghanistan such as Tahir Yuldashev’s Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan/Turkestan (IMU/T), which seeks to destabilise the Uzbek government by fostering regional instability and by winning longterm backing from regional jihadist organisations and fundamentalist financiers.

28 29

R. Weitz (2008) ‘Afghanistan: New Approaches Needed To Defeat Insurgency’, Eurasia Insight, 17 April.

A. Giustozzi (2007) Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan (New York: Columbia University Press), p. 131.

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Narcotics Traffickers – These networks, which exist in nearly every province of Afghanistan, extend from poor sharecroppers to ministry-level affiliates and protectors. Rather than involving a simple connection between farmers and traffickers, they involve a highly complex and flexible structure similar to that of any organised criminal activity. Corruption of those Afghan agencies charged with controlling opium production, particularly the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Counter-Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) has rendered them largely immune from domestic law enforcement or interdiction. Eradication, where applied, has done limited amounts of damage to these networks, which shift their enterprise to neighbouring areas and, later, return to those areas from which they had previously been removed. Individuals involved rarely have an ideological aim and are primarily driven by profit. Such networks, far from promoting the overthrow of State structures, prefer low-level violence which complicates interdiction efforts while allowing logistical networks to function.

4.3

Motivating the Insurgency

Perhaps no question is more difficult than parsing the motives of the insurgency. Its broad and evolving composition, particularly its increasing adoption of the Mujahidin identity, reflects even more rapidly changing and diversifying motives. International Motives – Many fighters are driven by the belief that their culture, country and faith are under attack. Afghans are regularly exposed to international events such as the war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay scandals and the religious conversion (to Christianity) of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, among others, has convinced an increasing number of Afghans that a global war has been launched against Islam and all Muslims. Still others, such as those who killed nine US soldiers in Kunar Province in July 2008 after a reported 36 civilians were killed by errant airstrikes nearby, are motivated by concern for their personal safety and the impression that the international military presence provides greater security risks than benefits. National Motives – Still others fight to defend their nation against what they perceive as a foreign occupation and a puppet government in Kabul. Such motives have been driven primarily by the loss of the State’s credibility due to its failure to provide anticipated levels of development assistance and public services and the corrupt nature of many government representatives, particularly the police, the judiciary and local (district and provincial) officials. In the words of the US Ambassador to Afghanistan: ‘There is deterioration in terms of personal security. People are more frightened. It's the problems with the police; it's corruption; it's weak local governance.’ 30 Societal/Individual Motives – Individual motives should also be closely watched, particularly as the mobilisation of insurgents is not commonly taking place ‘organically’ in response to specific incidents or the presence of international forces but upon weighing the risks and benefits posed by involvement in an illegal armed group. Some such fighters participate as a source of employment and income in a weak economic environment. While few insurgents are paid a salary, despite some reports to the contrary, participation in an armed group may give them access to resources and allows them to evade the shame associated with unemployment. In such instances, fighting is the only way to prove one’s manhood in the Afghan context. Still others are motivated by loyalty to commanders, particularly former Mujahidin, or by the perception that affiliation with an armed group is necessary to avoid future retribution from commanders or insurgent groups. The international, national and individual motives are closely inter-twined and not mutually exclusive. Many fighters are likely influenced by several in making the decision to participate in an armed group. Further explorations of these motives may be found in the Strategic Conflict Assessment final report.

30

David Ignatius (2008) ‘Two Fronts, Same Worries’, The Washington Post, 27 April, p. B07.

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4.4

Financing the Insurgency

Despite these separate motives, it should also be noted that fighting requires a source of support. Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, narcotics trafficking, charitable donations and the black market trade in luxury goods have emerged as some of the most significant sources of funding for insurgent groups. What should be understood, however, is that the insurgency has a highly diversified portfolio and minimal operating costs. Attempting to deny the insurgency or Taliban financial support is neither feasible nor an effective way in which to pursue security. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban – Al-Qaeda is reportedly a significant source of funding for the Taliban and almost the sole source of income for the IMU/T. Private contributors to al-Qaeda in the Gulf States have reportedly been requesting that their funds support operations within Afghanistan. The Taliban may, though reports differ, have itself become a source of financing for various insurgent groups, including the Haqqani Network and Hizb-e Islami. Narcotics – The international community’s assumption that poppy cultivation and trafficking supports the insurgency is considerably overstated. Poppies are not the insurgents’ blank cheque they are perceived to be. It must, however, be admitted that the informal ‘taxation’ of cultivation, transportation and, increasingly, processing31 may provide a limited amount of financial support for all armed groups throughout the country. However, it is important to recognise that total poppy eradication would be unlikely to significantly influence the insurgency. Rather, it would likely increase deprivation and strengthen insurgent recruitment.

Zakat – In addition, financial support for the insurgency also comes from Pakistan, where it is given
as unrecorded zakat, or charity. According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, only 4.2 billion Rupees (£32 million) are given as zakat through official channels. In contrast the madrassas are reported to receive 72 billion Rupees (£552 million) in zakat from unknown donors. It is suspected that the practices of Hawala and Hundi are used in transferring a portion of these funds to the Afghan and Pakistani insurgencies, making detection exceptionally difficult.32 The Black Market – Yet, one of the fastest growing sources of income is the black market trade in goods, primarily from China, into Pakistan and Afghanistan.33 The re-export of electronics, vehicles and other items – thus manipulating regional tariff regimens – is an expanding business which will grow as Gwadar, in Pakistan, will become the largest container port in the Arabian Sea in the coming decade. The estimated volume of goods being moved through Gwadar by container is expected to increase from 8 million tonnes at present to at least 20 million tonnes by 2020. In 2002, the UN estimated that only two per cent of containers worldwide were checked. 3435 To compensate the family of a suicide bomber, which reportedly receives US$300, requires only 40 or 50 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of a single camcorder on the black market. Despite these funding streams, it is important not to overplay their importance. The Afghan insurgency is a low-cost operation. Bomb-making materials, the main input of IEDs and suicide bombs, are readily available in Soviet-era unexploded ordnance and landmines. As such, it is unreasonable to assume that the cessation of funding, even if possible, would lead to the widespread collapse of the insurgency. Understanding conflict in Afghanistan, however, goes far beyond this analysis of actors, motives and financing. The insurgency is taking place within a highly dynamic context of state building,
31 The ability to process poppies within Afghanistan has recently expanded from an almost complete lack of processing facilities five years ago. At present, informants indicate that 2/3 of Afghan poppies are processed domestically. 32 33 34 35

Personal communication, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Islamabad, Pakistan, April 2008. Personal communication, MoI, Kabul, Afghanistan, April 2008. United Nations (2002) Container Traffic (New York: UN). Personal communication, personnel of a multi-national shipping company, April 2008.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

economic development and social change. It remains highly plausible that, as the Taliban proved, a strong state (even if such strength is widely resented and achieved through violence) can pre-empt and dissuade challenges. Similarly, an opportunity-laden economy can, to a certain degree, limit (if not ultimately stop) insurgent recruitment and integrate rather than fragment the country and the region. Yet, as the next two sections will show, constraints to state building and economic development have limited these potentially beneficial influences.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

5.

Governance and the State
The conflict results, in large part, from the failure to establish a State with governmental institutions which are strong or legitimate enough to contain violence and mandate a certain degree of compliance. The issue of governance in Afghanistan has been felt within all sectors, from conflict to the economy and social exclusion. As such, it is perhaps one of the most ever-present components in all outputs and, in particular, within the Political Economy Analysis and Growth Diagnostic. The overall finding is that the State has itself been the site and cause of conflict and contestation. The dual-legitimacy trap whereby it balances responsibility to its international stakeholders and its citizenry has undermined the degree to which it has been able to satisfy either. The government’s effective marginalisation in assistance delivery, despite a predominantly technocratic focus upon public administration rather than political cooperation, has further served to erode its legitimacy. Finally, corruption has not only challenged the government’s credibility but also undermined its bureaucratic effectiveness and contributed to minimising foreign direct investment (a topic further addressed in Section 6).

5.1

The Envisioned State and Underlying Assumptions

State formation in Afghanistan was driven by a core set of assumptions regarding the type of state which was required. These are examined in detail in the Political Economy Analysis final report. The primary assumption was a conviction that external support aimed at creating a neo-liberal Weberian state36 is best placed to strengthen centre-periphery relations and to create the conditions for enduring peace, stability and economic prosperity. It was, thus, concluded that the State – itself – should be capable of extending its legitimacy throughout the country, providing security, delivering basic services and raising revenue from productive activity. To this end, the majority of the international community’s focus has been on strengthening the capability of the central government to perform its functions more effectively. Other assumptions ensue, or have been implied, from this basic starting point. For example, efforts have been made to develop a modern democratic constitutional state leading to the creation of fully-functioning governmental institutions. However, in the light of continued insurgency, increasing corruption and a highly limited ability to raise enough funds to support even the government’s basic operations, there is a need to review these assumptions and determine whether they still apply, whether they need to be changed or whether new evidenced-based assumptions are needed to guide the next generation of international engagement.

5.2

Setting the Stage: The Bonn Agreement

In addition to its conceptual weaknesses, the Afghan State was also built upon a fragile foundation and without the buy-in of key stakeholders such as the Taliban. The Bonn Agreement was not a peace agreement, and the absence of important political groups around the negotiating table led to the establishment of an administration incapable of forging a secure environment. This ‘elite pact’, as it is described in the Political Economy Analysis, demonstrated one of the common historical trends whereby incomplete coalitions ultimately undermine even the best attempts at state building, thus precipitating a return to violence. The decision to pursue an ‘elite pact’ was further complicated through the Bonn Agreement’s and US-led international community’s subsequent promotion of an ethnic (Panjshiri Tajik) elite. Following the march of the Northern Alliance (particularly Shura-I Nazar) into Kabul at the
36

The concept of a Weberian State stems from Max Weber’s influential definition, in that an organisation that successfully claims the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Such monopoly traditionally is mobilised through the armed forces, civil service or state bureaucracy, courts and the police. In all sense Afghanistan is recognised as a juridical state by the international community, but failures in political settlement most notably with the Taliban continue to contest (both politically and territorially) such legitimacy.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

end of 2001, northern forces took control over the Ministries of Planning, Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs, leaving finance to an ethnic Pashtun. Furthermore, commanders and so-called ‘warlords’ clung to power in the provinces. Of the country’s 32 post-Bonn provincial governors, 20 were militia commanders or ‘strongmen’ (Giustozzi, 2004). The foundational failure of the Bonn Agreement’s ‘elite pact’ is resoundingly made within both the Political Economy Analysis and the Strategic Conflict Assessment and should be viewed as perhaps the most notable factor undermining the State. Without a ‘grand bargain’ involving the Taliban and other contemporary insurgent groups, the State will fail to mobilise adequate legitimacy and security to proceed with a relatively unchallenged process of institution building. Furthermore, despite the temptation to equate the formation and development of administrative entities and capacities with state building, the two should be understood as fundamentally different, and the emphasis on the former should not lead one to believe that the latter has been successfully achieved. A state is far more than its administrative parts.

5.3

Territorial Control

One of the most widely reported results of the troubled ‘elite pact’ – the Bonn Agreement – has been the government’s limited territorial control. With the Taliban already controlling up to 11 per cent of the country and 58 per cent now deemed under the control of local elites, the Afghan government currently only has de facto control (albeit weak) of a little under 31 per cent of the country. Other claims have indicated that the Taliban or its affiliates control up to 54 per cent of the country, leaving little beyond certain major cities to the government. This trend is unlikely to improve with the number of violent attacks in eastern, western and northern Afghanistan increasing rapidly. The future, thus, could involve the historically common transformation of Afghanistan into an ‘enclave state’ with only islands of government control between large swaths of ungovernable territory.

5.4
5.4.1

Revenue Control and Mobilisation
Control of Revenues

The Afghan government has been marginalised in the provision of assistance and has controlled only a fraction of its own core operating budget. The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), originally designed to act as a de facto treasury for the government, has remained predominantly under the control of its ‘donors’ meeting’.37 Due to many – though certainly not all – donors’ preference for direct execution through implementing partners, the Afghan government has only had control over approximately one per cent of all project-based international assistance according to an evaluation conducted in 2005 by the Norwegian firm Scanteam. The actual amount of money controlled by the government is likely greater, though it remains difficult to differentiate between real government-controlled funds and those which are formally included on-budget but which evade the genuine control and oversight of governmental institutions such as the National Assembly.

5.4.2

Revenue Mobilisation38

One of the most notable failures of the Afghan State has been the inability to mobilise sufficient
The ARTF is a major funding channel for support for the GIRA rehabilitation and development efforts. The largest contributions to the fund has been made by 1) the United Kingdom (24.6 per cent), Canada (17.6 per cent), the EC/EU (12.9 per cent), United States (12.1 per cent), Netherlands (10.3 per cent), Norway (5.3 per cent) and Germany (4.9 per cent) of 28 donors who totally paid in US$2.34 billion by spring 2008.

37

38

The mobilisation of revenue by the Afghan government is discussed in each ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ final report. For a particular comprehensive discussion, see Section 6.4 of the Political Economy Analysis final report and Section 5.2.2.2 of the Growth Diagnostic Scoping Study final report (‘Fiscal Sustainability’ sub-heading).

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

revenues to cover even basic operating costs. By the end of 2008 it is anticipated that the Afghan government’s revenue-to-GDP ratio will have returned to where it was in the 1940s, at around 7.5 per cent of GDP, allowing the Government to cover some 69 per cent of its projected (and very minimal) operating expenditures. This inadequate level of resource mobilisation results, in part, from the over reliance upon external funding which weakened the imperative to maximise domestic revenues. The current fiscal crisis is compounded by a massive expansion in expenditures in the security sector. This fact has pushed Afghanistan beyond any reasonable hope of fiscal independence, perhaps requiring substantial levels of external support over the next 20 to 30 years or more (thus re-creating one of the primary impediments to effective, domestic state building). On the current trajectory, potential gains from improved tax administration and broadening the revenue base will likely be offset by increased costs in security provision. Several ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ team members felt that this failure is perhaps as strong a challenge to State sovereignty and legitimacy as the mounting insurgency. Without sufficient domestic revenues, the Afghan government will continue to be heavily controlled by its international supporters, will be unable to use government-controlled finances as a tool of extending national solidarity and will allow better financed non-State entities to increase their influence upon the country’s periphery (and, increasingly, its centre). By contrast, the Taliban regime was able to extract sufficient revenues to cover its non-military expenses (which were financed by governmental and private contributions from Pakistan and the Middle East). The Taliban taxed production at 10 per cent as well as opium and others sources of illicit production at 10 to 20 per cent. By contrast, the current Afghan government lacks the administrative infrastructure to collect taxes and has lacked the coercive means to extract revenue except on a highly selective and often politicised basis (discussed further in Section 6). The informal economy, which the Growth Diagnostic showed as a massive source of revenue if formalised, has been beyond the regulation of governmental institutions.

