Home Where we Work Afghanistan

The Afghanistan research programme

Attempts to engineer a social transformation and shift Afghanistan from its existing social order to one more reflective of Western norms have largely failed to take root and, if anything, have helped consolidate a rule of patronage and personalised relationships. A significant part of this failure can be attributed to conflict between irreconcilable goals and means in relation to fighting terrorism, addressing insurgency, responding to the opium economy and liberal state building, and the effects these have had in terms of muddling objectives and practices on the development agenda. But a goodly part of the mess can also be attributed to conflicting cultures, goals and practices between donors.

The Afghanistan research programme seeks to generate usable evidence on livelihoods, service delivery and social protection that will help inform better modes of international engagement in Afghanistan.

This research programme will be guided by three research themes:

  1. Context analysis and responding to village preconditions in service delivery
  2. Service delivery and capacity building of regional social orders
  3. Economic life and livelihood trajectories

More information

The team

Our Afghanistan research programme is being led by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) based in Kabul, Afghanistan.


Contact us

AREU, PO Box 3169, Shahr-i-Naw Post Office, Ministry of Interior Road, Shahr-i-Naw, Kabul, Afghanistan

Tel: +93 (0)799 608 548

Website: http://www.areu.org.af/

E-mail: slrc@odi.org.uk

Title Author Summary Country Date
Mapping village variability in Afghanistan: The use of cluster analysis to construct village typologies Adam Pain and Georgina Sturge This working paper investigates whether or not village typologies can be constructed with respect to the behaviour of village elites in Afghanistan. More specifically we examine patterns of land use and land ownership, pre-existing governance structures, and the presence of elites within the village. Drawing on data from Nangarhar and Badakhshan and using cluster analysis, this paper demonstrates that there are distinct types of villages and suggests what some of the underlying causal factors of this variation might be. Afghanistan 18/05/2015
The informal regulation of the onion market in Nangarhar, Afghanistan Giulia Minoia, Wamiqullah Mumatz and Adam Pain This briefing paper is based on a study on the onion market which investigates how one agricultural commodity market works and the ways in which social relationships govern access to the market in terms of information, credit, trading costs, returns and risks. Afghanistan 28/01/2015
Politics and Governance in Afghanistan: Nangarhar Province Ashley Jackson This briefing paper seeks to comprehend the local context and highlight the shortcomings of development and governance interventions in Afghanistan, Nangarhar. In an effort to understand the power relations at play, it explores subnational governance and access to public goods. Afghanistan 28/01/2015
Labour markets, social inequality and the tailors of Kabul Richard Mallett and Adam Pain How do labour markets actually work in insecure and dynamic contexts? This briefing paper looks at the experiences of young women and men working in the tailoring sector of Kabul, Afghanistan. Tailoring employs more women than any other sector in urban Afghanistan, and it is also the fourth largest employer of men living in urban areas. It therefore offers an ideal opportunity for gendered labour market analysis. Afghanistan 28/01/2015
The social life of the onion: the informal regulation of the onion market in Nangarhar, Afghanistan Giulia Minoia, Wamiqullah Mumatz and Adam Pain Onion production in Afghanistan has been expanding rapidly and is seen as a potential alternative crop to opium poppy, offering comparable financial returns. This paper, based on evidence from the rural onion economy in Nangarhar, challenges the assumption that poor access to credit is holding the market back. Policy makers thinking about market expansion should pay more attention to interpersonal connections, and how they relate to technical interventions, based on traditional economic knowledge. Afghanistan 25/11/2014
Gender, youth and urban labour market participation: evidence from the tailoring sector in Kabul, Afghanistan Adam Pain and Richard Mallett This study looks at young women’s and men’s experiences in Kabul’s tailoring labour market, with a particular focus on: 1) how young women and men acquire skills and enter the urban labour market in the first place, particularly in light of the highly gendered nature of boundaries between public and private space; 2) what the nature, terms and limits of their labour market participation look like; and 3) whether participation in that urban labour market is working for or against them. Afghanistan 03/07/2014
Politics and Governance in Afghanistan: the Case of Nangarhar Province Ashley Jackson This paper aims to look at subnational governance and access to public goods. It seeks to understand the power relations at play, attempting to separate how government functions in reality from narratives created by the international community about how governance systems should function. Afghanistan 19/06/2014
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Afghanistan Adam Pain This working paper examines the links between livelihoods, service delivery and social protection interventions in Afghanistan and how poor people seek to make a living and scrutinises the causal models or ‘theories of change’ that underpin such interventions. Afghanistan 03/09/2012