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Title: The effects of local, regional and global politics on the development of the Helmand-Arghandab Valley of Afghanistan
Author: Farouq, Ghulam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 7855
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1999
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The Helmand Valley irrigation system is one of Afghanistan's most important capital resources. In order to make a region, which had once been agriculturally productive bloom again, agencies of the United States of America were approached for help in 1946. The Soviets were alarmed by this move. Iran and Pakistan, allies of the USA, reacted negatively. There was a great gulf between the levels of local knowledge, political sensitivity and deployable expertise between the Afghans and the foreign professionals charged with the design of the project. As a result, the transformation of a traditional agricultural society to a modem production unit proved to be a considerable challenge. The difficulties were exacerbated by the differing, but not clearly expressed, objectives of the various groups contributing to the realisation of the project. There was a time when the project was considered a failure. In the mid-1950s both Afghans and Americans were prepared to abandon it in spite of the huge investments made. The project fortunately recovered and the study will evaluate the reasons why, despite enormous political and economic pressures, the project succeeded. Purpose The study identifies the parties involved in initiating the He1mand Valley Project, those who responded to the initiative taken in the Helmand and the sequence of complex interventions and reactions that have determined the changing nature of the project between 1946 and 1995. The intention is to show that the final outcome has been shaped most by the interests of the local power elite. The policies of the major providers of capital, technology and expertise, namely the super-powers and the international agencies, have been subordinated to the priorities of the constant local players. This research will be useful for the future development of similar undertakings in Afghanistan. Methods The study is based on a literature review and the author's long participation in the project, his close contact with those who were leading the project in the past, including senior staff from the United States and the international agencies as well as the Afghan leadership in Kabul. Extensive use has been made of project documentation. Intensive fieldwork was carried out in the project area between 1975 and 1977. A comprehensive overview of the environmental resources of the project area is based on the fieldwork. The evaluation of the impact of the investments and inputs up to that point is based on the literature review, field data analysis, interviews and personal experience in the project.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available