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A close-up of an opium poppy in Afghanistan. Photo ID 507016. 01/07/2005. Afghanistan. UN Photo/UNODC/Zalmai.


Resource flows and political power in Afghanistan

Political power and control over resource flows are closely linked in many contexts. In Afghanistan, powerbrokers in the Taliban–government conflict have large stakes in both licit and illicit resource flows. This report, drawing primarily on desk-based research, looks to understand which flows contribute to maintaining power, and how these might influence outcomes in a post-accord environment.

Published: 30 November 2020

Authors: Graeme Smith

About the authors

Graeme Smith

Research Consultant

Graeme Smith is an author and consultant with nine years of on-the-ground experience in Afghanistan. His recent clients included the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF), and the International Crisis Group (ICG). From 2015 to 2018 he served as a Political Affairs Officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. His earlier career as a journalist earned him several awards, including the Michener Award for public service granted annually by the Governor General of Canada. He also won an Emmy Award in 2009, for a video series about the Taliban. His bestselling book, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War In Afghanistan, was published in Canada (2013), the United States (2014), and France (2015). He co-wrote a documentary, “Ghosts of Afghanistan,” which debuts in English, French, and German in 2021.