5.5

Corruption, Predation and Taxation

The State’s lack of geographical and financial control has been further complicated by an endemic and, seemingly, growing level of corruption within the public administration. A recent survey of corruption in Afghanistan has suggested that informal networks operate in a highly coordinated manner and lead to preferential treatment by customs and other government officials (Gardizi, 2007). The 2005 World Bank Investment Climate Assessment has ranked corruption as the third largest barrier to business in the country.39 While initially seen as a traditional form of network building and as, essentially, a facilitator of institutional operations, corruption has become largely an end within itself. ‘Traditional’ corruption based on patronage networks and tribal linkages as well as new forms of corruption are increasingly being ‘institutionalized’ as bribe-extracting mafias connected by corruption networks known as Band-Bazi (Gardizi, 2007). According to Rubin (2000), Afghans have commonly seen control of a centralised state as ‘war booty belonging to the victor’, a belief which appears to remain embedded in much of the politics of the region. Moreover, the failure of the current Government – in spite of the adoption of international governance, accountability and transparency systems (PFM, Audit, etc.) – to stamp out corruption undermines its very legitimacy and leads to poor perceptions of the public sector. Corruption has, thus, become one of the few manners in which the State interacts with its citizens, thus conveying the widely adopted perception that the government is more a source of predation than protection. This problem was described within all outputs as most

39

The first two barriers were electricity and access to land.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

notable within the law and justice sector with the judiciary and ANP having been almost entirely discredited in the eyes of ordinary Afghans. It may be important to highlight that corruption, while a common feature of Afghan state institutions throughout history, was effectively addressed by the Taliban. Most notably, they continuously moved senior civil servants from institution to institution, thus cutting corruption links in the process. Furthermore, though less applicable to the current context, the application of brutal punishments after public trials provided an effective and brutal reminder of the penalties of corruption.

5.6

(De) Mobilising Legitimacy

The aforementioned factors – little territorial or financial control, weak resource mobilisation and rampant corruption – have severely undermined the legitimacy of the Afghan State. This fact was broadly agreed upon and formed the basis of much of the Strategic Conflict Assessment and, in particular, of the Political Economy Analysis. While various ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ team members held slightly differing perceptions of the meaning of legitimacy, it was broadly seen as the ability to provide security, deliver basic services and gain revenue in a legal and transparent manner. The loss of legitimacy, it should be noted, also results from the Afghan government’s inability to meet unreasonably high expectations set by the international community. The secular Afghan State, despite its limited Islamic features, also failed to claim authority or legitimacy on religious or ideological grounds. Though recommendations for re-gaining a portion of its lost legitimacy are made in Section 8 of this report, any modification of the dismal state building status quo will be challenging given the activation of a ‘cycle of illegitimacy’. While this concept was not specifically highlighted in any of the individual output reports, the disparate findings, when combined, portray a cyclical process. The ‘cycle of illegitimacy’ in Afghanistan begins with the current high level of financial and security reliance upon the international community. Given this external assistance, mobilising domestic revenues will continue to be de-prioritised by the Afghan government, and a high level of dependency will remain. The government’s resulting lack of revenue will maintain low salaries for public employees and lead them to continue relying heavily upon illicit rent-seeking behaviour. The resulting corruption, which those in the government have little interest in addressing for fear of revealing their likely complicity, will severely detract from private sector development and foreign direct investment. Resource mobilisation and, hence, legitimacy will continue to be limited by the resultant slow-down of commerce, and the international community, convinced that a corruptionriddled State cannot be trusted, will continue to establish parallel institutions for delivering assistance. As a result, the marginalisation of the government in service-delivery will further detract from its legitimacy. The government’s final opportunity for becoming seen as more legitimate, a stronger role for Islam and Ulema in the government or some degree of acceptance for the Taliban as a political entity, remain blocked by secular international donors who control Afghanistan’s purse strings and prefer only a Muslim façade. Breaking this cycle, as will be further discussed, will require the joint reduction of corruption and mobilisation of additional State revenues or a willingness to seek stability through political engagement with the insurgency at the risk of substantial financial loss from (certain) disapproving international donors. The final possibility, and the one recommended within this report, is for the international community to accept a formal role for the Taliban within Afghanistan (through a ‘grand bargain’). Currently, the greatest victim of this legitimacy trap may be President Karzai. Having inherited a political system hostile to the Taliban and beholden to the Northern Alliance, he was guaranteed opposition from the Taliban and their Pashtun supporters while knowing that any

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

attempts to seek support from the South would result in cries of betrayal from the North. President Karzai has clearly struggled to find a middle ground that balances concerns over domestic and international legitimacy at the same time. Given the degree to which his credibility has been eroded internally and externally, he may ultimately be unable to mobilise support from the Taliban and former Mujahidin factions while keeping the international community in tow. In the absence of a political party of his own, against which he could rally support, he has been exposed to heavy criticism at home (including from within the National Assembly) as well as abroad. Indeed, it frequently seems as if President Karzai, while certainly an imperfect leader, has unfairly received the brunt of criticism for a situation so much out of his control and in the hands of the international community, the Taliban and the Northern Alliance commanders-turned-politicians. International actors such as DFID and HMG should fully understand that the security and governance challenges being faced by Afghanistan are not entirely of his doing and that his replacement in the 2009 elections will not guarantee a sudden turn-around. Further steps, outlined in Section 8, must be taken.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

6.

Economic Development
The economy, it must be noted, is heavily reliant upon governance. Any state which lacks control and capacity will be likely to witness the breakdown of economic order and the growth of only those sectors that thrive on conflict and instability. Once such enterprises have been developed, worse still, they exercise their growing influence to ensure that the conditions which have allowed their emergence are able to persist long into the future. The question of economic development is addressed primarily within the Growth Diagnostic and its separate Policy Discussion Paper, though related issues appear throughout each of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ outputs. The core question concerns the constraints on growth and development, an issue to which the Growth Diagnostic applies standard economic tools as well as the lens of political economy.

6.1

Economics and Conflict in Afghanistan

The relationship between economic development and conflict is an undercurrent throughout ‘Understanding Afghanistan’. The Political Economy Analysis points to the large number of poor, uneducated ‘angry young men’ whose participation in armed anti-government or criminal groups is likely. The Strategic Conflict Assessment goes on to highlight the social experience of poverty within Afghan culture as contributing to conflict far more than basic deprivation. Furthermore, the Strategic Conflict Assessment as well as the Growth Diagnostic (particularly its Policy Discussion Paper) emphasises the far-reaching and negative economic effects of poppy eradication and the presumed, though relatively un-studied, likelihood that it could (and does) contribute to Taliban and insurgent recruitment. When combined, the outputs of ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ point to the dire security challenge created by a substantial and unemployed youth population. This ‘youth bulge’ is frequently devoid of economic opportunities and engages in insurgent and criminal violence as an alternative means to pursue both economic gain and enhanced social standing. With more than half of the population below the age of 19 and up to 40 per cent rates of employments, the prospect of this ‘bulge’ turning into a new generation of insurgents and poppy traffickers is exceptionally likely unless appropriate steps are taken. The potential of short-term, marketdriven economic growth to win the support of this group is rendered decreasingly likely by a hostile business and security environment and by potential future reductions in external assistance. Economics and security are closely related, and the former must be prioritised if the latter is to take root. The remainder of this section suggests strategies for doing so.

6.2

The Economic Context

The Afghan economy has seen double-digit growth rates since the international intervention began in 2001. Since 2002, per capita GDP has doubled. Official exports have grown more than 300 per cent over the last five years. Currently, however, the post-conflict ‘catch up effect’ – whereby low levels of recorded economic activity during conflict are followed by proportionally massive increases – is dwindling, and future growth is expected to require more reform and input as well as security and stabilisation. Investment has fallen since 2005, and real GDP is anticipated to decline from 13.5 per cent in 2007/08 to 7 per cent as a result of reduced aid inflows (as a percentage of GDP). In 2006, services were the main sector of the economy, at 38 per cent of GDP, followed by agriculture at 32 per cent and industry at 27 per cent. Since 2005, industry, boosted by donorfunded construction and entrepreneurial manufacturing, has been the most dynamic sector. Growth in services is driven by aid injection into telecommunications, aviation, hospitality (restaurants and hotels) and other sub-sectors in which there is a high demand from the international community. That said, a fall-off in the consumption rates among international actors in Afghanistan and in reconstruction and development assistance may re-structure the economy and

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

weaken economic growth. The Growth Diagnostic shows that economic growth is only partly based on sustainable, national developments and should be considered highly fragile. Figure 5. Afghan Imports and Exports, 1962-2006
1400 1200 1000

Real US$ Million

800 600 400 200 0

1962

1964

1966

1968

1970

1972

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

Imports

Exports

Source: United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE) 2008

Investment, Foreign and Domestic – Investment peaked in 2006/07 driven by donor-funded government investment, though private investment declined in the same period, with 2005 marking the turning point. The Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) reported a decline in the number of new businesses registrations during the same period. In 2005 the number of companies registered with AISA declined for both domestic and foreign enterprises, and in 2007 the number of foreign companies declined almost 50 per cent within one year. Similarly, the IMF (2008) reports foreign direct investment (FDI) peaked at 4.2 per cent of GDP in 2005, was reduced to 3.4 per cent in 2006/07 and is projected at 3.3 per cent or less through, at least, 2009. Based on AISA registrations, only services and construction seem to be attracting additional investment, especially from Afghan business owners themselves. It remains uncertain and relatively doubtful that foreign, non-governmental investment will increase in the short to midterm. Agriculture – Agriculture, despite accounting for almost one-half of Afghanistan’s exports in 2006, has not been particularly successful. The sector posted negative net growth since 2003, though this decline is partly due to external factors such as drought and the replacement of licit crops with poppies. The most recent period of drought, in 2006 and 2007, caused a 20 per cent drop in the sector. However, with 3.3 million Afghans involved in opium cultivation and a large portion of the economy directly or indirectly reliant upon narcotics trafficking (and the capital it injects into the economy), decline in this sector poses a major economy-wide risk. Sources of credit, many of which are based on narcotics-derived income, will dry up. Once the influence of poppy cultivation is isolated from within official agriculture figures, this sector is dramatically reduced to 19 per cent of official GDP. This sector, given its dependence upon transportation, has been one of the most susceptible to increased criminal and insurgent activity. Roadside crime and extortion has made a great deal of

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

improved road and border port infrastructure difficult to access by would-be agricultural exporters. As the Growth Diagnostic indicates, ‘the government’s inability to extend the rule of law along key export routes will leave exporters of agricultural outputs at the mercy of informal taxation’ (Ulloa, 2008:66). Informal taxes and extortion, that alongside the growing costs of fuel, are making the transport of goods to domestic and regional markets financially unviable, especially for the smaller agricultural producers. The Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA) estimates that a truck of melons on the way to market from Mazar-e-Sharif may be stopped up to 20 times inside Afghanistan and illegally taxed. Figure 6. Afghanistan’s Informal Economy, by Sector

Source: World Bank (2004) Note: per cent figures refer to share of sector in total GDP, shadings to very rough estimates of the percentage of the informal economy in the sector.

Informal Economy – The informal economy, which is unrecorded rather than necessarily illegal (though much of it is), includes barter trade, manufacturing, commerce and other non-recorded services, as well as smuggling and re-exports. Afghanistan’s informal economy, including poppy cultivation and narcotics trafficking, has been estimated at around US$7 billion annually, or between 80 to 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s recorded GDP. The main components in the informal economy are: opium production and processing activities (35 per cent of official GDP), subsistence agriculture and livestock (30 per cent) and the illegal trade in goods other than opium (8 per cent). The bulk of the labour force is employed by the informal economy, and the large majority of Afghanistan’s population is dependent upon it. Institutional Multiplicity – While all post-conflict environments involve numerous overlapping and competing institutions, this situation has been particularly pronounced within Afghanistan. The Growth Diagnostic Policy Discussion Paper provides a full accounting of such institutions, but the following are deemed to officially and unofficially share responsibility: (i) government entities such as the Central Bank, the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Finance, Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; (ii) legal institutions and policies such as the Ministry of Justice, the 2003 Private Investment Law, the 2006 Labour Code; and numerous pending laws (the Secure Transaction Laws of Moveable and Immovable Property and the Negotiable Instruments Law among them); (iii) business membership organisations such as the

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC) and at least a half dozen others; and (iv) informal institutions reflective of the combat, shadow and coping economies (see Policy Discussion Paper). These institutions have, in the context of weak governance, little rule of law and over-centralisation, begun to engage in informal collaboration and coordination which will require transformation (rather than dissolution) once an improved policy environment is meaningfully pursued by the Afghan government (at all levels) and its international partners. Policy Environment – The Growth Diagnostic and its Policy Discussion Paper highlight the unpredictability of economic policy in Afghanistan as a factor contributing to the difficult investment environment. Despite the ANDS establishing itself as the centrepiece of Afghanistan’s private-sector-led future, there is startlingly little detail given regarding the strategies that will deliver this aim in the medium- and short-term in this and in other policy documents of the Afghan government. Thus although the ANDS confirms that ‘a growth strategy is the backbone of ANDS’ (ANDS, 2008: 40), benchmarks related to private sector development lack sufficient detail. This reflects not only the de facto peripheral treatment of private sector development but also a range of different opinions within government (at the national and sub-national levels) and the international community over the appropriate direction of economic policy in Afghanistan. Donors have spent time and resources, though not at sufficient levels, drafting and implementing policies and programmes which are, in the end, stalled or ignored by Afghan actors who consider them inappropriate. These differences in opinion, including significant divergence from the free-market models favoured by donors and IFIs are often treated as ‘embarrassing’ by donors and have not been addressed in a public forum. A number of conferences dealing with private sector development have skirted around these issues, and often fallen into the re-conceptualising of the same shopping lists of desirable outcomes for the private sector. While such lists are apt, the widely agreed upon prioritisation of interventions, as was pursued within the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ Growth Diagnostic, must be achieved.

