Understanding ‘War and Peace’ in Afghanistan Today: Will planned military withdrawal usher peace in Afghanistan?

There is an emerging trend among international counter insurgency (COIN) experts to claim that Afghanistan was a ‘mission impossible’ in terms of national building endeavors. Others contend that after a planned US withdrawal in 2014 (which will likely trigger a quick EU/NATO exit) a devastating civil war will be the fate of Afghanistan, leading to another Taliban rise. These negative assumptions have created a dismal future scenario. Many analysts, writers and even policy experts are now more inclined to accept war and conflict as a new normal in Afghanistan. Even hopelessness has crept in. Consequently, policy makers in important capitals of the world are now thinking more in terms of ‘crisis management’ rather than ‘conflict resolution’. This approach is counterproductive and even self-defeating

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Re-Framing the Debate: Central Helmand in the 2011-2012 Growing Season

The dramatic reduction in opium poppy cultivation that has been achieved in the canal command area of central Helmand since 2008 is unsustainable. The absence of viable alternatives across much of the canal command area is fuelling resentment towards the government and resulting in both the relocation of production and those most disadvantaged by the ban into the former desert land north of the Boghra canal. High opium prices are exacerbating this process and establishing the economic incentives for the expansion of opium poppy cultivation into the area during the 2011/12 growing season.

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