The Face of Afghanistan (5) - A Failed State

Afghanistan is what economists and political scientists call a “failed state,” a nation that spiraled into poverty and violence and a society that collapsed and regressed into a dark medieval nightmare. Here poverty contributes to civil strife and ultimately protracted war. Among over 110 countries surveyed that followed a trajectory of economic freefall after 1953, Afghanistan’s fate is one of the most cruel and - due to Al-Qaeda - the one with arguably the largest influence on world politics. Afghanistan fell into, and still is in, a “poverty trap,” an economic state from which it is nearly impossible to exit without external help. It is superficial and wrong to say it is just Afghanistan’s fault. Famous economists like Jeffrey Sachs indicate why Afghanistan has always been a country prone to poverty: landlocked away from international trade with very high internal cost of transportation; ravaged by disease; poor in good soil to grow crops on; scarce readily accessible natural resources; and constantly a paw in larger countries’ political games.
Poverty, strong disparity of income, and poor education and health exacerbated and sustained the Afghan conflicts while the absence of viable and alternative livelihoods perpetuated the sense of frustration and created new frictions. While underdevelopment may not have directly caused violence, poverty, poor social conditions, and weak political in-stitutions certainly eroded Afghanistan’s capacity to manage tensions peacefully.

[continue reading The Face of Afghanistan]
[see the video]
[see the photo gallery]


Popular posts from this blog

The Face of Afghanistan (6) - Helping Them, Helping Us

The Face of Afghanistan (10) - Fleeing Home

The Face of Afghanistan (7): Broken Promises and Wrong Choices