6.3

Constraints to and Opportunities for Growth

In addition to the informal economy and the lack of a coherent PSD policy, the economic situation within Afghanistan has, thus far, been inhibited by two core features: (i) the type of corruption previously highlighted in Section 5 and (ii) the lack of infrastructure.40 First, however, it is important to note that the following two constraints – economic rule of law and infrastructure – were identified only following a review of several additional factors which, while often viewed as constraints, were not seen as the most immediately pressing and significant. These include: high costs of finance, low returns on investment, human capital/resources, global market integration and macro-economic instability. Such potential but ‘discarded’ constraints are addressed later on, and their remaining relevance is emphasised.

6.3.1

Economic Rule of Law

Where government regulation is really needed, such as in extending the rule of law, setting and enforcing predictable ‘rules of the game’ and in ensuring the standards of goods on the market, ‘there is no capacity to enforce rules and regulations, even where they exist’; instead ‘government regulation of markets is bureaucratic, confused, contains many inappropriate and overlapping functions shared by different ministries and hence is often used as a means of rent-seeking by officials’ (Paterson, 2006: 2). The Growth Diagnostic identifies three governance-related issues that reduce the ability of

40 These specific constraints were arrived at following an economic methodology which was not able to directly consider the influence of conflict and insecurity. As such, they are joined (in Section 6.4) with an analysis of several additional factors related to the political economy of state building and conflict.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

entrepreneurs to receive the full economic benefits of their enterprises and investments. These are taxation, corruption and property rights, what this section terms ‘economic rule of law’. In particular, the 2004 tax reform and the subsequent selectively-aggressive behaviour of the Large Taxpayers’ Office (LTO) as an economic ‘shock’ which has, to a significant extent, caused a reduction and stagnation in foreign and domestic private investment since 2005. At the same time, a perceptible increase in corruption has been reported by several agencies such as Transparency International, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the World Bank and others. Even if the recent efforts to isolate large taxpayers from previous corrupt and inefficient tax collection agencies indicate a move in the right direction, an inherently weak institutional setting, such as currently exists within the Afghan government, cannot prevent ‘informal’ taxes and corruption. Administrative fees, permits and licenses at the national and sub-national levels of governance have increased, the majority of them unsanctioned, misapplied or illegal. The MoI and the judiciary are perceived as the most corrupt entities in the Afghan Government (Gardizi, 2007). Corruption and inefficiency also limit contract enforceability and property rights in Afghanistan, with negative impact all across the economy, and very negative effects on the financial market and long-term investment prospects. In addition, security issues linked to the conflict (i.e., suicide bombings and armed conflict) as well as criminal activity (i.e., the opium economy, abductions, robbery) have also, as previously noted, worsened since 2005. Figure 7. Hausmann, Rodrik and Velasco Growth Diagnostic Framework41

41 This diagram was created within the process of the Growth Diagnostic, and readers are advised to see output 3.4.1 for a comprehensive interpretation. Key terms, however, deserve explanation. ‘Low appropriability’ refers to an investor’s limited ability to receive the market-derived profits of one’s investment or enterprise. For instance, corruption would result in low appropriability given that profits would be appropriated by rent-seeking officials rather than by the people responsible for generating them. ‘Poor intermediation’ refers to a low level of reasonable trust between creditors and loan recipients which results in difficulty accessing credit without burdensome requests for high levels of collateral or the payment of excessive processing fees. Finally ‘information externalities’ or ‘self-discovery’ simply refers to a country’s inability to find its niche within the world economy, often due to the constraining influence of negative information concerning that country. Information externalities are the perceptual elements restraining basic market forces which link demand with logical suppliers.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

6.3.2

Crime and Insecurity

Government weakness in providing security, the increased frequency of attacks by insurgents, and lack of faith in the police and judiciary are leading to a failure to address the specific threats to business stemming from organised crime and insurgency related insecurity. According to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Afghan National Police (ANP), some 130 cases of abduction were reported from March to September 2008, of which 100 people were still in the hands of the hostage takers and five had been killed. Of the total kidnappings during this time, only 13 involved foreigners, and the overwhelming majority of such incidents were political and, significantly, financial in motivation (Shalizi, 2008). This threat which is specifically targeted against businessmen seen as wealthy and able to pay, comes over and above the general insurgency-related deterioration of security in Afghanistan. The private sector is incurring added expenses in securing private protection and security, which may be prohibitive for some players. There is a need to better understand the impact of security and crime upon business, since the upward trend in these problems in 2005/06. The World Bank Investment Climate Survey of 2005 found that managers did not rank crime and security as a major constraint to investment and attributed this to improved security in major cities and the mechanisms, albeit high cost ones (up to 15 percent of sales spent on security infrastructure, according to the report) adopted by businesses (World Bank 2005). However, this survey was too early to capture the new levels of insecurity and criminality experienced since 2005 and we may speculate that security would feature more prominently were the survey to be conducted today.

6.3.3

Infrastructure

Infrastructure is the most critical issue for Afghanistan’s competitiveness and long-term development. With the appropriate investments in transit and storage infrastructure, in particular, the country’s geographic characteristics could shift from a liability to an asset. Afghan would, as previously discussed, reclaim its role as a trade route and would be able to better exploit domestic natural resources. Electricity supply remains a particularly poignant constraint. Afghanistan is still a long way from realising additional and reliable supply. Even if most of the infrastructure is in place, the power purchasing agreements (PPA) with Uzbekistan are still being negotiated and rising fuel costs may cast doubt over the viability of the diesel power plant. Most importantly, however, the unreliability and cost of electricity provision (whether through the use of Industrial Parks or diesel generation) is a source of great disadvantage to Afghanistan’s competitiveness. The ICA survey reports that firms lose on average about 18 percent of their merchandise value due to power disruptions, and this number can reach 30 percent in provinces more dependent on the national grid such as Kandahar. Power generation is heavily dependent on imported fuel and the diesel market in Afghanistan is characterized by abuse of market power and barriers to new entrants, corrupt allocation of import licenses, and unregulated imports of poor-quality fuel (Paterson, 2005). From a long-term (or possibly mid-term) perspective, those areas of the economy with the greatest potential for future growth and value-adding will require a substantial improvement in infrastructure. These include, for instance, agricultural business as well as mining and some industrial production.

6.3.3

Opportunities for Growth

Perhaps the greatest opportunities for sustained economic growth in Afghanistan come through stronger integration into the world economy. Agriculture, particularly added-value agriculture, poses the single greatest opportunity though one which will require, at least, the following: (i) improved transport infrastructure, (ii) support to value chains in the form of warehouses, coolstorage and processing and packaging facilities, (iii) government-backed, internationally recognised

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

systems of quality certification, (iv) access to nearby ports in Pakistan and (v) improved security. Furthermore, basic gains in agricultural techniques, input quality and mechanisation will be integral in increasing the annual volume of agricultural produce. Such systems, once in place, could also prove useful in sectors such as mining. While natural resources pose economic opportunities for Afghanistan, their too-early exploitation could, in a context of corruption and conflict, lend financial support for violence, as is already happening on a limited scale. This sector should be safeguarded in the short-term in order to avoid detracting from its long-term contribution to the economy.

6.4

Contextualising the Growth Diagnostic

It is important to note that when constraints are ‘discarded’ within the Growth Diagnostic, they remain important areas for policy and programming. This is especially the case in the Afghan context where policies aimed at promoting growth and investment are often bound up with the other key priorities of the government and its international supporters such as job creation and poverty reduction, two components not inherent to growth or investment per se but for which growth and investment is a prerequisite. In the area of economic and social development, where linkages are viewed by government as fundamental to quality growth and poverty reduction, the overarching goal is to ‘reduce poverty, ensure sustainable development through a private-sector-led market economy, improve human development indicators, and make significant progress towards the MDGs’ (GIRA, ANDS, p. i).42 Thus, although the Growth Diagnostic indicates that high level constraints to growth relate primarily to micro-economic constraints generated by government behaviour and intervention, the ANDS, as a strategy for poverty reduction, stresses that the interconnection of aims such as achieving high levels of quality growth cannot be met in the absence of security, good governance, enhanced rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as major gains in the spheres of social development (education, health, basic and essential services etc.). The two documents remain highly complementary, with the Growth Diagnostic helping to reveal those initial concerns which must critically address while the ANDS puts these into a larger framework with a longer-term perspective.

42 In acknowledging that integrated approach is required to economic development to meet these goals and objectives, sector investment programmes have been developed with regard to: (i) private sector development; (ii) energy; (iii) water and irrigation; (iv) agricultural and rural development; (v) transport; (vi) information and communications technology; (vii) urban development; (viii) mining; (ix) health and nutrition; (x) education; (xi) culture, youth and media; and, (xii) social protection policies. Indicators and baselines for these programmes are provided in Annex II of the ANDS, and are therefore not repeated here.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

7.

Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion
The processes of economic development and state building in Afghanistan, as elsewhere, have been accompanied by enduring spatial, social, political, economic and cultural cleavages in society. Policies of resettlement, expropriation and redistribution have shaped forms of disadvantage based on ethnicity and location. The gulf between an urban literate elite and a rural periphery has been persistent. The legacy of prolonged conflict in Afghanistan has resulted in new categories of powerful players (such as commanders and warlords) and has increased the risk of elite capture of the State. Conflict also predisposes the country to particular types of social disadvantages. This section focuses upon poverty, gender and various other forms of social exclusion.

7.1

Poverty, Gender, Social Exclusion and Conflict

The role of social exclusion (including poverty and gender) within Afghanistan has, in part, been marginalised given its lack of apparent relation to conflict. While social exclusion is a form of structural violence and one closely associated with physical abuse and neglect, the position of women or the disabled, for instance, is commonly perceived to bear no overt relation to broader goals of defeating the Taliban-led insurgency. Indeed, an opposing position is that attention to gender may be viewed as a challenge to Afghan culture and a contributing factor to the insurgency. Such arguments have been demonstrated in the use of women’s honour – its protection by Afghans and violation by the ‘enemy’ – as a rallying point among the Mujahidin and the Taliban. Yet, it remains critical that poverty reduction, women’s empowerment and social inclusion be designed in manners which support the overriding goal of stabilisation if they are to be provided adequate levels of attention and resources.

7.2

Poverty

An examination of poverty headcount data shows that a significant proportion of the population lives below the poverty line. The incidence of poverty is highly sensitive to small consumption shifts43 as well as having marked seasonal dimensions. Headcounts: The Spring 2007 survey estimates that 42 per cent of the population (approximately 12 million people) live below the poverty line and do not meet their minimum daily food and non-food requirements. This represents an increase over the 2005 estimate of 33 per cent44. Poverty headcounts are likely to be higher now (September 2008) given the hard 2007-08 winter and dry spring leading to crop failure in many parts of the country. Rural poverty is considerably worse than urban poverty (36 per cent as compared to 21 per cent for 2005, 45 per cent as compared to 27 per cent for 2007). While urban poverty rose during this period, rural poverty rose at a faster rate. There are high levels of vulnerability to consumption poverty among an estimated 20 per cent of the population who are not poor, but whose consumption level is just above the national poverty line. Using NRVA 2005 data, it is estimated that only a five per cent reduction in consumption could cause the national poverty headcount rate to rise from 33 per cent to 38 per cent. Seasonality: The seasonal variation in poverty is reflects the impact of winter on other aspects of people’s lives (reduced access/productivity and higher expenditures on fuel, transport, medical costs, etc.). Vulnerability to cold season shocks is more apparent among rural and Kuchi communities. Levels of Consumption Inequality: While inequalities are significant, the NRVA data suggests

43 The absence of appropriate panel data prevented this study from being able to provide statistical analysis on the causes of vulnerability. 44

In noting this increase, account has to be taken of differences in timing and method of the two surveys .

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

that consumption inequality per capita is relatively low compared to other countries in the region. 45 That said, low consumption inequalities exacerbated by limited access to luxury items and widespread poverty are not uncommon in post-conflict countries. Food Insecurity: Up until 2006-07 food security estimates have remained remarkably stable, with 21 to 27 per cent of Afghan households being unable to acquire sufficient calories to fulfil basic nutritional requirements.46 Surveys confirm that there was little acute malnutrition but there were high levels (45-59 per cent) of chronic malnutrition (stunting) and micro-nutrient deficiencies. Furthermore, the shard decline in rural wage labour rates combined with a rapid rise in food prices is likely to have substantially increased the number of food insecure and there are recent estimates of 45 per cent of Afghan households experiencing food insecurity.

7.2.1

Poverty and Access to Public Goods and Services

The poor receive little in the way of public goods and services, though this fact derives from their overall lack than to any deep-seated question of access by the poor versus the non-poor. Comparative analysis of the access profile for basic services highlights the extent to which the lack of access to health care, potable water, electricity, sanitary toilets and community health workers is the norm for the majority of non-poor and poor alike. While net primary school enrolment for the poorest quintile is as low as 17 per cent, even for the richest quintile this figure rises to only 33.4 per cent, indicating that there are both availability and access issues. There is growing evidence that access to public goods is increasing in urban areas. This is due in part to the stark contrasts between better off areas and growing slums (often due to returning refugees and rural–urban migration) and partly relates to the extent to which better off urban households in some cities and towns are able to pay for basic services such as water, education and health.

7.2.2

Characteristics and Location of the Poor

There is no simple way to characterise who the poor, and caution is required when interpreting data relating to poverty. In NRVA 2005, for example, having a female head of household was not found to be a strong predictor of being poor. However, qualitative research on chronically poor women does suggest a correlation, particularly in rural areas, where widows are living without support from other members of the family. NRVA data supports the general view that poverty rates are considerably higher in the mountains than in the plains, reflecting less productive natural resources, marginality and remoteness with increasing altitude. It is estimated that 47 per cent of the population live in hilly terrain, with 28.6 per cent living above an altitude of 2000 metres. At such, altitudes poverty rates jump significantly above the national average. This is confirmed by poverty headcount rates at the provincial level which vary from 10-20 per cent in the central plain to 77 per cent in Daikundi. The highest rates of poverty are found in Badakhshan and the central highlands.

45 Data on consumption inequality highlights that the bottom 10 per cent of the population accounts for only 4 per cent of total consumption, while the bottom 30 per cent accounts for 15.6 per cent share of total consumption. By contrast the top 10 per cent has a 21.1 per cent share of total consumption. 46

See Pinney and Ronchini (2007).

