Preventing Afghanistan from Becoming a Narco-State

As Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation and author of The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan: Politics of Reform and Modernization 1880-1946 points out, the end of the allied forces mission in Afghanistan when NATO will hand over responsibility for the security of Afghanistan to its own forces is fast approaching. Writing in the current issue of US News & World Report, Gregorian says, “events on the ground are conspiring against some of the long-term policy goals that the allied nations who committed troops to Afghanistan had hoped would bring peace and stability to that country.”

In “Preventing Afghanistan from Becoming a Narco-State,” Gregorian writes that these “challenges are arising in the midst of a global economic slowdown that is making it difficult for even those nations rich with resources to chart a reliable course for their future. For Afghanistan itself, which despite some $18 billion in U.S. aid alone over the past decade remains one of the poorest countries in the world on the UN´s Human Development Index (registering 174th out of 178 countries), the economic outlook remains bleak.”

“The economic chaos that is likely to descend upon Afghanistan in the absence of either a stable central government or the realistic prospect of a peaceful resolution or reconciliation between Kabul and the resurgent Taliban,” writes Gregorian, “will only be compounded by leaving the fate of Afghanistan’s largest cash crop—opium poppies—to itself.”

Read the full article in US News & World Report

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and former president and professor emeritus of history at Brown University, is the author of The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan: Politics of Reform and Modernization 1880-1946, which, when it was published in 1969 by Stanford University, was hailed as the definitive history of the rise of modern Afghanistan. The book will be reissued later in the year with a new foreword by the author who, over the years, has continued to study the turbulent developments in Afghanistan. In this essay, he addresses one of the most pressing problems currently facing that country and its people.