Leveling the Afghan Playing Field

Afghan farmer works in the field

An Afghan farmer works in the field.

NEW YORK – Afghanistan’s security and political situation remains plagued by uncertainty, stemming from the withdrawal of United States and NATO combat troops, the upcoming presidential election, and the stalled peace negotiations with the Taliban. Recognizing that continued economic insecurity will exacerbate this perilous situation, the government has announced a new package of economic incentives aimed at attracting foreign direct investment.

The package includes the provision of land to industrialists at dramatically reduced prices, tax exemptions of up to seven years for factory owners, and low-interest loans of up to ten years for farmers. Such incentives are targeted at foreign investors and the local elite, with the aim of stopping or even reversing capital flight. But the new measures ultimately amount to more of the same: a fragmented policy approach that will prove inadequate to solve Afghanistan’s fundamental economic problems. » More

Comments Off

Occupy Shines a Light Amidst Ongoing Sandy Disaster

Damage from Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast, Oct. 30, 2012. Photo: US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

“Thank God for Sandy!” said Leviticus Sumpter, a supervisor of a mold clean-up team in New York City, to The Brooklyn Bureau.

“I’m not going to say that,” said Albert Gibbs, Sumpter’s nephew and also part of the crew. “I’m going to say, ‘Thank God for employment.’ […] One person’s mishap is another person’s blessing.”

The tragedy of thousands of lives overturned in the wake of Hurricane—later superstorm—Sandy has become a success story for the Occupy movement, bringing the group national recognition for its efforts to help their fellow man recover from a disaster with a far-reaching level of destruction (somewhat less than the infamous Hurricane Katrina). » More

Comments Off

ISN Weekly Theme: Sri Lanka Beyond the War

Flag lowering ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka, photo: Skandhakumar Nimalaprakasan/flickr

After decades of violence and political polarization, Sri Lanka is taking tentative steps toward peace and reconciliation. A broader discourse and policies that take the socio-economic needs of all ethnic groups into account is vital for conflict resolution.

This Special Report includes the following content:

  • An Analysis by Nobert Ropers, director of the Berghof Foundation for Peace Support in Berlin, on the dangers inherent in an uneven victory by the Sri Lankan government over the Tamil Tigers.
  • A Podcast with Asoka Bandarage of Georgetown University examining the need for a more inclusive approach to peacebuilding, less focused on the narrow ethnic dualism of the conflict.
  • Security Watch articles on the war and its aftermath, including the refugee crisis.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including an International Crisis Group report on the Tamil Diaspora after the LTTE and an Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies paper on India’s role in post-conflict Sri Lanka.
  • Links to external resources, including The Virtual Library of Sri Lanka.
  • Our IR Directory with relevant organizations, including the Centre for Policy Alternatives based in Colombo.
Comments Off