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Research Report

Bargains for Peace?: Aid, Conditionalities and Reconstruction in Afghanistan

Jonathan Goodhand
Mark Sedra
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2006
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 119

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[iii])
  2. (pp. [iv]-[viii])
  3. (pp. 1-11)
  4. (pp. 12-13)

    This study examines the scope and potential for the application of peace conditionalities aiming to consolidate peace in Afghanistan. Peace conditionalities are understood to be the use of formal performance criteria or informal policy dialogue to make aid conditional on steps to build and consolidate peace. The report is one of several outputs from a comparative study, which explores the role of peace conditionalities in ‘post conflict’ reconstruction in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. The principal aims of this research are; firstly to examine the extent to which peace conditionalities applied by donors have strengthened or undermined peace-building efforts in the...

  5. (pp. 14-20)

    Conditionalities involve the conscious use of aid to create incentives and disincentives to achieve particular goals – unlike unconditional assistance, the failure to demonstrate progress towards, or meet these goals will lead to changes in donor behaviour. Conditionalities vary in terms of their content (why they are applied), the process through which aid is conditioned (how they are applied) and the target of the conditions (who they are aimed at).

    Firstly, international actors engage with ‘fragile states’ for a variety of reasons other than development or peace. Their interventions in the diplomatic, military or economic spheres influence the potential leverage...

  6. (pp. 21-34)

    Although the focus of this study is on the post-Taliban period, there are significant continuities between the current and earlier (pre-war and war) phases of international engagement. The following section provides a brief overview of the different phases of the Afghan wars⁹, the key dimensions of violent conflict and the role of international assistance.

    The Afghan state that developed in the first half of the twentieth century was centralised but weak and dependent on external resources. Amir Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901) relied on British subsidies to centralize the means of coercion and to consolidate internal control.10 Twentieth century Afghan rulers...

  7. (pp. 35-80)

    Post conflict peace-building involves a ‘triple transition’ (Ottaway, 2002) in three interconnected spheres: a security transition; a political transition; and a socio-economic transition. These three spheres broadly correspond to the core functions of the state outlined earlier, of providing security, representation/participation and wealth/welfare. At the heart of the peace-building enterprise is the development of a strong, legitimate state.

    Before exploring the nature of the triple transition in Afghanistan it is important to reflect on what the country is ‘transitioning from’. What was the starting point for peace-building in Afghanistan? In post-conflict settings, it is commonly the peace accord which furnishes...

  8. (pp. 81-92)

    The simultaneous pursuit of war fighting and peace-building in Afghanistan has led to some major contradictions, not least the adoption of increasingly illiberal measures to achieve an ostensibly liberal peace. Ultimately security, as defined by western actors, has repeatedly trumped the goal of durable peace, thus fostering the phenomenon of securitization across the reconstruction process.

    The international response has been concerned with stabilizing rather than modifying the ‘peace’. This led to a policy of pragmatic bargains between dominant international and domestic actors. Essentially the quid pro quo was that national and peripheral elites provided ‘security’ and in return they were...

  9. (pp. 93-104)

    Although this report gives a mixed assessment of international engagement in Afghanistan, it is important to recognize the nature of the starting point, the ‘real world’ difficulties of working in such an environment and the tangible achievements of the past four years. In 2001, as the Taliban regime disintegrated and Afghanistan emerged from the shadow of more than two decades of war, few would have believed that within five years there would be a democratically elected President, Parliament and Provincial Councils and one of the most progressive constitutions in the Islamic world. Tremendous progress has surely been made; however, chronic...

  10. (pp. 105-111)