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

Figure 8. Poverty, Level and Extent, by Province

Source: Generated from NRVA 2005

The disaggregation by province of indicators relating to health status, education etc. also highlights the fact that different indicators tell different stories thus drawing attention to the multiple dimensions of poverty and the dangers of focusing on single measures of it. For instance while Badakhshan and Daikundi provinces have high poverty headcount rates (60.1 per cent and 77 per cent respectively as compared to rural average of 35 per cent) and are thus consumption poor, female school enrolment figures tell a different story with values (26 per cent and 20.6 per cent respectively) above or equal to the rural average of 20 per cent. For Daikundi province, the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel is 61.5 per cent is substantially better than rural average of 9.4 per cent. There is not necessarily a correlation between different poverty and human development indicators.

7.2.3

Efficacy of Recent Interventions

Since the 1990s and particularly since 2001 there have been major investments in Afghanistan to address humanitarian and development needs. These have had varied impacts upon poverty and its various indicators, particularly in relation to health and education. Health – Five years ago, in the immediate post-conflict period, Afghanistan’s health services were in a deplorable state. Availability and quality of health services was highly variable across provinces and between urban and rural areas. In early 2002, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the major donors developed a Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) which was contracted to NGOs by MoPH. Independent evaluations show that the MoPH has made considerable progress in making the BPHS accessible to most Afghans. Data from World Bank supported BPHS in 13 provinces (USAID and European Commission funding cover much of the rest) point to a significant improvement in Health Service provision and outcomes but also draw attention to the very low baseline from which health outcomes and service provision are starting. There is still need for longterm investment in the government’s ability to deliver and regulate universal health service delivery. Gender discrimination in access to services is one area necessitating additional attention. Education – A ‘Back to School’ campaign beginning in 2002 resulted in a striking total of more than 4.3 million children enrolled in grades 1–12 and 6 million children are now in school, 35 per cent being girls. However just less than 50 per cent of the school age population remain out of school with significant gender and provincial disparities. To date, a range of supply-side issues such as school buildings, teachers (only 22 per cent of teachers meet the minimum

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

qualifications of Grade 14, and only 28 per cent are female47), and curricula are receiving attention, but demand-related factors have not been systematically examined. For instance, parents may desire education for both sons and daughters but are constrained by poverty. Research (Mansory, 2007) confirms that there is more pressure on children from poor and illiterate families to drop out, thus indicating that gaps in formal educational attainment between poor and rich may widen.

7.2.4

Key Findings

The evidence on the nature and dynamics of poverty in Afghanistan point to a complex and not necessarily consistent set of dynamics at play. The overall picture is of rising poverty levels and greater food insecurity. There has been investment in public goods which has had demonstrable effects, although there is much to be done. The following threats and trends are discernable for the future. x x The need to seek welfare through informal means will persist due to rising and continuing physical insecurity. The reliance upon grain purchases rather than production will contribute to rising levels of consumption poverty levels and food security, at least in the short-term (and likely in the midto-long term). The overall rise in commodity prices may support agriculture-led growth but the tensions between that and meeting domestic grain needs are going to increase. If anything, the divide between the relatively well endowed areas in terms of agro-ecology and with good market access and the more marginal, often mountainous hinterlands is likely to increase, causing poverty inequalities to rise. The nature of and dynamics of poverty are likely to continue to change. Structural poverty may be reduced but is likely to be geographically and socially differentiated unless systematic attention is paid to address this. The basis of such differentiation is likely to be based on inter alia, social identity, location and altitude, access to public goods, market penetration, cultural values, household demography and migration practices. There is therefore likely to be increasing differentiation.

x

x

7.3

Gender

Over a period of more than two generations of conflict, formal and informal social institutions in Afghanistan have both replicated and changed patterns of gender-based disadvantage and inequality. Using the ‘gender’ lens as an analytical tool to examine the formal and informal processes underlying, and the mechanisms causing, gender inequity in these three domains, can shed light on the reasons for persistent gender inequality, which in turn affects (and is affected by) the political economy of the country. In this regard, four influencing factors have been identified as critical: x x x x Gender-based disadvantage resulting from existing kinship and customary practices; The impact on gender of the erosion of local livelihoods; The criminalization of the economy; and, Insecurity at the hands of armed groups.

These four influences combine together to produce extreme forms of female vulnerability, which also have significant negative implications for poverty reduction policies. For the vast majority of women in Afghanistan, vulnerability is most visible in relation to the household, the community, the market and the state.

47

World Bank, 2008. Project Paper for Proposed Grant to Second Education Quality Improvement Project, Afghanistan. P2

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

Household Level – Concepts of male ‘honour’ or namus48 are critical for gender relations. They are closely related to the protection of and control over women – as well as to notions of female modesty and propriety and the ability to provide shelter to women in the domestic sphere. Many observers from the international community argue that these deep-rooted concepts, whilst strongly patriarchal, should not be tampered with, as they are in most cases the only form of social protection available to women and children. They are also politically sensitive.49 The focus of international development interventions by institutions subscribing to this perspective, has therefore tended to be on the family or on a complementary model of gender relations, which assumes that the men of a household will take women’s views and needs into account. However, the way in which informal institutions interact, and in which traditional norms are interpreted in a context of conflict, mean that this is not always the case. Community Level – At the local level, women’s participation in local governance is low.50 The number of women participating in governance does not honestly reflect their decisionmaking power or the extent to which their voice is heard. In access terms, they are excluded from customary bodies of local governance, dispute settlement and arbitration such as tribal jirgas or village shuras, which tend to be all-male assemblies. Thus, local norms and institutions limit or block gender-related change in terms of both access to justice and voice, regardless of the numerical accomplishments claimed by segments of the international community and the Afghan government. The Market – Markets in Afghanistan constitute another spatial and economic location where the gender-based disadvantages embedded in households and communities, play out, underlining women’s marginality and vulnerability. Gender, in particular the gendered division of labour, is a critical component of how Afghanistan’s markets operate. For example, key export commodities such as carpets, dried fruits, nuts and opium poppies benefit from either unremunerated or low-paid female labour. Likewise, women’s livestock and post-harvest processing activities are vital for both subsistence and income-generating activities in rural areas, though they have not necessarily led to a corresponding level of status within ‘the market’ as an abstract concept or physical location.51 Policy interventions to address these issues have largely been confined to the provision of credit through the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA) and capacity-building efforts for female entrepreneurs. However, women entrepreneurs draw mainly on a narrow range of traditional skills and experience very low profit margins.52 The growth of a predominantly informal, extensively criminalized economy in Afghanistan has reinforced male networks of recruitment and patronage. As such, the last potential outlet for female employment is likely to be the public sector, at least in the short- to mediumterm. The State – Throughout Afghan history, periods of reforms initiating equality between men and women have been followed by conservative backlash and curtailment of rights. Even today, gender issues are at the heart of how ethnically diverse groups identify themselves and relate to control from the central government. Contestation over women’s rights has featured prominently in each successive state-building intervention. Recent experience in Afghanistan has shown that the domination of efforts to mainstream gender can open up new battlefields of contestation among political factions and between the centre and the periphery. Responses to this
48

According to Edwards (1996) “The concept of namus...signifies those people (especially his wife, mother, sisters, and daughters), objects (e.g., his rifle), and properties (especially his home, lands and tribal homeland) that a man must defend in order to preserve his honour.” See Barakat 2004; World Bank 2005. See for example Wordsworth (2008). See Grace 2005. Mercy Corps 2002.

49 50 51 52

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ideological/social conflict have been to emphasise Afghan ownership and the engagement of ‘traditional’ structures which are frequently seen as more legitimate than the State, especially at sub-national level. While such institutions and their legitimacy may usefully be harnessed by the centre in order to strengthen its institutional credibility, local, traditional and informal practices of power will ultimately reflect rather than contest women’s marginalisation and the physical, social and economic insecurity which has historically and contemporarily accompanied it.

7.3.1

Women and Security

The sorts of marginalisation just portrayed have left women not only vulnerable in the abstract but have resulted in physical violence both within and beyond the context of insurgency and armed conflict. This has included domestic, public and economically-relevant violence. Domestic – Although public acts of violence against women are generally frowned upon by Afghan society, violence in the private realm of the household generally continues to be perceived as ‘natural’ and a ‘right’ for family males. According to human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, violence against women in Afghanistan is believed to have reached alarming levels. However, it is not clear whether the situation is more extreme than in other societies, due to the complexity and amount of variables involved in the reporting of cases across Afghanistan. Public – International experience indicates a near-universal correlation between heightened conflict and insecurity and violence against women.53 During the Jihad period in Afghanistan in the 1980’s and 1990’s, violence against women by non-family members occurred on an unprecedented scale, beginning with the imprisonment of women on the grounds of political activism during the Communist period,54 continuing with rape, torture and abduction during the Jihad, and culminating with Taliban public beatings and executions on various grounds. This has led to a breakdown in social policing (mostly encoded in systems of ‘honour’) by communities and households. Coping mechanisms most readily adhered and applied to ‘protect’ women have revolved around practices restricting female mobility, moving female members to a safer place, enforcing purdah, early or forced marriages even to strangers, imprisonment or even honour killing as a last resort. Economic – The rise of the conflict economy has exacerbated both public and private violence against women and created new forms of security-related vulnerability, including coercive marriage. Of specific relevance to the growth of the conflict economy is the increasing evidence over the past decade of the use of women in payment of opium debts, for example when traffickers are killed en route to their destinations, with a consequent defaulting on payment.55 Available evidence indicates that Mujahidin commanders started the practice of pushing up bride prices and taking multiple wives. Families who refused either had to watch their daughter be killed, raped, commit suicide, or the entire family had to run away. 56 This practice of marriage coerced by offers of large sums of money has continued among the rich and powerful in present-day Afghanistan.

7.3.2

State Absence in Female Insecurity

To date, the state has demonstrated relatively little political will or commitment to addressing public manifestations of violence against women, from whichever source, and effective national mechanisms to protect women from violence at any level are absent. The lack of women within the police or judiciary has allowed this situation to continue. Currently, less

53 54 55 56

Ward & Marsh 2006 Emadi 1993 Azarbaijani-Modghaddam personal observation in Badakhshan and Herat. Kandiyoti personal observation.

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

than 0.5 per cent of police personnel are women, and female police personnel usually play a minor support role and are ill-placed to protect or advocate on behalf of women. At present, there is no coherent state-sponsored approach to the provision of gender-equitable security where women have a voice in determining the security agenda and where gender is mainstreamed into security policies to ensure equitable outcomes. None the less, the state has made some ad hoc efforts to address private violence against women and to make the issue into a public concern. For example, the MoWA has an arrangement with a number of NGOs to provide shelter for abused women. The MoWA, with the help of international organizations, has also launched a campaign on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW), but the impact of such activities is difficult to evaluate. Although public outcries concerning violence against women do occasionally occur, there are very few cases (if any) where state actors have ensured that the perpetrators of crimes have been tried and punished or where crimes are condemned by community, religious or political leaders. Gender tends to be regarded by the state as an ‘add-on’ agenda, with often token appointments of ministry staff tasked with the issue, under-resourced institutional units and practical as well as psychological disempowerment of women appointed to address the issue (e.g. lack of vehicles to attend meetings; social norms around women’s ‘correct’ behaviour in public that mitigate against active participation in the public sphere, even for a public appointee).

7.3.3

Policies, Institutions and Interventions

At the start of the post-Taliban period, the Bonn Accord of 2001 outlined key goals for the realisation of enhanced gender equity, including the right to vote in elections, to serve in government and to be elected to parliament. These goals were formalized in the 2004 Constitution (Article 22), although the ambiguities associated with the simultaneous deference to sharia law (Article 3) lead many commentators to question the viability of applying an international human rights framework in the current Afghan context. The Constitution of Afghanistan established the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) for the purpose of monitoring the observation of human rights in order to promote their advancement and protection. There is also an office responsible for reporting on international conventions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). However, the division of labour between these institutions has been plagued by conflict, stemming from unclear or overlapping mandates and personal differences between the government institutions mandated with promoting and protecting women’s rights. In addition to internal institutional difficulties, a major challenge for the state in the process of rebuilding the country is that of incorporating the newly-acquired rights and liberties of women laid out in these documents, to ensure that government policies conform to international conventions; followed by the translation of reformed and new policies into practice via legislative and administrative reforms. Despite the availability of institutional instruments, the state continues to struggle in service provision to women and girls, in negotiating their emergence from within families and in protecting them from public and private violence. The Gender Equity Cross Cutting Strategy (GECCS) within the ANDS provides the basis for addressing and reversing what the document refers to as ‘women’s historical disadvantage’, but it seems unlikely that an additional document will have greater effect unless women’s rights can be made more contextually relevant, more strongly supported within the Afghan State and internationally and more organised. These are outlined below.

7.3.4

Opportunities and Constraints

Opportunities for change arise when gender mainstreaming is presented in terms of practical activities and tangible outcomes which encourage buy-in and ownership, rather than merely

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

conveying abstract notions such as found in the Constitution or ANDS. This is particularly relevant for the Afghan context, where the rules of the game are so skewed against women’s interests that tangible proof of the benefits of addressing women’s and gender issues take on a critical importance. The fact that so many women in the country are poor highlights the urgent need to focus on practical issues and activities that are going to improve the sorely-needed access to basic services and livelihoods. At the government level, this has meant service provision ‘following the money’, in the form of gender-responsive budgeting. At the household and community levels, women are increasingly being allowed to form groups and participate in public life, provided that there are obvious, immediate, practical and tangible benefits to be had which can be demonstrated to their male counterparts. It is therefore critically important that men are empowered to reach an understanding that gender needs are relevant to, and important for, the betterment of family and community life. For example, available field evidence57 indicates that men’s groups are learning that if they send women to complain about an issue, they may get a better hearing from certain parties, rather than going themselves. This is a positive gender dynamic which can be exploited and strengthened to give women a stronger role in communities. The greater the tangible, evident, positive impact that an activity or process can have on the immediate quality of life, the greater the amount of buy-in that is generated, and the greater the increase in ownership from male stakeholders. To achieve this win-win outcome, it is critical to address stakeholder realities at both national and sub-national levels. Neglecting these merely serves to mask the profound challenges, but also the very real opportunities for modest, but genuine progress in altering the ‘rules of the game’, at the levels where these play out: the household; the community, the province and the nation.

