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Building a New Afghanistan

Building a New Afghanistan
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Given resumed Taliban power and attacks, Afghanistan must tackle a host of serious problems before it can emerge as a confident, independent nation. Security in this battered state continues to deteriorate; suicide bombings, convoy ambushes, and insurgent attacks are still all too common. Effective state building depends upon eliminating the national security crisis and enhancing the rule of law. This book offers a blueprint for moving the embattled nation toward greater democracy and prosperity.

Robert Rotberg and his colleagues argue that the future success of state building in Afghanistan depends on reducing its dependence on the opium trade and enhancing its economic status. Many of Afghanistan's security problems are related to poppy growing, opium and heroin production, and drug trafficking. Building a New Afghanistan suggests controversial new alternatives to immediate eradication, which is foolish and counter-productive. These options include monetary incentives for growing wheat, a viable local crop. Greater wheat production would feed hungry Afghans while reducing narco-trafficking and the terror that comes with it.

Integrating land-locked Afghanistan into the Central Asia or greater Eurasia economy would open up trading partnerships with its northern and western neighbors as well as with Pakistan, India, and possibly China. Developing a sense of common purpose among citizens would benefit the economy and could help to unite the nation. Perhaps most important, bolstering better governance in Afghanistan is necessary in order to reduce chaos and corruption and enact nationwide reforms. Fresh and insightful, Building a New Afghanistan shows what the country's leadership and the international community should do to resolve dangerous issues and bolster a still fragile state.

Brookings Institution Press; March 2007
255 pages; ISBN 9780815775652
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