War Economy Essay

1943 Words 8 Pages
War Economy

The 20-year old Afghan conflict has created an open war economy, affecting Afghanistan and surrounding areas. Not only has Afghanistan become the world’s largest opium producer and a center for arms dealing, but it supports a multi-billion dollar trade in goods smuggled from Dubai to Pakistan. This criminalized economy funds both the Taliban and their adversaries. It has transformed social relations and weakened states and legal economies throughout the region. Sustainable peace will require not just an end to fighting and a political agreement but a regional economic transformation that provides alternative forms of livelihood and promotes accountability.

The pursuit of politics through both peaceful and
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Transformation of this criminalized war economy is thus essential not only to Afghanistan but to neighboring regions. The economic and political stability of Pakistan, in particular, is threatened by phenomena associated with the political economy of war in Afghanistan, but the phenomena also reach into Iran, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and Central Asia, and, through the drug trade, into Russia, Europe, and North America.

The pre-war society of Afghanistan cannot be reconstructed, but today’s structures developed from transformations of that fragile and fragmented society. Furthermore, in the event that political conditions permit an attempt at reconstruction, an understanding of prewar social, economic, and political relations is necessary if Afghans and international actors are to avoid replicating or even magnifying dysfunctional features of the system that proved so vulnerable to external intervention and institutional collapse (Rubin, 1995a).

In the 1970s Afghanistan had an economy and society bifurcated between a rural, largely subsistence economy and an urban economy dependent…