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Roads from War: Challenges to Afghanistan’s Rural Infrastructural Development


Rural access infrastructural development projects in post 2001 Afghanistan represent a vital component of the economic recovery of the state. This thesis examines four of the most prevalent of these projects implemented by the World Bank, and in doing so substantiates the significant challenges faced by both the international development aid community and domestic implementing agencies. These challenges not only impact the efficiency and outcomes of these rural access projects, but are also significantly observable across a broader set of infrastructural development and rehabilitation programs throughout Afghanistan. While these issues are certainly exacerbated by the austere operational climate of the region itself, referring to ongoing conflict, government capacity and legitimacy limitations, and economic instability, they should more accurately be understood as symptomatic of greater structural contradictions within contemporary “development” paradigms. The future success or failure of Afghanistan’s economic recovery will depend on the international aid community’s ability to aggressively reform its aid goals and success indicators, facilitate domestic institutional agency in establishing and realizing development goals, and definitively separating aid goals and operations from military ones.

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