Be wary of any piece of analysis on Afghanistan that cites conditions at L’Atmo as an example of things getting worse/better/staying the same. But there’s a decent piece in The Economist about where exactly the country stands at this crucial time in its history.
One detail struck me, however, as particularly interesting and chimes with some other work I am looking at:
Despite the intervention’s huge cost—estimated at a trillion dollars, or $30,000 for every Afghan—the country’s poverty rate has been stuck, at 36%, for almost a decade. It is even rising in places, such as north-eastern Afghanistan, which are relatively untouched by the Taliban insurgency that is ravaging most of the country.
Is this the cost of peace for people who didn’t fight? With stabilisation programmes pumping donor cash to Pashtun regions in the south and east, heartland of the Taliban, are people elsewhere losing out?