Drugs and development in Afghanistan
Vol. 2, no. 1, pages 42-52
University College Utrecht
How does opium cultivation affect development in Afghanistan? This paper argues opium cultivation strengthens insurgency groups and as a result threatens state-building and government authority; essential ingredients for successful development. I analyse this relationship by using data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) Georeferenced Event Dataset, which includes geocoded data about fatalities as a result of the ongoing fights between pro-government forces and opposition forces, Long War Journal’s data on Taliban presence, and the UNODC Opium Survey, which tracks the opium cultivation in Afghanistan, in order to investigate the effects of opium cultivation of political (in)stability. This paper adds to the existing literature by quantifying the relationship between opium cultivation and development, demonstrating a need to move beyond our current understanding of political instability by recognizing insurgency control, although perhaps stable and constant, is harmful to political stability in both other geographical areas and in a long-term perspective.