7.3.5

Drivers and Blockers of Change

In Afghanistan, women’s status has always been negotiated between individuals or small groups. The institutionalisation of this issue consequently poses problems of relative political bargaining power, prevailing institutional realities, lack of understanding of the issue and a delicate bargaining process of multiple (and often conflicting) interests. In this regard, it is important to note the interrelationships between the various levels and how the drivers and blockers at each level (as illustrated in Table 3 and discussed further in the Gender Inequality Final Report) impact each of those at the other levels. This highlights the need for better communication strategies so that effective and stronger linkages can be cemented across and between the various levels. Table 3. Drivers and Blockers of Gender Transformation in Afghanistan Drivers General: x x x Moderate elements at all levels; Donors, especially those pushing gender budgeting; Accelerated provision of access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); and, Islamic feminists in the region: genderx x Blockers General: x Women as symbols of honour and namus but only when convenient to male interests; No effective movement; national women’s

x

Conservative elements and their corresponding conservative interpretations of Islam at all levels

57

Azarbaijani-Moghaddam 2006

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

friendly interpretations of Islamic texts.

including the oppression of women as tool for consolidation of Islamic credentials; x Contrast between abstract notions of gender equity and women’s rights and those processes which lead to tangible outcomes benefiting men and women; Women’s issues held hostage to rivalry and in-fighting over ethnicity, factionalism and access to funding; Women’s labour invisible, not monetised and exploited; and, Culture of impunity related to public and private violence against women.

x

x x State: x x Women in political fora; MoWA and DoWAs – provided that skills and capacity to effectively design, develop and manage gender issues and activities can be built in; MoF by earmarking money for gender activities through specific gender budgeting activities; Ministers pursuing specific coordinated gender equality issues; and x

State: x x Few sympathetic, influential, and powerful women at policy-making level; No responsibility given to sub-national governance bodies to improve HDIs for women and girls; Ministries which isolate units and individuals working on gender related issues. Other ministries which window dress their activities around gender issues for funding purposes; Parliament, Supreme Court and political factions hold government ransom over gender issues; and, Rapprochement with Taliban or Hizb-e Islami thus providing government with less incentive to pursue a gender mainstreaming agenda.

x

x

x x

Better consideration and awareness of gendered disadvantages in the supply of service provision; and, Compliance with international standard setting instruments.

x

x

Community and Civil Society: x Women’s organizations and institutions provided they can overcome tendencies to engage in rivalry and turf protection in order to form a coherent and capable women’s movement; Civil society groups run by men and women negotiating and demanding improved gendered access to services; and, Appropriate role models in media.

Community and Civil Society: x Civil society organizations and others using women and gender related issues as bargaining chip to access funding; Women’s organizations formed simply to attract funding; Absence of issue and interest based women’s grassroots organizations; and, Provocative role models in media, who use their positions and influence to heighten tensions around gender stereotypes, creating further resistance to changes.

x x x

x

x

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DFID Understanding Afghanistan – Synthesis Report

Household: x x x Better access to basic services, especially education for girls; Women inheriting land and property and controlling productive assets; and, Access to formal credit.

Household: x x Women as extensions of factions or families; Lack of access and education regarding the use of contraception and family planning; Lack of access to basic services such as education, credit, and health; and, Women unable to inherit land and other assets.

x x

A number of lessons learned emerge from the examination of opportunities. These include: x x Avoiding the creation of situations where the international community is perceived as forcing an agenda and or the pace of its development; Placing increased emphasis on building understanding in the MoWA and other relevant gender activists on how the national budget works, together with building capacity around the appropriate analytical skills required to address gender, across ministries and in activist groups; Identifying change agents within both government and informal groups, who understand (or can be empowered to understand) the logic of gender mainstreaming and are committed to the initiative; and, Identifying opportunities to raise gender issues with potential champions of change at sub-national level, in order to strengthen local-level planning processes: for example, ensuring that budgeting for gender-related activities goes hand-in-hand with good governance initiatives and practices.

x

x

7.4

Other Forms of Social Exclusion

Several additional forms of social exclusion, in addition to and overlapping with poverty and gender, exist within Afghanistan. These include: x Social exclusion on the basis of social identity: Kuchis and gypsies, religious minorities, women (especially female headed households (FHHs) and dishonoured women such as prostitutes), young people and children (especially orphans, working children and street children) Social exclusion on the basis of location: residents of remote and inaccessible areas, residents of insecure areas which are the scenes of active conflict Social exclusion on the basis of social status: the disabled and handicapped (both physical and mental), the chronically poor (rural and urban), IDPs and returnees.

x x

While it is not possible to examine the historical, social, political and economic causes of exclusion affecting each of these groups, an overview is provided below.

7.4.1

The Disabled

Past and ongoing conflict in Afghanistan has resulted in high levels of physical and mental disability. The National Disability Survey conducted by Handicap International (2006) estimated that 8 per cent of Afghans are disabled. This figure can be subdivided among those with physical disabilities (36.5 per cent), sensory disabilities (25.5 per cent) and mental disabilities (9.7 per cent). The remainder may have other forms or multiple disabilities (9.4 per cent). In relation to the scale of the issue, formal welfare provision has been very limited. Currently the

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Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) covers war and mine disabled but cannot provide assistance to those disabled at birth or due to illness or accidents. A National Policy Framework for Action for Persons with Disability has recently emerged as a result of policy initiatives supported by strong international NGOs. In addition, a disability law is awaiting approval by the National Assembly, and there is a national action plan to mainstream disability in the ministries.

7.4.2

Female-Headed Households

It is clear that widows and female heads of household (FHHs), together with their children, are often neglected, unprotected by the law and customarily prohibited from participating in public affairs. It is estimated that there are around 40,000 widows in Kabul, though the number of FHHs across Afghanistan is unknown. Apart from existing widows and FHHs, for instance, every caseload of returnees includes women whose husbands died, disappeared or are in prison abroad, while ongoing conflict and insecurity has also added to the number of widows (and orphans). Loss of family males on a permanent or temporary basis constitutes a shock which can have chronic long-term impacts not only on the women but also on the children in their care. Such households may become more exposed to predatory behaviour, suffering and personal insecurity, losing both coping mechanisms and informal rights (which provide a certain degree of paternalistic protection for most women). Discussions with implementers show that widows and their children are extremely vulnerable to abuse from their families, local leaders, communities, employers and criminal groups. There is very little formal assistance for such groups. The caseload is scattered across ministries. MoLSAMD provides a pension for the widows of martyrs although this often has to be ‘negotiated’ through gatekeepers. Achievement of related MDGs and ANDS goals regarding FHHs is only possible through the mediation of donors, UN agencies and NGOs. Furthermore, low social status means that FHHs are often intimidated by formal institutions and, as such, have not organised to press their rights and needs. Both the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and female members of the National Assembly have failed to achieve substantive policy or legal gains for FHHs.

7.4.3

Youth

Over half of the Afghan population is estimated to be below the age of 19 which makes youth an important sub-set when dealing with poverty, social exclusion and gender.58 While additional research into the position of Afghanistan’s youth is necessary, global examples indicate that economic pressures in post-conflict societies, including contemporary Afghanistan, lead adults to force children to leave school and take up labour at an early age. Doing so provides temporary economic benefits but is widely seen as limiting longer-term individual and familial well-being. This trend in turn leads to the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Such issues are often ignored as youth in Afghanistan have no dedicated policies specifically addressing their welfare. Responsibility for youth is spread across a number of ministries and institutions. The MoLSAMD recognizes around twenty types of vulnerability in relation to children in Afghanistan and has prepared a National Strategy for Children at Risk with UNICEF and has recently established a Children’s Secretariat59, as part of the ANDS Social Protection Strategy. Planning and programming, however, are slow to follow such high-profile but minimally effectual steps. Lack of attention to youth issues together with a youth bulge in the population can be a potent mix. Urdal (2004) tested claims that youth bulges – extraordinary large youth cohorts relative to the

58 The figure given was 59.33 per cent in UNFPA Afghanistan – A Socioeconomic and Demographic Profile and Household Listing 2003-2005 59

The Deputy Minister for MoLSAMD is the chair of the SAARC Committee for Children.

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adult population – may be causally linked to internal armed conflict. Youth bulges, according to the results of Urdal’s study, are believed to strain social institutions such as the labour market and the educational system, thereby causing grievances that may contribute to violent conflict. This dynamic was deemed particularly likely under conditions of economic stagnation such as exist in present-day Afghanistan.

7.5

Constraints to Social Inclusion

There are several blockers to progress towards social inclusion. While it is not possible to list each – which are discussed further in the three Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis reports – several apply to nearly all cases of marginalisation. First, the lack of tangible linkages between social inclusion and security has made the concerns of marginalised populations a relatively low priority. Second, the Afghan government and segments of the international community have been unwilling to push for the inclusion of marginalised groups, particularly women, given the perception that cultural change (rather than the manner in which it is pursued) is a critical source of conflict vulnerability which will lead to an expanded insurgency. Third, the Afghan government’s administrative weakness and the desire of all ministries to access international funding by including a prominently displayed but tangibly meagre component for marginalised groups has led to the diffusion of responsibility and benefits. Fourth, those benefits which do exist are often mediated by gatekeepers, some within and some beyond the State. Public officials and commanders were both reported to have extorted financial assistance provided, for instance, to physically disabled individuals. Fifth, the stigma surrounding many forms of marginalisation, or the marginalisation itself, prevents them from pressing their rights in a vocal and coordinated manner with the international community, the media or the State. These factors require attention from DFID and HMG in a conflict-sensitive manner and would be best addressed through increased investment in health, education and at least minimal social safety nets. In many cases, the lack of such services prevents individuals from being able to emerge from poverty or overcome entrenched forms of exclusion. Furthermore, the public sector’s ability to recognise the distinct needs of marginalised groups and to develop strategies for meeting them should be included, where relevant, in governmental capacity building.

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8. Strategies and Options
While the previous sections have focused upon analysis, ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ was primarily directed at the formulation of concrete suggestions for improving security, strengthening the State, growing the economy and including the excluded. There are more than fifty individual recommendations and options discussed within the full reports of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ initiative. Rather than attempting to discuss each within this Synthesis Report, those which are deemed the most critical or which were highlighted within several of the component reports are included here.

8.1

The Grand Bargain

Both the Political Economy Analysis and the Strategic Conflict Assessment teams arrived upon the same conclusion – that there can be little lasting security or development in Afghanistan without a ‘grand bargain’ including the incorporation of the Taliban and all other key stakeholders into the Afghan government. Doing so must, however, be done carefully. The international community must allow a highly credible Afghan figure, whether a post-Karzai60 president or a respected Pashtun religious or political figure, to initiate and direct all overtures between the government and the Taliban (and its affiliated insurgent groups). International involvement in the process will irreparably taint it and could lead to its collapse. Second the process must achieve the buy-in of the Afghan political establishment with its range of vested interests, many of whom may be opposed to sharing power (which may be widely perceived as losing power). In the absence of such an agreement, the Taliban-led insurgency has no viable alternative but to either topple the current regime or to carve out vast portions of the Afghan countryside which will be beyond the control of the State. The Political Economy Analysis provides additional recommendations for progressively increasing political dialogue and participation in advance of any negotiations with the Taliban, while the Strategic Conflict Assessment lays out a wide variety of approaches for winning the (potentially reluctant) support of key stakeholders in Afghanistan and beyond through public diplomacy, economic development and a wide variety of other interventions. This latter report also highlights the need to focus upon national dialogue and political negotiation alongside community-based ‘peace building’ measures and dispute-resolution forums, which include the State, to (i) strengthen non-violent responses to conflict and (ii) combat local power-sharing conflicts which, as previously noted, may encapsulate up to half of all ‘anti-government’ attacks.

8.2

Combating Conflict

It is anticipated that a ‘grand bargain’ will lead to a significant decline in the level of conflict within Afghanistan. However, while assisting the Afghan government in the pursuit of this goal, several additional steps can be taken to mitigate insurgent recruitment and intra-state, regional tensions.

8.2.1

Utilise Public Diplomacy to Counter Insurgency

Her Majesty’s Government, particularly the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), should support large-scale public diplomacy efforts throughout Afghanistan which work through traditional structures and avoid the mistakes of previous culturally inappropriate or obscure attempts. In Afghanistan’s poorest areas which are the areas with greatest illiteracy, message passing is often carried out through the religious community. Friday prayers and the mullahs and imams are often the bearers of the insurgent message and the motivators of resistance. It is therefore

60 President Karzai, somewhat discredited in the eyes of many Afghans and much of the international community, may no longer possess the clout to successfully initiate or complete a ‘grand bargain’ with the Taliban while maintaining the loyalty of armed groups in northern Afghanistan.

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important that clerics of all types are part of the process which persuades people not to support the insurgency. A correctly structured message delivered in this way is essential. But so too is the follow-up. This is where development connects with counter-insurgency. ‘Fast track’ development projects to meet local needs are not only essential once an area is taken over by government and international forces but also are integral in preventing the loss of the territory gained. The failure to deliver improvements in infrastructure and quality of life means that messages concerning the good will of the international community will be lost.

8.2.2

Focus Sustained Assistance on ‘Angry, Young Men’

The provision of extensive agriculture and livelihood support will go a long way to reducing ‘angry, young men’s’ interest in joining armed groups such as the Taliban or remobilising northern militias. Targeting such opportunities for young men will do the greatest damage to insurgent recruitment, as will programmes designed to provide young men with vocational and educational training (VET). International assistance flowing to long-standing stable and newly secured areas will prevent them from effective Taliban and other insurgent infiltration. To provide assistance in the estimated 50 per cent of the country which is inaccessible to civilian reconstruction and development organisations, several options are available, including the increased use of Islamic organisations and countries as assistance providers and the provision of assistance directly to communities.

8.2.3

Minimise Intra-State, Regional Tensions

Divisions between groups, particularly between northern and southern armed groups, should not be inflamed in order to prevent large-scale, intra-state conflict. First, assistance should be provided – and perceived as being provided – in equal levels to Pashtun and non-Pashtun areas. Second, further disarmament of illegal armed groups (DIAG) should not be pursued in the North until stability has been achieved. Third, proposals concerning a cross-border Pashtun autonomous zone between Afghanistan and Pakistan should be viewed with intense scepticism. Doing so would be likely to inflame regional tensions and provoke re-mobilisation in the North.

