Aid paradoxes in Afghanistan

Dr Nematullah Bizhan, Jawid Ludin, Professor Stefan Dercon, Calum Miller
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Blavatnik School of Government
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Woodstock Road
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Lectures and seminars
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Author Dr Nematullah Bizhan discusses his new book, Aid Paradoxes in Afghanistan: Building and Undermining the State.

Jawid Ludin and Professor Stefan Dercon will be discussants and Calum Miller will moderate.

How do international assistance and intervention affect state building in situations of fragility? Author Nematullah Bizhan addresses this question by examining the case of Afghanistan post 9/11, a country which has been at the forefront of the Cold War and the “war on terror”. Although some of the problems that emerged in the state building process in Afghanistan were predictable as the country inherited unfavourable conditions, the types of interventions that occurred—including an aid architecture which largely bypassed the state, the subordination of state building to the war on terror, and the short horizon policy choices of donors and the Afghan government—reduced the effectiveness of the aid and undermined effective state building.

The book examines the dynamic and complex relations between the Afghan government and foreign donors in their efforts to rebuild state institutions. It explores three key areas: how donors supported government reforms to improve the taxation system, how government reorganised the state's fiscal management system, and how aid dependency and aid distribution outside the government budget affected interactions between state and society.

The book launch will be followed by a drinks reception.