12 May Baztab
The Rise & Fall of the Deserts of Southwest Afghanistan & its Impact on Migration, Poppy and Stability
The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has recently published its recent synthesis paper, “When the Water Runs Out: The Rise (and Inevitable fall) of the Deserts of Southwest Afghanistan and its Impact on Migration, Poppy and Stability”. This paper was written by the AREU lead expert on opium and rural livelihoods, Dr. David Mansfield, and financially supported by the European Union (EU). This paper is part of the EU three-pronged research effort into essential areas of Natural Resources Management (NRM) project.
The paper is based on fieldwork conducted over a ten-year period, using high-resolution remote imagery and in depth fieldwork charts, looking into the processes that led to the encroachment, settlement and transformation of the deserts of the southwest. The paper has explained how patterns of migration to these areas varied over time and by location as well as detailing how these once barren landscapes have been transformed into areas of permanent settlement. The question of how this rapid transformation of the former desert areas has affected the population residing there and the threats to the long-terms viability of their livelihoods have also been documented in the paper.