8.2.3.1 Counter-Act ‘Perverse Incentives’
One recent development is the perception of a ‘perverse incentive’ whereby assistance is provided in the greatest amounts to insecure areas or areas which have recently become secure. By comparison, locations with little insurgent activity may receive relatively little assistance. Elected officials and rural community members alike have noted this trend in northern Afghanistan, the Hazarajat and in scattered stable communities in otherwise insecure regions. Accordingly, these individuals have concluded that violence is necessary to attract reconstruction assistance and that, as such, they should engage in or permit insurgents or other armed groups to engage in attacks within their regions. Such conclusions could lead to Taliban expansion into currently secure areas (though these comments should also be interpreted as posturing and attempts to maximise assistance received).

8.2.3.2 Avoid Mobilisation of Militias for Counter-Insurgency Operations
Community self-defence programmes should be approached with great caution. Previous attempts to mobilise communities in pursuit of their own defence, by the PDPA and Soviets in 1979 and 1980, laid the basis for the Mujahidin, and the recent Afghan National Auxiliary Police (ANAP), which was quickly co-opted by the Taliban. Current proposals, particularly the Independent Directorate for Local Governance’s (IDLG) Afghan Social Outreach Programme (ASOP), are better designed given that they will not provide weapons, training or uniforms and given that they are intended to be overseen by specifically-created shuras comprised of the most respected individuals. That said, the oversight mechanisms lack punitive powers, and the potential for the defection of State-financed militias to the insurgency is

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commonly perceived as high if not nearly certain. Perhaps most worryingly, community-self defence will, by necessity, be rolled out in locations with the greatest insecurity which is focused in the predominantly Pashtun South and East. As such, it will be viewed as a direct challenge to the non-Pashtun North, in particular, and would be almost certain to lead them to dramatically the remobilisation and re-armament of their minimally demobilised militias.

8.3

Governance

While the ‘grand bargain’ remains the lynchpin for building effective governance in Afghanistan, the ongoing ‘collaborative governance’ between the Afghan government and the international community must also be strengthened in a manner that meets the interests of both. While individual suggestions for doing so are identified below, a basic conceptual shift must occur where by international actors realise that their primary security-oriented aims are best pursued by listening and responding to the stated interests and goals of the Afghan government and people. Doing so will require ceding control over the reconstruction process to Afghans and ensuring that local priorities such as livelihoods are valued more than Western goals of counternarcotics. Once this shift is widely achieved, the remainder of the agenda becomes clearer.

8.3.1

(Re) Mobilising Legitimacy

Both the Strategic Conflict Assessment and the Growth Diagnostic highlighted the need to more fully engage the State not only in financial management but also in the allocation and oversight of reconstruction initiatives. Ensuring that assistance is seen as coming from the government is critical in building the State’s legitimacy, and enhanced governmental involvement will allow public sector personnel to gain necessary capacities. Mobilising legitimacy will also involve the devolution of power and authority from the Executive (and the international community) to, most notably, the National Assembly and the Ministry of Defence. The marginalisation of the National Assembly has helped contribute to national fragmentation and has prevented dialogue. Its exclusion from the reconstruction process has, most notably, led it to become a body centred around criticising actions taken without their engagement or approval. Similarly, the ‘Comprehensive Approach’, with its emphasis on more closely integrating the Afghan Ministry of Defence with NATO/ISAF troops and the US Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), is also significant on both practical and symbolic levels. Doing so will demonstrate the international military’s growing confidence in the Afghan government and armed forces to maintain security and will, at least, serve to bolster Afghans’ pride in their primary symbol of national unity, the ANA.

8.3.2

Improve Anti-Corruption Measures

Providing the State with increased responsibility for reconstruction should be accompanied by improved and strengthened anti-corruption measures as have been pursued through Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms. They could involve, as various ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ reports suggested, forming an elite and well paid anti-corruption unit with broad powers (and extensive oversight) in the government. Still others, particularly those engaged in the Growth Diagnostic, suggested a complementary bottom-up approach whereby community leaders are able to report corruption while receiving some form of protection from identification and/or retribution. Public awareness would be a critical component of such an approach. Alternatively, as in the disarmament process, social pressure could be brought to bear by traditional leaders and councils against public officials who engage in rent-seeking behaviour. The Taliban’s emphasis on regular rotating staff members is a viable suggestion, particularly once core capacities have been achieved among the public administration, and an emphasis on the high-profile prosecution of violators could set a positive national example.

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8.3.3

Reform the ANA and ANP

Significant reforms are also necessary among the ANA and, in particular, the ANP. Within both the ANA and the ANP, pay and rank systems should be – as they currently are being – restructured, and merit should replace nepotism as the basis for promotion. The current process of pay and rank reform, launched in 2006, has borne some fruit at the senior-most level in the police, but at the lowest levels, there is strong evidence that it has been compromised in the face of corruption and factional pressure. Furthermore, corrupt elements within the police should be tackled from the top down, and oversight structures should be strengthened. Initially, high-level reform of the ANP and the MoI and the use of the Focused District Development Programme (FDDP), which draws upon a combination of ANP training and the temporary replacement of regular police officers with the highly professional Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) in hopes of improve communitylevel anti-corruption efforts, should be vigorously pursued. In the mid- to long-term, however, it will be necessary to re-consider the role and structure of the ANP. To better meet the demands of the security situation without depriving the police of a community policing orientation, the force should be restructured and endowed with a robust Gendarmerie or paramilitary component. This would permit the institution of a division of labour in which some police receive specialized paramilitary training and contribute to the counter-insurgency while others receive standard police training and assume regular police duties. The monitoring of ANP community policing through local governance bodies would be one manner in which corruption could partly be addressed. Furthermore, a police ombudsmen’s office should be created, but situated outside the MOI to insulate it from intimidation and corruption. It should be given wide powers and significant resources that would allow it to investigate abuses and allegations of corruption across the country. It should work closely with both the Internal Affairs police of the MoI and the Attorney General.

8.3.4

De-Centralise the State

Currently Afghanistan remains one of the most highly centralised democracies in the world. Doing so allowed the international community to interact with a single and geographically focused set of stakeholders in ministries and the Executive. However, this situation – and the failure to pursue a federal model – has also alienated the periphery from the centre. Those sub-national structures which do exist are commonly lacking clear duties and oversight, and little has been done to connect community-based organisations (CBOs) such as the Community Development Councils (CDCs) established under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) with the State. Fostering a transparent, purposeful and decentralised public administration – initially to be focused exclusively upon transparent, locally-accountable service delivery in collaboration with CBOs, traditional councils and leaders and other low-level stakeholders – will do a great deal to build the State’s legitimacy and counter the fragmentation which is currently taking place. Once this initial achievement is reached in the coming several years, the decentralisation of decision-making and resource-mobilising functions may be considered.

8.3.5

Increase Revenue Mobilisation and Limit Expenditure

The aforementioned recommendations – increased state legitimacy, anti-corruption and decentralisation – would have the net effect of promoting revenue mobilisation. Doing so should be combined with a more transparent and government-owned process of security sector expenditure. Furthermore, the international community should seriously consider the long-term viability of the expansion of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to 120,000 troops. Such an expansion may not be financially sustainable, and its short-term security impact would be blunted by the lengthy amount of time necessary to more than double the current force (which is more than 6 years in the making). Regardless of decisions concerning the size of the ANA, it will be necessary to ensure an open, transparent and increasingly government-owned process for allocating expenditures in the

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security sector. The multi-donor Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) provides one viable model, though many involved in ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ would prefer the use of entirely government-controlled mechanisms within the Ministry of Finance (MoF). That said, the international community and Afghan government cannot take sole responsibility for mobilising and allocating resources. A large segment of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ team, particularly from within the Strategic Conflict Assessment and Growth Diagnostic, also advocated for the inclusion of a bottom-up, community-driven approach whereby revenues are not only mobilised nationally for security provision but also for tangible community-improvement projects. Such an approach, utilised effectively within the NSP showed that communities are willing to pay for public improvements and services but only when secure in the knowledge that they will receive most of the benefits of what they contribute.

8.4

Economic Development

Several recommendations for improving Afghanistan’s economic development are also made throughout nearly every report, from those focused upon short-term gains and stabilisation to those considering Afghanistan’s long-term niche in the global marketplace and the needs of marginalised groups. Several of these are accompanied by specific suggestions for supporting agriculture and traditional sectors such as carpets (see the Growth Diagnostic Policy Discussion Report). That said, it is critical to realise that any reforms in economic governance will require the establishment of a governmental entity charged with the formation, analysis and implementation of economic policy.

8.4.1

Prioritise the Battle Against Nuisance Taxes and Corruption

The persistence of nuisance taxes and bureaucratic obstruction reflects the relatively weak and uneven attention given to the promotion of private sector driven growth as a key government aim across and within different ministries. A greater degree of oversight of the different hurdles that affect the private sector in its engagement with government is required in order to expose and eliminate inappropriate taxes and bureaucratic requirements. This is not only an issue of tax policy alone, but largely one of weak administrative oversight and weak compliance. The government’s stated aim of reforming complex structures and functions of government will remove opportunities for corruption as well as reducing the bureaucratic burden upon the private sector. For the private sector, the introduction of more and better auditing and monitoring could have some effect, including a reliable system for recording corruption, where it is encountered. Finally, the identification of corruption at high levels within government requires the exemplary action against high level corruption, including the sacking of corrupt officials. The following specific recommendations were also made within the Growth Diagnostic Scoping Study: x The Roadmap for Strategy and Action to fight corruption proposed by the joint donor community should be implemented. The donor community should recognize that it is as much part of the solution as it is part of the problem. The same transparency levels the international community demands the Afghan government to practice should be as well practiced by donors and NGOs. The endogenous corruption should be limited by cutting red tape, concentrating all licenses and permits into a one-stop-shop model and empowering one single autonomous revenue authority. The Anti-Corruption Unit must be strengthened with a clear mandate, an independent budget and high-level political support. Every effort should be made to ensure that this entity is insulated from political pressures and considerations. Prevention and awareness are two other key components of any anti-corruption campaign. The international community should support such projects in order to inform ordinary Afghans

x

x

x

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of their rights vis-à-vis rent-seeking behaviour. It is also recommended that the international community improve its own policies and practices towards corruption, as its willingness to pay bribes and submit to unofficial permit and licensing costs has undercut broader anticorruption efforts.

8.4.2

Take Early Action to Protect Business from Crime and Insecurity

The specific threats to business need to be acknowledged, alongside and not after the broader challenge posed by the insurgency has been addressed. Without security for business, the type of growth necessary to discourage Taliban recruitment will not be possible. The Afghan government has yet to provide an adequate response to this escalating threat to the business community and there are few examples of successful and transparent prosecutions of kidnappers. A delegation of businessmen has asked the President to establish a special court to try kidnapers. A response is required even if only to recognise the seriousness of these threats to the private sector. While developing a broader strategy, emergency measures to protect business may be worth considering, such as the proposal made recently by the EPAA to the Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility (AICF) for the piloting of a 24 hour hotline for exporters moving goods by road. The hotline could allow exporters whose trucks are illegally stopped and asked for payment to access unarmed mobile teams, stationed in cities along the major export routes, which could attend the scene if necessary. A database of the frequency and types of illegal roadside payments could then be presented to government. The AICF is an appropriate organisation to pioneer and fund measures for protecting business from kidnap and extortion, and DFID, as in Sudan, may by the appropriate organisation to support a National Risk and Threat Assessment at the district level in order to better understand micro-economic risks.

8.4.3

Increase Vision, Coherence and Consistency of Policy

There is a need to bring together government actors from all relevant ministries and agencies, to discuss with private sector representatives strategies for growth, investment and export, including a clear outline of those reforms and interventions that require prioritisation. Discussions should be pro-active and not reactive and must result in a plan of action which stakeholders can monitor. However, for this to be a meaningful exercise, donors need to convince Afghan actors of the desirability of their policy preferences, from trade to privatisation: to ‘win the hearts and minds’ over economic directions for Afghanistan. Donors will retain the strong leverage on policy directions that Afghanistan’s dependency on aid and credit brings, but using this leverage at the expense of Afghan ownership will have a cost in terms of policy implementation. Consistency and coherence of the message being sent out by donors through technical assistance and other programmes is also vital in convincing Afghan actors over appropriate directions of economic policy. A number of programmes have sent out contradictory messages to Afghan observers. For example, whilst donors resist trade protection or the officially sanctioned notion of subsidising fledgling industries, a number of donor funded programmes, notably in the sphere of alternative livelihoods, have amounted to the subsidy of certain types of production on the ground. In debating a vision and a strategy for private sector investment and growth, the donor community also needs to strengthen the trajectory and consistency of its argumentation.

8.4.4

Concentrate on Durable Systems, Not Personalities

As far as possible, donors should be supporting the establishment of durable systems and processes within ministries, in the hope that these can both influence a difficult reform environment and outlast the tenure of a pro-reform minister. Durable processes can be supported by properly targeted technical assistance, providing tools and resources and working structures that are tied to a specifically identified need as well as to the overall PSD strategy and which can be easily handed over to Afghan civil servants. Changing political culture, however, is a slow process, and engagement with Afghan elites, even those involved in misuse of government

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resources or state capture, is vital. Nonetheless, donors should try to be cognisant of who the large political-economic interest groups are and how programmes supporting the private sector can be made independent of such interest groups. Corporate governance and responsibility should be firmly integrated into the wider governance agenda in Afghanistan. Interventions targeted at SMEs may help to boost this sector amidst an uneven playing field.

8.4.5

Foster Special Economic Zones

To overcome business uncertainty concerns as identified by the Growth Diagnostic, special economic zones (similar to the industrial parks, perhaps even free zones) where a five-toten-year tax holiday could be provided for companies willing to formalise their businesses. Such zones would benefit from full access to basic business services and could also benefit from the recent public sector leasing of land. Thus, they could help circumnavigate poor protection of property rights by guaranteeing security of asset within their boundaries. The idea of scaling up investment parks has been often repeated, in spite of the questionable success of investment parks so far in Afghanistan, due in part to confusion over the division of responsibility for the parks between AISA and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI). Given a clear strategy and clarity of leadership, investment parks could provide a key opportunity to generate some good news stories in the small and medium enterprise sector.

