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Understanding Control and Influence: What Opium Poppy and Tax Reveal about the Writ of the Afghan State

There are a number of organisations that have sought to map government control in Afghanistan.1 However, given the frequency it is cited in the media and official reports, this paper offers a critique of the current way that North Atlantic Read More

Time to Move on-Developing an Informed Development Response to Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan

After almost 15 years since the fall of the Taliban, the policy discussion on counternarcotics remains uncertain of which way to proceed. In large part, this is because policy discussion is shaped by a superficial or misguided understanding of opium Read More

Moving with the Times: How Opium Poppy Cultivation has Adapted to the Changing Environment in Afghanistan

This “watching brief” has described a number of trends with respect to agriculture, land settlement, and opium poppy in several areas of Afghanistan. It highlights two separate but highly related issues. First, what will be farmers’ response to changes in Read More

A State Built on Sand: How Opium Undermined Afghanistan

A State Built on Sand: How Opium Undermined Afghanistan by renowned author, David Mansfield, examines why drug control has been imposed in Afghanistan and portrays an intimate understanding of rural Afghanistan, where he has worked for close to two decades. Read More

The Devil is in the Details: Nangarhar’s continued decline into insurgency, violence and widespread drug production

Nangarhar – a province that historically has been one of the major entry points for the capture of Kabul – is in complete disarray. It lies in chaos, riven by a process of political fragmentation that has increased in both Read More

Helmand on the Move: Migration as a Response to Crop Failure

This paper provides an account of how the shift in security provision from a combined ISAF and ANSF operation to one driven by local actors has impacted upon a number of different locations in central Helmand. It is based on Read More

Despair or Hope? Opium Poppy Cultivation in post-2014 Afghanistan

Like so much else in Afghanistan, the direction that the opium economy takes after 2014 will depend on a complex matrix of factors.Those who despair point to the more than one-third increase in cultivation, with a new high in 2013. Read More

“From Bad They Made It Worse” The concentration of opium poppy in areas of conflict in the provinces of Helmand and Nangarhar

Levels of drug crop cultivation have long been seen as an indicator of the success or failure of counternarcotics efforts. However, to rely on this indicator is to misunderstand the socioeconomic and political processes that support farmers moving out of Read More

EYES WIDE SHUT: Counter-Narcotics in Transition

It is now clear that the production and trade of opiates will have a significant influence on not only the economic, political and security landscape, but even the physical terrain of post-Transition Afghanistan. Levels of opium poppy cultivation are already Read More

All Bets are Off! Prospects for (B)reaching Agreements and Drug Control in Helmand and Nangarhar in the run up to Transition

The issue of illicit drug production has largely fallen off the policy agenda in Afghanistan. In addition to the increasing focus on the part of Afghanistan’s foreign partners on an exit strategy, this has been to a considerable extent due Read More