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  • Author: Hamdullah Mohib
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan of today would surprise most outsiders, even those who closely follow developments in the country. We are often wrongly branded as a failing state with a struggling government whose young people are fleeing en masse for Europe and whose military has lost control of the security situation. While anecdotal evidence can always be found to lend isolated support to such claims, this sweeping characterization offers a distorted picture of reality.
  • Topic: Security, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan ORBAT (PDF) describes the location and area of responsibility of all American units in Afghanistan, down to the battalion level, updated as of February 2016..
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2014, the US President and Secretary of Defense announced the formal end to Operation Enduring Freedom, its combat mission in Afghanistan, which had begun in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. They also stated that the US would begin its follow-on mission, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, at the start of 2015.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Defense Policy, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: Javed Noorani
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources, the value of which has been roughly estimated at as much as $1 trillion. The country may, however, be following a “paradox of plenty” path in tendering its mining sector to private investors. The risk is not insignificant. An unfortunate legacy of decades of internal conflict is the entrenchment and perpetuation of powerful political elites both in Kabul and in the provinces, which extends to the mining sector. The mining sector in Afghanistan today is characterized by irregularities and lack of transparency in the tender process, influence peddling, beneficial ownership of mining contracts by politically connected interests, unfulfilled legal and contractual requirements, and sub-stantial loss of government revenue. Despite provisions in the Mineral Law of 2010 and its 2014 revision, responsible government entities have largely failed to effectively regulate and monitor the mining sector. Companies have not been paying their financial dues for years and generally do not meet contractual provisions for either funding local development or responding to complaints and grievances from local communities, yet continue to operate with an absurd level of impunity. What is needed—in sum—is to develop a strategic long-term vision, including knowledge driven development of the mining sector, more mineral processing within Afghanistan, integration with other sectors of the economy, revised and expanded legislation, a recentralized licensing system, transparency in the tender process, due diligence, a mechanism for revenue and tax collection, NEPA review, and an involved and educated civil society.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Insisting that the Taliban accept the Afghan constitution is understandable insofar as the risks that peace talks could pose to Afghanistan's post-2001 achievements. Nonetheless, a periodic assessment of this condition is healthy, especially given the human toll of the ongoing insurgency and acknowledged shortcomings in the charter. To help Afghans make an informed choice on this dilemma, lessons can be drawn from other countries currently in talks to end decades-long insurgencies. Understanding the Taliban's possible constitutional demands as well as the Afghan constitution's amendment rules is also necessary. A comparison of the Afghan constitution and the Taliban's 2005 Order of the Islamic Emirate provides clues on what changes the movement might seek. The Taliban also have an over-arching “ownership problem” with the constitution because of their exile from Afghan political life at the time it was drafted. Key divergences between the Taliban order and the constitution relate to the sources of legitimacy for government and laws and marked differences on women's and minority rights. The two documents also contain more overlap than might be assumed. The Afghan constitution requires public input on proposed amendments through the convening of a popular assembly, or loya jirga. The constitution further designates fundamental aspects of the political system and Afghans' rights as unamendable. These rules could be strategically applied to constrain Taliban efforts to use negotiations to completely remake the current constitutional order. Debate over peace talks with the Taliban has tended to be framed in terms of potential risks. Negotiations could also present an opportunity to challenge the Taliban to justify some of its more unpopular constitutional positions to other Afghans and, in the best case, to help the Afghan government seize the political high ground.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Ben Leo, Robert Morello, Jonathan Mellon, Tiago Peixoto, Stephen Davenport
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In this project, we analyzed whether mobile phone-based surveys are a feasible and cost-effective approach for gathering statistically representative information in four low-income countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe). Specifically, we focused on three primary research questions. First, can the mobile phone survey platform reach a nationally representative sample? Second, to what extent does linguistic fractionalization affect the ability to produce a representative sample? Third, how effectively does monetary compensation impact survey completion patterns? We find that samples from countries with higher mobile penetration rates more closely resembled the actual population. After weighting on demographic variables, sample imprecision was a challenge in the two lower feasibility countries (Ethiopia and Mozambique) with a sampling error of +/- 5 to 7 percent, while Zimbabwe's estimates were more precise (sampling error of +/- 2.8 percent). Surveys performed reasonably well in reaching poor demographics, especially in Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Rural women were consistently under-represented in the country samples, especially in Afghanistan and Ethiopia. Countries' linguistic fractionalization may influence the ability to obtain nationally representative samples, although a material effect was difficult to discern through penetration rates and market composition. Although the experimentation design of the incentive compensation plan was compromised in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, it seems that offering compensation for survey completion mitigated attrition rates in several of the pilot countries while not reducing overall costs. These effects varied across countries and cultural settings.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
  • Author: Aarya Nijat, Jennifer Murtazashvili
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the days after September 11, the international community’s desire to “rescue” Afghan women from their social, political, and economic fate was key to mobilizing global support to topple the Taliban regime. Since then, the Afghan government and the international community have invested vast resources seeking to improve the status of women in the country, primarily through programs to support women leaders in politics, business, and civil society. Drawn on interviews and focus group discussions with more than two hundred people, this report seeks to understand factors that contribute to the emergence of women leaders by identifying and assessing the past decade and a half’s efforts to promote women’s leadership.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Politics, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Peyton Cooke, Casey Johnson, Reza Fazli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Youth recruitment into extremist groups in Afghanistan continues to be a major source of group building. In field studies and interviews conducted in three provinces to elicit views on extremist groups, both violent and nonviolent, and factors thought to induce youth to join such groups, violent extremist groups emerged as unpopular and mistrusted, being perceived as un-Islamic and controlled by foreign powers. Nonetheless, the activities and ideologies of such groups have not been effectively countered by the government of Afghanistan, civil society, or the international community. Programs to counter extreme violence should emphasize the Islamic basis of Afghan civil law, accommodate local differences, and be conducted in partnership with moderate voices and youth, with international organizations remaining in the background
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Terrorism, International Affairs, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Paul Fishstein , Murtaza Edries Amiryar
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The general expectation among Afghans after the fall of the Taliban was that the state, equipped with financial resources and technical assistance from the international community, would once again take the lead in the economic sphere. Instead, Kabul adopted a market economy. The move remains controversial in some quarters. This report, derived from interviews conducted in 2015 and 2010, takes stock of the competing ideologies in Afghanistan today with respect to the economy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The al-Qaeda presence in the Pech valley is greater now than when U.S. forces arrived in 2002, and counterterrorism efforts in the region continue. This report looks at U.S. military involvement in the Pech valley and the lessons it offers both the Afghan National Security Forces and the U.S. military. It is derived from interviews with some three hundred Americans and Afghans, including general officers, unit commanders, members of parliament, district and provincial governors, Afghan interpreters and U.S. and Afghan combat veterans.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia