Afghanistan is a landlocked country—surrounded by difficult neighbors—with rugged terrain and poor infrastructure. The state has been heavily dependent on foreign assistance for most of its modern existence, and since 2001 has relied on aid to sustain the government, provide services, fund security forces, and encourage private enterprise. This dependence, and the country’s difficult location, have also made Afghanistan vulnerable to foreign interference, including foreign support for the Taliban insurgency.

The papers in this collection explore regional geopolitics and the political economy of international aid, with an eye to lessons learned from the past two decades and a recognition that the international footprint is likely to diminish significantly in the near future.

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