Tag: Afghanistan

Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a […]

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Book Review: Can Intervention Work? Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus

We’ve had some great speakers at the LSE this year, but Rory Stewart was top of the pops, according to the students’ evaluations. He rocked up at LSE, despite having just been reshuffled to Minister for Prisons, spoke without notes, and blew everyone away. Alas, he insisted on it being off the record, so I […]

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Links I Liked

Powerful, harrowing photo essay of Syrian refugee children asleep. Suffragettes v suffragists. Nice movie, shame about the (lack of) theory of change – it was really the suffragists wot won it Oxfam America takes on Big Chicken in the US, using leader/laggard tactics to push for a better deal for 250,000 workers and getting some […]

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How not to run an aid programme: Afghanistan

  ‘The American marine captain [Patrick Lavoie – see pic] only has to step out of his base to be overwhelmed by turbaned men anxious to be his best friend. All along the main road they try to catch his eye and beg him for money to spruce up their shops. As part of his […]

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Why militarizing aid in Afghanistan is a bad idea

Along with several other international NGOs working in Afghanistan, Oxfam last week published a powerful paper on the damage being caused by the militarization of aid. In many ways it resembles the debate on how to ensure that Haitian reconstruction builds, rather than undermines, its battered state. In the last half hour, one Afghan woman […]

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Can states be built?

Do you read Prospect magazine? If not, why not? I don’t always agree with it, but it gets the intellectual juices flowing. The current (June) issue includes a counterintuitive piece on food prices (high prices do not increase global hunger – I disagree), a brilliant essay arguing that video games foster collaboration, not individualism, and best of all, a great, angry blast on how the wrong kind of aid has failed to build effective states, and has in fact often undermined them.

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Fixing Failed States

Just finished the book of this title by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart. It left me with a mixture of excitement and frustration – excitement because it sets out some good ideas on state-building, frustration because it doesn’t quite live up to the title and is sloppily edited, with whole chunks repeated verbatim, wandering narrative […]

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