8.4.6

Address Infrastructure Weaknesses

With weak infrastructure highlighted as the second most binding constraint to economic growth, and against a background of high external infrastructure financing since 2001, identifying the infrastructure needs of high potential economic sub-sectors is more important than ever. With each sub-sector demonstrating different infrastructure requirements, public investment will need to be far clearer on which sub-sectors are to be supported and to which markets such production is to be exported. Of particular policy significance, given government’s weak capacity to maintain large infrastructure, will be increased infrastructure investments at the community and village level (access to electricity, processing and marketing infrastructure, etc.), an area of investment that has shown great success in countries such as Thailand and Bangladesh. In addition to small to medium sized infrastructure, lack of storage and integrated value-chain structures appear major policy shortfalls when viewed as a percentage of public investment. At present, the current focus on building public, not private, infrastructure might usefully be strengthened by established viable public private partnership arrangements through the establishments of special purpose entities, perhaps working closely with the EPAA, and MoCI.

8.4.7

Develop Value Chains

As was previously discussed in Section 6 of this report, there is a vital need to improve value chains and associated infrastructure to ensure that Afghans receive the full potential profits from production. Doing so will involve the creation not only of necessary infrastructure, such as roads, processing and cold-storage facilities, but also the pursuit of markets for value-added products. The continued development of western China provides an exciting opportunity, as does Russia (though inter-state trade through the former Soviet Central Asian Republics, which have economies similar to Afghanistan may prove overly burdensome). One source of information and inspiration for the development of value chains in Afghanistan is the poppy cultivation and narcotics trafficking industry. It has developed one of the most highly sophisticated and effective approaches to credit provision, cultivation, sale, transportation, processing and distribution within Afghanistan’s agriculture sector.

8.4.8

Build Human Capital

While many of Afghanistan’s current businesses may not require technical capabilities, future

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businesses (in addition to the public sector) will require well educated and highly skilled personnel. This process – which should have begun in earnest in early 2002 – must begin now if Afghanistan is to be prepared to continue developing ten years from now. Institutions of higher education, potentially more so than even basic vocational training centres, should be made a high priority, particularly as their development has been seriously neglected in the rush to raise rates of primary education.

8.4.9

Discourage Poppy Eradication

A distinction must be made between the impoverished farmer and the well-armed traffickers and their political protectors. The latter two groups receive the vast majority of profits from narcotics and use it to bribe public officials, corrupt segments of the security service, support private militias and attempt to limit the territorial extension of State control. With this distinction in mind, the importance of stopping the traffickers while not, necessarily, preventing the production and growth of poppy cultivation becomes the only logical and humane solution. Eradication, which does not have the domestic or international political support to be widely implemented, will only push cultivation from province to province, leaving a trail of insecurity in its wake, and raise the value of the opium poppies produced. Furthermore, it will lead to increased poverty and to widespread hatred and resentment of international forces and their Afghan government host, as it has already done. Furthermore, given that the majority of Afghanistan’s credit sector is rooted in income derived from poppy cultivation and narcotics trafficking, engaging in or allowing international partners to engage in poppy eradication could lead to wider-thananticipated economic results.

8.4.9.1 Promote Public Integrity through Counter-Narcotics
Poppy trafficking networks should be tackled, in the short-term, through increased interdiction alongside borders and in neighbouring countries. Well equipped, highly trained and generously paid border guards both within Afghanistan and its neighbours should be created with international assistance. The target of interdiction should, however, not solely be the poppies and opiates but also the precursor chemicals which are necessary for processing. By closely tracking the sale and transport of these chemicals, the international community and Afghan government could provide an ideal solution in which cultivators continue to receive payment for the raw product while the organised criminal networks will be unable to add value. As such, processing will continue, as it previously had, to be done outside of Afghanistan, thus leaving far fewer profits in the country to finance violence and, in particular, to undermine the State through the co-optation of public officials.

8.5

Poverty Reduction

The following recommendations are made by the authors of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ report concerning poverty. Invest in Public Goods. There is a strong case to be made for supporting the Afghan government by investing in public goods as a means to address widespread structural poverty. This is likely to address the needs of many households in Afghanistan and have general benefit with respect to poverty reduction. The focus should be on health and education in particular and in a support of processes which focus on building the capacity of the Afghan state in health and education service delivery. Supporting Social Protection Mechanisms. Given state weakness and the capacity of the informal sphere, ‘customary’ mechanisms should be supported so that the poor can reduce the discount on the future. Such measures must be rooted in an understanding of and improvement in informal security mechanisms. Address Poverty Inequalities. Poverty inequalities based on social identity (specifically gender)

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and other structural reasons will not be addressed unless they are systematically analysed and responded to. There is a danger that structural determinants of these inequalities, particularly where they are socially or politically based (e.g. cultural prescriptions endorsing gender inequality) will simply be treated as disadvantages and the underlying causes not addressed. Improve Poverty Targeting. A focus on public goods, social protection and poverty inequalities will all require some degree of targeting, from the decision not to target to targeting based on poverty assessments, self-targeting and targeting based on categorical or geographical characteristics. Better Understand Poverty. Effort is required at a minimum not only to improve the country level cross-sectional metric assessments of consumption or income poverty but to build systematically and link it with more qualitative and socially informed understanding. This requires multi-level qualitative-quantitative studies (not just Q2) which include analysis of household trajectories. This in turn highlights the importance of building the capacity of government institutions to collect, collate and analyse quantitative and qualitative data in order to formulate appropriate policies and programmes to address poverty.

8.6

Gender and Women’s Empowerment

The following recommendations are made within the Gender Inequality Final Report. Adopt an Incremental Approach. The findings of this report lead to the recommendation that DFID adopt a step by step, ‘building block’ approach to achieve sustainable gender-related change, whilst continuing to support the bigger picture at the policy level, including in order to influence the way it unfolds, to build institutional capacity, and to monitor policy implementation, as well as increasing the accountability of key stakeholders. Increase Women’s Voice and Agency. At present, women’s political representation must be heavily moderated by men at all levels with very little effective transfer of power to women. What is required is a more detailed analysis on the various intra-family dynamics, negotiations and power transfers which can lead to the win-win situation of males retaining ‘face’ while women participate in public life. The gradual scaling up of such dynamics could transform gender relations within Afghan communities and lead to sustainable gains. Specific examples for how to do so are offered in the Gender Inequality Final Report. Support Gender-Equitable Economic Growth Policies. At the policy level, DFID should encourage the development of improved design, content and market relevance of women’s skill-building and income generation programmes, whilst recognising the evidence on the existing constraints faced by women in terms of participation. Further research and analysis of women’s role in the informal economy could support this approach, including on how it impacts on women’s livelihood options; the impact of the criminalisation of the economy on women and girls; and how the latter, combined with the erosion of local livelihoods, impacts gender equitable outcomes. At the programme level, DFID should support initiatives by government and civil society that promote equitable access to productive assets, including inheritance. Begin Supporting Health and Education. Investment in education would enable DFID to prioritise issues of equal access for girls and boys. Specific areas of recommended intervention would address issues of both quality and access. These include: curriculum quality, the number of female teachers, girls’ secondary school attendance and, through education, the number of trained female health care professionals (with expertise on female health needs). Investments by DFID in the health sector could similarly help address the challenge of increasing health service usage by women. This is not just an issue of physical access. Even where health facilities exist, and are near women’s homes, only one quarter of women use skilled birth attendants. Promote Fair, Transparent Justice for Men and Women. While traditional systems of justice

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(village councils) are discriminatory against women, they account for 80 per cent of cases settled throughout the country. They are more accessible, more efficient and perceived as less corrupt than the formal state courts. They also represent the only route for the majority of Afghans to access, and are closed to women’s participation and biased against them. DFID should support measures to address women’s and men’s legal awareness and to monitor informal justice systems (e.g. for conformity with human rights principles). Additional justice-related interventions requiring DFID support include: x Support for the state’s legal apparatus in applying the equal rights enshrined in the Constitution, improving the ability of the formal legal system (including the MoJ) to interact with local, informal/tribal systems of justice, to promote and protect women’s rights; Support for the provision of legal aid for women at the provincial and district levels; A legal rights outreach programme to inform women and men about inheritance rights at the village level; promotion of legal literacy and awareness-raising on men’s and women’s rights around land, provisions of customary vs. Islamic law, justice mechanisms etc, delivered in a way that seeks to synergise with local institutional mechanisms and that generates local level ownership, as well as building on gender equity: (e.g. for female judges in family courts in rural areas to facilitate inheritance claims); and, Support for land-related policy development, which should seek to actively consult with women and men to promote inclusion of interests.

x x

x

Develop Institutional Capacity to Support Gender Equity. DFID should bring to bear its experience and institutional memory, to broker the multi-dimensional nature of issues such as gender inequality and female vulnerability in policy making. DFID can increase effectiveness in activities, delivery and programmes by: pushing for innovation in programme design, moving away from approaches which have not yielded results, and helping to identify and enhance the gender awareness and understanding of stakeholders in formal and informal institutions who have the ability and influence to enact long-lasting changes. Formal and institutional personnel constitute the most effective change agents. Here, quality, not just quantity, will be critical. Going beyond the numbers alone (e.g. an increase in the number of women in institutions and processes) to focus on how they should be included to yield maximum impact, and what support they will need to deliver on it, will be critical. Additional Recommendations. The following should also be considered in DFID policy formulation and programming concerning gender and women’s empowerment. x A robust, realistic understanding of women’s rights, gender equality issues and insights on the complexity of local socio-political and economic relationships and power interactions will need to be mainstreamed across DFID’s Afghanistan programme; DFID should, when security conditions permit, reach out beyond the urban areas to reach women and men whose contact with state institutions, markets and NGOs is limited; DFID should aim to bridge the gap between constitutional commitments and informal institutional understanding through dissemination of knowledge and capacity building around tangible, practical interventions with evident benefits to men and women; Support to civil society to continue to build a constituency of support for gender equality will be important, not least because sustainable change in male-female relations will only come from within Afghanistan, in all its geographic and socio-cultural diversity.

x x

x

8.7

Social Exclusion

The aforementioned recommendations applicable to poverty, gender and women’s empowerment apply to the broader question of social exclusion, and they must be applied to other marginalised groups such as youth, the elderly, the disabled and others.

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Improve Access to Social Services. Perhaps the leading concern of socially excluded groups is access to social services such as health and education. Access to such public goods has been increasing, though each group has faced specific challenges in receiving their benefits. The poor may require basic social safety nets rather than mainstream services, as the chronically poor may be required to forsake children’s education in order to maintain a meagre sustenance lifestyle. Other marginalised groups may face similar barriers, particularly when marginalisation is based on identity, or may be too geographically isolated to readily access public goods. DFID must take a strong role in improving access to social services and, equally if not more important, ensuring that the Afghan government is prepared to maintain services and social safety nets in the event of diminished international financial support. Utilise Customary Institutions. Afghanistan, as noted in Section 7, has consistently demonstrated a religiously-founded obligation to support the poor and marginalised and a strong emphasis on safeguarding women’s honour. Such systems must be utilised productively. Zakat and other charitable obligations must be mobilised and regularised in order to ensure the locally owned provision of basic social safety nets for the chronically poor, the disabled, female headed households and others. Similarly, customary and religious leaders must be incorporated into programmes aimed at reducing the marginalisation of women and other groups. For instance, emphasising women’s role as mothers and their traditional responsibility for the family, schools and health may be used to advocate for their education and for their expanded involvement in local governance. Strengthen Monitoring and Accountability. The dual responsibilities of the State and customary institutions for social service provision and for mediating the experience of the poor, women and the socially excluded is likely to persist. Each is subject to failures and complications in relation to particular populations, services or locations, thus leaving gaps which will require attention. In order to highlight and respond to these gaps, improved monitoring and data collection regarding marginal populations must be ensured. Rather than focusing strictly upon quantitative indicators of progress, a dual emphasis should be placed upon qualitative research concerning inter-personal relations and the evolving nature of impediments to equity and social inclusion. Such a system should, for instance, attempt to change the changing notion of female honour and its application or manipulation by parties in the intensifying contemporary conflict. Support Policy-Oriented Advocacy. Finally, institutions to facilitate policy advocacy among excluded and marginalised groups should be created to give them a political voice. This role has largely been filled by donor institutions and international NGOs, though it may be time for a ‘nationalisation’ process. As indicated above, a public information programme with the goal of destigmatising marginalised groups may need to first be implemented in order to create a facilitative environment for such policy-oriented activities.

8.6

Cross-Cutting Recommendation: Further Research

A final recommendation made within each ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ output is the need to improve, widen and centralise the collection of data concerning governance, corruption, social exclusion, conflict vulnerability and economic growth. The currently fragmented nature of data collection makes data-based analysis and policy-making burdensome if not impossible. In relation to the Strategic Conflict Assessment, further research into the potential strategies for increasing the evident role of Islam within Afghan governmental institutions. The Growth Diagnostic highlighted the need for greatly expanded data collection of economic indicators in order to facilitate econometric analysis. Finally, the Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis highlighted the need to strengthen quantitative studies of exclusion while recognising that qualitative studies

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will be necessary in order to capture the ‘relational’ and experiential dynamics influencing trajectories of gender, poverty and other forms of marginalisation.

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9.

Conclusion
This synthesis has attempted to consolidate the various outputs of the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ undertaking and to reflect those key points and areas of mutual concern. Above all else, the need to better understand conflict in order to contribute to its resolution is highlighted. Security is necessary for facilitating economic growth, for allowing the foundation of a stable State and for the inclusion of marginalised groups. That said, a strict focus upon security through military and counter-insurgency efforts is widely deemed short-sighted and bound to fail. A concerted effort to integrate the Taliban-led insurgency into the government is critical and will provide, perhaps, the only viable route to stability and, eventually, peace. As the brief historical analysis provided in this report shows, power-sharing arrangements which exclude key stakeholders will be subject to continued contestation until they ultimately devolve into all-out armed conflict.

9.1

Areas of Consensus

The need for a political resolution to the conflict was widely agreed upon. Further areas of strong consensus include the need to bolster the State’s legitimacy through improved governance and the vigorous eradication of corruption, particularly in relation to the police, the judiciary and trade-related institutions. Furthermore, the need for the employment of traditional mechanisms and religious sources of authority, such as the Ulema, was considered necessary in all instances. Doing so will lead to security improvements and will provide the State with the ideological and moral authority it lacks.

