Afghanistan: Contested spaces

Oxfam research in Kunduz, Nangarhar, and Kabul Provinces in Afghanistan found that both humanitarian and development programs suffer from a gap between policy and reality that undermines aid effectiveness. Too often, aid programs fail to reflect or sync with the reality on the ground.

After three decades of violent conflict, there are few countries that demonstrate the challenges of aid delivery in contested spaces and the costs of the politicization and militarization of aid more than Afghanistan. Oxfam found that aid programs in the study areas are more effective when donors and implementers create linkages among projects or among actors; develop detailed understanding of the sociopolitical and conflict context during program planning; and work on the priorities identified by beneficiary communities. When aid actors fail to do these things, they generate or exacerbate conflict; create risk for beneficiaries and project implementers; alienate the government and a range of other stakeholders; and undermine high priority humanitarian and development objectives.


Erin Blankenship

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Briefing paper

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