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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

Briefing Note on Fieldwork in Kandahar Province, December 2015 – January 2016: Opium Poppy and Rural Livelihoods

This briefing note provides initial observations from fieldwork conducted between 14 December 2015 and 8 January 2016 in ten field sites within Arghandab, Panjwai, and Zharai Districts of Kandahar Province. In 2014/15, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs Read More

Briefing note on fieldwork in Balkh Province, May 2015 Opium poppy and rural livelihoods

The following notes describe very initial findings from fieldwork done in ten villages in Balkh Province’s Chimtal and Char Bolak Districts during the first two weeks of May 2015. Located west of Mazar-e Sharif, these areas have been counted among Read More

Despair or Hope: Rural Livelihoods and Opium Poppy Dynamics in Afghanistan

AREU conducted field research in Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand and Nangarhar Provinces during the three agricultural years from 2010-11 to 2012-13, to explore the dynamics of opium poppy cultivation: the history of government policies and programmes and the ways in which 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

Evolving Terrain: Opium Poppy Cultivation in Balkh and Badakhshan Provinces in 2013

It is generally assumed that there will be significant increases in the level of opium poppy cultivation after the critical year 2014, when international military combat forces will withdraw and Afghanistan will select its next president. In 2012-13, at the 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

Balkh’s Economy in Transition

This Issues Paper extends beyond the more common conversation concerning Transition and its effect on the security and government, to that on the economy. Based on field work conducted between September 2012 and May 2013 in Balkh, the paper offers Read More

A Little Bit Poppy-free and a Little Bit Eradicated: Opium poppy cultivation in Balkh and Badakhshan Provinces in 2011-2012

This Case Study is based on field research carried out in May 2012 which focused on individual household decision-making and the economic, social, and political contexts in which those decisions are made, placing opium poppy cultivation in the broader livelihoods, Read More