9.2

Points of Contention

Points of significant contention were minimal throughout this project, though this is, admittedly, a function of the separate although complementary tasks undertaken by each of the output teams. The greatest sources of contention concerned broadly theoretical questions of the development approach to be employed by DFID and other donors. While some, such as those engaged in the technical Growth Diagnostic Scoping Study and Political Economy Analysis, felt that a national approach was called for, many others, particularly in relation to the Strategic Conflict Assessment, Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion Analysis and Growth Diagnostic Policy Discussion Paper, deemed a local approach to be more likely to succeed. In either event, the perspectives are far from contradictory. All those engaged in ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ would agree that both approaches are necessary and that, in relation to the State and the economy, that midlevel structures still require formation and guidance. With NGOs working on the community level and governmental and inter-governmental entities at play on the national level, sub-national governance has failed to effectively materialise, and economic links between communities and global markets have only grown in relation to insurgency and illicit economic activities.

9.3

Refreshing ‘Understanding Afghanistan’

The findings from ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ have challenged some of the common assumptions often made by the international community and national policy makers about the nature of the conflict and speed of progress. Such evidence-based research provide invaluable platform for policy development. However, given Afghanistan’s rapidly changing context, this sort of engagement must be ‘refreshed’ from time to time with new data sets and new perspectives brought into the equation. The findings from this engagement can be easily used as the baseline for future studies and comparisons.

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Bibliography
The following are but a small sample of the extensive amount of literature consulted in the course of ‘Understanding Afghanistan’. The author of the Synthesis Report was restricted by the thoroughness of citations within each individual output report, though every effort has been made to account for each of the references made within the above report. Questions concerning specific sources of information should be directed to the ‘Understanding Afghanistan’ output leaders listed within the acknowledgements section of this report. Afghanistan Geological Survey (2007), ‘Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan’ Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) Research Newsletter (2007) Feature: Afghanistan National Population Census, AREU Research Newsletter, No. 11/12, October 2006/ January 2007 AREU (2004) “Understanding markets in Afghanistan: case studies on the markets in construction materials, raisins and carpets”, mimeo. Atmar, Haneef and Goodhand, Jonathan (2002) ‘Afghanistan: the challenge of winning the peace’ in Galama, A and van Tongeren, P (eds.) Searching for Peace in Central and South Asia. An overview of conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, Colorado pp. 109 – 140. Azarbaijani-Moghaddam, Sippi (2006) Women’s Groups in Afghan Civil Society: Women and Men Working towards Equitable Participation in Civil Society Organizations Counterpart International Azarbaijani-Moghaddam, Sippi et al. (2008) Afghan Hearts, Afghan Minds: Exploring Afghan Perceptions of Civil-Military Relations BAAG ENNA Azarbaijani-Moghaddam, Sippi in Antonio Donini et al (eds) (2004) Nation-Building Unraveled? Aid, Peace and Justice in Afghanistan Barakat, S. et al. (2006) Mid-term Evaluation Report of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), Afghanistan World Bank Barakat, Sultan ed. (2004) Reconstructing War-Torn Societies: Afghanistan Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Beall, J. and S. Schutte (2006) Urban Livelihoods in Afghanistan, part of the Synthesis Series. Kabul, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). Bhatia, M., Lanigan, K., Wilkinson, P. (2004) ‘Minimal Investments, Minimal Results, The Failure of Security Policy in Afghanistan’, AREU Briefing Paper Bhatia, Michael and Sedra, Mark (2008) Afghanistan, Arms and Conflict. Armed Groups, Disarmament and Security in a Post-War Society Routledge. Buddenberg, D. and Byrd, W. editors (2007) ‘Afghanistan’s drug industry, structure, funcionating, dynamics, and implications for counter-narcotics policy’, UNODC and World Bank. Byrd, W, Raiser, M, Dobronogov, A and Kitain, A. (2005) Prospects for Regional Development and Economic Cooperation in the Wider Central Asian Region. Paper prepared for the Kabul Conference on Regional Economic Cooperation. Byrd, W. (2007) ‘Responding to Afghanistan’s Development Challenge, an Assessment of experience during 2002-2007 and issues and priorities for the future’, World Bank. Byrd, W. (2008) ‘Responding to Afghanistan’s Opium Economy Challenge: Lessons and Policy Implications from a Development Perspective’, World Bank. Byrd, W., and Ward, C. (2004) ‘Afghanistan’s Opium Economy’, World Bank

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Byrd, W., and Ward, C. (2004) ‘Drugs and Development in Afghanistan’ Social Development Papers, No. 18 , World Bank Byrd, W, Mansfield, D, Oldham, D, and Ward, C (2008) ‘Afghanistan, Economic Incentives and Development, Initiatives to reduce opium production’, World Bank Central Statistics Office (CSO) & United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (2006) Afghanistan: A Socio-Economic and Demographic Profile, Household Listing, 2003-2005, CSO & UNFPA Collier, P & Hoeffler, A (2001) Greed and grievance in civil war, Washington DC: World Bank Collier, P and Hoeffler (2002) ‘Aid, Policy and Growth in Post-Conflict Societies,’ World Bank (2002) Cramer, Christopher and Jonathan Goodhand (2003) ‘Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better? War, the State, and the ‘Post-Conflict’ Challenge in Afghanistan’, in Milliken, Jennifer (ed.). State Failure, Collapse and Reconstruction, Oxford: Blackwell, pp.131-55. COMTRADE, United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (2008) http://comtrade.un.org/kb/ Cramer, Christopher (2006) Civil War is Not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries, London: C. Hurst (especially Chapter 7). DFID (2006) ‘Asia Fact sheet, Afghanistan’ Dorronsoro (2000) Pakistan and the Taliban: state policy, religious networks and political connections (Paris: CERI). Edwards, David B. (1996) in Heroes of the Age: Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier. University of California Press. Emadi, Hafizullah (1993) Politics of Development and Women in Afghanistan. Paragon House. Gardizi, Manija (2007) Afghans' Experience of Corruptions: A study across eight provinces. Kabul, Integrity Watch Afghanistan. Ghani et al (2005) Working Paper 253, Closing the Sovereignty Gap: an Approach to State-Building, Overseas Development Institute. Giustozzi, Antonio (forthcoming) Empires of Mud Dynamics of Warlordism in Afghanistan, 19802007 Hurst, London. Giustozzi, Antonio (2003) ‘Respectable Warlords? The Politics of State-Building in Post- Taleban Afghanistan’, Crisis States Programme Working Paper, No. 33. Available online at: 31Hhttp://www.crisisstates.com/download/wp/WP33.pdf Giustozzi, Antonio (2005) “The Debate on Warlordism: the Importance of Military Legitimacy”, Discussion Paper No.13, Crisis States Research Centre, DESTIN, London: LSE. Goodhand, Jonathan (2004) ‘Afghanistan in Central Asia’ in Pugh, Michael. Cooper, Neil and Goodhand, Jonathan (2004) War Economies in a regional context: Challenges of transformation, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, 273pp Goodhand, Jonathan (2005) ‘Frontiers and Wars: the opium economy in Afghanistan. Journal of Agarian Change. Vol 5(2), pp. 191-216 Goodhand, Jonathan (2008) ‘Corrupting or Consolidating the Peace? The Drugs Economy and Post Conflict Peacebuilding in Afghanistan’ International Peacekeeping Vol 15, no. 3, pp 405-423. Goodhand, Jonathan and Sedra, Mark (2007) ‘Bribes or Bargains? Peace conditionalities and ‘post conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan’ Journal of International Peacekeeping vol 14, no 1, pp. 4161.

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Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2008. Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Grace, Jo (2005) Who owns the farm? Rural women’s access to land and livestock. Kabul, AREU. Grace & Pain (2004) Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in Afghanistan. Synthesis Paper Series. Kabul, AREU Guistozzi, A (2004) ‘Good State vs. ‘Bad’ Warlords? A Critique of State-Building Strategies in Afghanistan’ Crisis States Programme, Destin, LSE, Working Paper Series No. 1. Guistozzi, A (2004) ‘Good State vs. ‘Bad’ Warlords? A Critique of State-Building Strategies in Afghanistan’ Crisis States Programme, Destin, LSE, Working Paper Series No. 1. Handicap International (2006) The National Disability Survey in Afghanistan (NDSA) Hausmann, R., Rodrik, D. and Velasco, A. (2005) http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~drodrik/barcelonafinalmarch2005.pdf. ‘Growth Diagnostic’,

Ignatius, David (2008) ‘Two Fronts, Same Worries’, The Washington Post, 27 April, p. B07. IMF (2008) Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: 2007 Article IV Consultation IMF (2008) Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Selected Issues IMF (2008) Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Statistical Appendix IMF (2008) Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, Progress Report Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2008) Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Kantor, Paula and Erna Andersen (2008) Microcredit, Informal Credit and Rural Livelihoods: A Village Case Study in Kabul Province AREU Lautze, S., Stites, E., Nojumi, N. and Najimi, F. (2002) Qaht-e-Pool: ‘A Cash Famine’: Food insecurity in Afghanistan, 1999–2002, FIFC, Tufts University, Medford, MA, http://famine.tufts.edu/research/natsios.html Lee, Jonathan (2007) The Performance of Community Water Management Systems AREU Water Management, Livestock and the Opium Economy Series Lister, S., Pain, A. (2004) ‘Trading in Power: The Politics of “Free” Markets in Afghanistan,’ AREU Maley, W., ed. (1998) Fundamentalism reborn. London: Hurst. Maley, William (2002) The Afghanistan Wars Palgrave, London. Maley, William (2008) ‘Looking Back at the Bonn Process’ in Hayes, Geoffrey and Sedra, Mark (eds) (2008) Afghanistan. Mercy Corps (2002) Businesswomen in Kabul: A Study of the Economic Conditions for Female Entrepreneurs Kabul Middlebrook, Peter J & Miller, Sharon, (2006) ‘All Along the Watchtower: Bringing Peace to the Afghan-Pakistan Border’, Middlebrook & Miller, NY, Foreign Policy Futures (FPF), October 10, 2006 Mills, R. and Qimiao, F., (2006) ‘The Investment Climate in Post-conflict situations’, The World Bank Institute MRRD and CSO (2007) ‘The National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment 2005’. National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) (2005), Government of Afghanistan Central Statistics Office (CSO), Kabul. Nixon, Hamish (2007) ‘Aiding the State? International Assistance and the Statebuilding Paradox in

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Afghanistan,’ AREU Briefing Paper. Pain, A. & S. Lautze. (2002) Addressing Livelihoods in Afghanistan AREU Pain, A. (2007) The Diffusion and Spread of Opium In Balkh. Case Study Series. Kabul, AREU. Pain, A. (2008) Opium Poppy and Informal Credit. Issues Paper AREU (forthcoming). Paterson, Anna (2005) ‘Understanding Markets in Afghanistan: A Study of the Market for Petroleum Fuels. Kabul: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. Pinney and Ronchini (2007) Narratives of rehabilitation in Afghan agricultural interventions. Population Action International (2003) The Security Demographic: Population and Civil Conflict after the Cold War. Rasmusson, S. (2004) The current situation of rural finance in Afghanistan, Paper to a Workshop on ‘Rural Finance in Afghanistan. The Challenges of the Opium Economy pp 1-5. Roy, Olivier (1990) Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Roy, Olivier (2001) Islamic Radicalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Geneva: UNHCR); Rubin, Barnett (1988) ‘Lineages of the State in Afghanistan’, Asian Survey 28(11), pp. 1188-1209. Rubin, Barnet (1995) The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press Rubin, Barnett (2000) ‘The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan’, World Development, Vol. 28, No. 10, pp. 1789-1803. Rubin, Barnett and Armstrong, A. (2003) ‘Regional Issues in the Reconstruction of Afghanistan’, World Policy Journal, Spring Rubin, Barnett (2006) ‘Peace Building and State-Building in Afghanistan: constructing sovereignty for whose security?’ Third World Quarterly, vol 27, no. 1, pp 175-185. Rubin, Barnett (2007) ‘Saving Afghanistan’, Foreign Affairs January/February, 2007 Rubin, Barnett & Armstrong, Andrea (2003) ‘Regional Issues in the Reconstruction of Afghanistan’ , World Policy Journal, Spring 2003 Suhrke, Astri (2006) ‘The Limits of Statebuilding: The Role of International Assistance in Afghanistan’ Paper presented at the International Studies Association annual meeting San Diego 2124 March 2006 Suhrke, Astri (2007) ‘Democratization of a Dependent State: The Case of Afghanistan’ WP 2007:10, Chr. Michelsen Institute. Suhrke, Astri (2007) Suhrke, Astri (2007) ‘Reconstruction as Modernisation: the “post-conflict” project in Afghaistan’ Third World Quarterly 28(7), pp.1291-1308 Thier, J. A. (2006) ‘The Crescent and the Gavel’, The New York Times, 26 March 2006. Thier, J. A. (2004) Re-establishing the Judicial System in Afghanistan, CDDRL Working Paper No. 19. UNDP (2007) Afghanistan Human Development Report, 2007. UNFPA Afghanistan – A Socioeconomic and Demographic Profile and Household Listing 2003-2005. UNFPA Afghanistan – A Socioeconomic and Demographic Profile and Household Listing 2003-2005. UNODC (2007) Afghanistan Opium Survey. Urdal (July 2004) The Devil in the Demographics: The Effect of Youth Bulges on Domestic Armed

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Conflict, 1950-2000 The World Bank Social development Papers Conflict prevention and Reconstruction Paper No. 14 Ward, Jeanne and Marsh, Mendy (2006) Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in War and Its Aftermath: Realities, Responses, and Required Resources. UNFPA. Wilder, A (2005) A House Divided? Analysing the 2005 Afghan Elections, AREU, Kabul. Wood & Gough (2006) A Comparative Welfare Regime Approach to Global Social Policy World Development 34 (10) 1696-1712 Wordsworth, Anna (2008) Moving to the Mainstream: Integrating Gender in Afghanistan’s National Policy. World Bank (2004) Trade and Regional Cooperation between Afghanistan and its Neighbours. World Bank (2004) Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan: Mining as a Source of Economic Growth, South Asia Region: World Bank World Bank (2004) Reforming Fiscal and Economic Management in Afghanistan. World Bank (2004) Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan, Mining as a Source of Growth. World Bank (2005) Afghanistan: National Reconstruction and Poverty Reduction – the Role of Women in Afghanistan’s Future. World Bank. World Bank (2005) The Investment Climate in Afghanistan: Exploiting Opportunities in an Uncertain Environment. World Bank (2005) Managing Public Finances for Development, Improving Public Financial Management in the Security Sector. World Bank (2007) World Development Report 2007 – Development and the Next Generation.

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Established in 1993, the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) has pioneered the study of war-torn societies and their recovery

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‘…advancing human security through research, training and dialogue …’

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