Mules, Pick-ups and Container Traffic: Cross-Border Production and Trade and the Shaping of the Political Economy of Nangarhar

Mules, Pick-ups and Container Traffic: Cross-Border Production and Trade and the Shaping of the Political Economy of Nangarhar

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Highlights

Authors David Mansfield
Type Issues Paper
Theme Social Protection and Livelihoods
Language English
Date of Publication July 06, 2020
Total Pages 78
Available In English
Description
In a province like Nangarhar, known for its production of illicit drugs, rich in mineral  deposits, in particular vast amounts of talc, and located in such close proximity to the Pakistan border, rendering it a key gateway for the dramatic expansion in the “transit trade” - goods transited free of duty through Afghanistan’s neighbours - the opportunities for rent extraction are huge.  For example, at the peak of the surge in NATO troop numbers in Afghanistan in 2010 there was as many as 800 container trucks crossing the border at Torkham each day, while a large number of people, pack animals, and an assortment of different types of vehicles crossed the numerous unofficial border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Even in 2019 there were up to sixty container trucks of talc passing through Torkham each day, a total of 2,400 metric tonnes. With commodities moving through the province in such large volumes, the capability to direct and channel trade through preferred chokepoints brings significant rent and favour to political and economic actors in the province and their allies elsewhere.  It is the contention of this working paper that knowledge of where these chokepoints are, who they are controlled by, what commodities are transported through them, and the rules that govern the amount of rent paid, is critical to understanding the interests that underpin the political-economy of the province, particularly as the country tries to move towards peace.

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