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Opium, Eradiction, and Transition: Observing Helmand and Nangarhar.
(KABUL) - With the transition inching closer everyday and eradication season oncoming, David Mansfield’s latest work on opium in Afghanistan could not have appeared at a more critical time. David alerts policymakers and development experts alike of the complexity of recent reductions in opium poppy cultivation. David’s work, evidence-based and nuanced, does not simply compare Helmand to Nangarhar, but offers deep insight using what James Scott refers to as state and non-state space within each province.
The paper is immersed in opium, and contextualized to the socioeconomic and political processes that shape opium eradication and is shaped by opium cultivation. David’s visits to the provinces of Helmand and Nangarhar, built upon years of research, reveal that extending the reach of the Afghan state and expanding the opium ban to areas that have traditionally experienced less government engagement has resulted in unpleasant and counterproductive consequences. It has: hampered state formation; fueled rural discontent; and, presented new opportunities for the insurgency - three features that will need acute attention if eradication and a smooth transition are both to be pursued at this ominous point leading to the Transformation Decade.
All Bets Are Off! Prospects for (B)reaching Agreements and Drug Control in Helmand and Nangarhar in the run up to Transition is available for download at www.areu.org.af.
Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit is an independent research organisation based in Kabul. AREU's mission is to conduct high-quality research that informs and influences policy and practice. AREU also actively promotes a culture of research and learning by strengthening analytical capacity in Afghanistan and facilitating reflection and debate. Fundamental to AREU’s vision is that its work should improve Afghan lives. AREU was established in 2002 by the assistance community working in Afghanistan.
For more information, please contact:
The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit
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