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  • 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: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: In the poorest countries, such as Afghanistan, Haiti, and Mali, the United States has struggled to work with governments whose corruption and lack of capacity are increasingly seen to be the cause of instability and poverty. The development and security communities call for "good governance" to improve the rule of law, democratic accountability, and the delivery of public goods and services. The United States and other rich liberal democracies insist that this is the only legitimate model of governance. Yet poor governments cannot afford to govern according to these ideals and instead are compelled to rely more heavily on older, cheaper strategies of holding power, such as patronage and repression. The unwillingness to admit that poor governments do and must govern differently has cost the United States and others inestimable blood and coin. Informed by years of fieldwork and drawing on practitioner work and academic scholarship in politics, economics, law, and history, this book explains the origins of poor governments in the formation of the modern state system and describes the way they govern. It argues that, surprisingly, the effort to stigmatize and criminalize the governance of the poor is both fruitless and destabilizing. The United States must pursue a more effective foreign policy to engage poor governments and acknowledge how they govern.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Corruption, Development, Poverty, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Haiti, Mali
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231171205
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Some say reviving the Afghan economy in a time of intensifying violent conflict and declining external financial inflows will be impossible. Expectations need to be kept modest, and measures must go beyond conventional economic approaches in order to be effective. This brief puts forward some outside-the-box ideas, which, combined with greater government effectiveness and, hopefully, reductions in violent conflict, may help turn the economy around.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections in 2014, many young people are vocal about how the system appears to limit their meaningful participation in politics. Historically, young people in Afghanistan have challenged the status quo. However, it is possible to detect a declining trend from the early twentieth century to the present in the extent to which these challenges have been able to effect change in the political system. This trend has continued despite the technology and social media available to youth today, as the older generation of political leaders continues to monopolize the available political space and act as gatekeepers to that space.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Youth Culture, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Gerald F. Hyman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama announced that by the end of 2014 "our war in Afghanistan will be over" and, a month earlier, that "by the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete—Afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end." The military transition, successful or not, is in full swing. Of course the war will not come to an end in 2014, responsible or otherwise. Even if the military drawdown goes as planned, "America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change," the president said. On the military side, our enduring commitment will focus on training, equipping, and funding the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and "some counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates," presumably the Taliban. As the United States draws down, so too will the remaining coalition countries of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Catherine Powell
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The significant gains that Afghan women and girls have made since the 2001 U.S.-led military invasion and overthrow of the Taliban are endangered. Presidential elections and possible peace efforts with the Taliban raise uncertainties about whether the future leadership in Afghanistan will protect gender equality. Further, President Barack Obama's plan to completely draw down U.S. troops in the country by the end of 2016 risks withdrawing critical security protection, which has provided Afghan women and girls with increased safety and opportunities to participate in education, employment, the health system, politics, and civil society. With these political and security transitions underway, the United States should act now, in coordination with Afghanistan and its partners, to cement and extend the gains and prevent reversal.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Human Rights, Islam, Culture, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Sarah Stern, Anna Mitri
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: With the end of the ISAF mandate, Afghanistan will enter the "de-cade of transformation" in late 2014, and assume security for and within the country. The challenges with regard to security and governance are obvious; they attract much political and public attention.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Casey Garret Johnson, William A. Byrd, Sanaullah Tasal
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The still unsigned Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States provides the legal basis for continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In addition to its substantive importance, the BSA is also a confidence-building mechanism. The delay in putting it in place is compounding uncertainty and further diminishing economic confidence during Afghanistan's already challenging and uncertain transition. Afghans' responses include, among others, hedging behavior (legal and illegal), personal decisions on whether to come back to or stay in Afghanistan, delays in investments, incipient job losses, declining demand for goods and services and real estate prices, and farmers planting more opium poppy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Democratization, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Michael Semple
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Taliban Movement has publicly rejected the legitimacy of the April 2014 elections. The Taliban's military leadership has issued instructions to officials and commanders to disrupt the elections but has left field commanders with wide discretion on how to go about doing so. Many in the Taliban follow the electoral contest closely and comment on developments in terms very similar to how they are described by the political and educated class in Kabul. However, the anti-election sentiment in the Taliban leaves no scope for any faction to cooperate with the process. The Taliban will likely be able to intensify violence approaching the election, but not sufficiently to derail the overall process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Steph Cousins, Liz Cameron
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: As Afghanistan prepares for Presidential elections and the withdrawal of international forces, insecurity is continuing to spread across the country with a devastating impact on civilians. UNAMA's role in advancing human rights, supporting humanitarian access and promoting peace and reconciliation efforts – particularly as they relate to the women, peace and security agenda in Afghanistan – must be strengthened in order to ensure the significant gains that have been made in the last decade are not lost.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Government, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Provincial Councils (PCs) represent one of the best hopes for the future of local democracy in Afghanistan. Yet since their shaky formation in 2005, they continue to be overlooked by international actors preferring to interact with parliamentarians, ministers and appointed governors. The significance assigned by Afghans to winning PC seats has steadily increased over the last decade. Indeed, for many, the April 5 PC elections will do more than the presidential poll to determine whether democratic practices continue to take root in local politics. PC elections offer a chance to build local, personal ties and accountability mechanisms connecting to increasingly centralized government resources, and, in particular, an opportunity for a new generation of young, motivated Afghans to begin their political careers. As the locally-visible manifestation of the Afghan political system, PCs are the immediate face of democracy—or a lack thereof—for many Afghans. In 2009, with most news stories covering the widespread fraud in the presidential contest, the uproar over the fraud and delay throughout the PC polling process rarely received coverage on newspaper front pages. Yet those problems contributed significantly to people's sense of alienation and disillusionment with their country's political actors and electoral institutions. In spite of these experiences, Afghans are once again preparing to go to the polls. Voters, candidates, parties and local organizations are putting greater emphasis than ever on the process of provincial council polling—expressing concern about the prospects for fraud, mobilizing around their candidates and campaigning in earnest. If due attention to the process is not paid by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and by international agencies, popular participation in future elections could drop. Prospects for Afghan democratization will depend much on how these and future provincial-level elections are conducted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Demographics, Development, Islam, Politics, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health has prioritized reproductive, maternal and child health by increasing access to a range of family planning methods, introducing education on reproductive health issues in schools, and working with the religious community to counter stigma on family planning.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Gender Issues, Health, Human Welfare, Social Movement, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The more one looks at the current situation in Afghanistan today, the more likely it seems that Transition will at best produce a weak and divided state and at worst a state that either continues its civil war or comes under Taliban and extremist control. More than a decade of Western intervention has not produced a strong and viable central government, an economy that can function without massive outside aid, or effective Afghan forces. There is no sign that insurgents are being pushed towards defeat or will lose their sanctuaries in Pakistan. This has made every aspect of Transition is a high-risk effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US is already at least six months behind in shaping an effective Transition in Afghanistan. It has not laid credible plans for the security, governance, and economic aspects of Transition. It has not made its level of future commitment clear to its allies or the Afghans, and it has failed dismally to convince the Congress and the American people that there is a credible reason to support Transition beyond the end of 2014.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Islam, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Patricia A. Gossman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In Afghanistan, the social upheaval resulting from thirty-five years of war has created widely differing narratives of the conflict as various communities and political factions have reconstructed events through the lens of their experiences. Extensive dislocation of large segments of the population and poor communication throughout the war years meant that Afghans often had no way of knowing what was happening in different parts of the country. Although the war had several phases, earlier transitions—such as the collapse of the Najibullah government in 1992—failed to provide an opportunity for investigations into past human rights abuses because the conflict was ongoing. As a consequence, documentation remains thin. Conditions have made it difficult for human rights groups to function; additionally, many records have been either lost or destroyed. Since 2001, a number of initiatives were launched to investigate and document war crimes and human rights abuses. The relative openness of this period provided increased opportunities to document ongoing abuses occurring in the context of the Taliban insurgency and counterinsurgency effort. The most ambitious components of transitional justice, as envisioned by Afghan organizations and their international partners, however, appear to be indefinitely stalled given the failure of electoral vetting and the silencing of an Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission report that would have mapped all abuses in the three decades of conflict. No single report or archive can provide a definitive truth about the past. Such an archive, however, can serve, however imperfectly, as vital evidence in the effort to understand the complex array of factors that have played a part in conflict. Better documentation and access to other narratives could provide a counterweight to narrow or politically motivated interpretations of past events that could seed future conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As the presidential election approaches in 2014, with the security transition at the year's end, Afghan women, including parliamentarians and rights activists, are concerned that the hard-won political, economic and social gains achieved since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001 may be rolled back or conceded in negotiations with the insurgents. Afghanistan's stabilisation ultimately rests on the state's accountability to all its citizens, and respect for constitutional, legal and international commitments, including to human rights and gender equality. There will be no sustainable peace unless there is justice, and justice demands that the state respect and protect the rights of women, half its population.
  • Topic: NATO, Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Sadaf Lakhani
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: While Afghanistan's economy has experienced strong growth in the past decade, declining levels of overseas development assistance beginning in 2014 are expected to substantially reduce the country's economic growth rate, with attendant political implications.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Natural Resources, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Zekria Barakzai
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The constitution of Afghanistan, though formally enshrining the internationally recognized standards of a “free, universal, secret, and direct vote” for elected institutions, is a flawed document with respect to many aspects of the electoral process. Deficiencies in the electoral legislation have been addressed. For the first time, the legislation governing the polls has been adopted by parliament rather than issued by decree. In addition, the commissioners for both the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) are appointed through a consultative process involving the legislature and judiciary, and not simply by presidential appointment as was the case previously.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Development, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Karsten Friis
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In a way, one could consider Norway a typical example of a small International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partner in Afghanistan, with 400 troops at its disposal and responsible for one of the 26 provincial reconstruction teams (PRT). Norway is a signatory to the Atlantic Pact and a staunch North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member. At the same time, the people and the government of Norway — like those in many European countries — share reservations about the extraterritorial use of military force. They consider Norway to be a "peace-nation," a small state without strategic global interests. Norwegian foreign policy favors the multilateral institutional approach, providing stability and predictability through the United Nations (UN). The government of Norway has to balance military needs with civilian demands for humanitarian aid and the support of human rights — in particular women's rights. In Afghanistan, Norwegian civilian aid priorities included the strengthening of Afghan governance capacities, rule of law, education, and rural development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Norway
  • Author: Tobias Ellwood
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's future remains bleak. After a painful decade, all must now admit that Plan A (as outlined in the Bonn Accord1 and confirmed in the Afghan constitution has yet to create the necessary foundations for stability. Much of the international community privately acknowledges the gloomy outlook and now seeks a decent interval of stability after 2014 to distance itself from the responsibility for what might happen next as global attention turns to the jihadist threat in the Sahel region of Africa.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa
  • Author: Vivek S. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: CORRUPTION, MORE often than not, seems to resemble a plague. Afghanistan, where the CIA and British intelligence (in competition with the Iranians) have quite literally been handing over duffel bags stuffed full with taxpayer money to Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and his associates, is perhaps the most prominent example of its invasiveness and hardiness. Nothing seems to be able to eradicate it. Immunization efforts fail. Mutations occur. The only course seems to be to attempt to adapt to it. For despite the efforts expended by several American presidents on behalf of Karzai's administration, the United States has no surer way of ensuring influence and access to Karzai and his advisers than through direct cash payments into a slush fund designed to purchase the loyalty of important and powerful personages within the Afghan government. The bankruptcy of the Western strategy in Afghanistan could hardly be expressed in more vivid terms. Such failures in Afghanistan, not to mention Iraq, have occurred while the broader (and noncoercive) dimensions of "state building" or more generally "development" have also paid less-than-stellar returns. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the project of implanting "good" institutions in non-Western societies, whether through conquest (as in Iraq and Afghanistan) or through consensual, noncoercive means (as in Cambodia), has turned out to be a thankless task.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Denmark
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Massive amounts of money flowing into Afghanistan since 2001 (foreign military spending, aid, domestic revenues, opium profits, land takeovers and development, informal mineral exploitation, theft of funds such as at Kabul Bank) have had profound political economy impacts, not least by further entrenching factionalized politics and fragmented patronage networks. The ongoing transition involving the drawdown of international troops and Afghan takeover of security responsibilities will be accompanied by drastic declines in international military expenditures and aid. Total resources for patronage will fall sharply; the Afghan government's share in remaining funds will increase; declines will be greatest at local levels, especially in insecure areas in the south/east which had heavy international military presence and high aid; and drug money will become increasingly important. At lower levels of patronage, competition over declining resources may intensify, so even in the absence of major armed conflict at the national level, localized conflicts may continue and even proliferate, aggravated by taking revenge and “settling accounts” by currently excluded and marginalized groups.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, Economics, Islam, Foreign Aid, Narcotics Trafficking, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Steven E. Steiner
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Ongoing dialogues and forums on nations in transition reinforce the commonality of challenges related to women's rights and roles in society, especially leadership in government. Women leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Arab Spring countries face major challenges, including heightened insecurity and the risk of women's rights being rolled back significantly. Steps to address these challenges are to build coalitions across internal divides, engage male religious leaders and other men to support women's rights, reach out to youth, develop gender-based budgeting, and underscore the importance of women's economic empowerment. Keys to progress in these areas include obtaining grassroots support and taking a long-term strategic focus in international programs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues, Government, Labor Issues, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Arabia
  • Author: Henrik Larsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Afghanistan forced NATO to undergo a long adaptive process to be able to operate in an unprecedented and harsh strategic theater. It differed fundamentally from NATO's previous peacekeeping missions in the Balkans because the traditional division of labor between civilian and military efforts could not be maintained in practice. The UN state building agenda (Afghanistan Compact) tied NATO specifically to the security pillar throughout the country, which proved to be a gross underestimation of the actual resources required for such an effort. NATO contributors initially preferred a "light footprint" approach with a limited number of boots on the ground to avoid repeating the Soviet Union's negative experience. It proved inefficient, however, and warlords and power brokers did not demobilize and arbitrate disputes through Western-style elections and centralized institutions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Development, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Korea