Managing local resources and conflict
Value chain mapping and visualisation of the talc, fuel and transit trade in Afghanistan.
In the areas of Afghanistan where minerals and crops—particularly illicit drug crops—are produced, they
are well-known sources of income for communities, local elites, and powerbrokers. However, there is also
a vibrant trade and transport sector for these and other commodities, particularly fuel and imported
consumer items, that goes largely unnoticed. It is a sector that provides significant employment and income
to those who work along the length of the value chains involved. With goods worth hundreds of millions
of dollars transported across the country, the sector is also potentially a major source of economic rents
for those who predate on the primary transport routes.
This research set out to better understand how control over the production, movement and sale of goods
through key locations—chokepoints—generates economic and political gains for powerbrokers and local
elites, and employment opportunities in the trade and transport sector for local communities. Recognising
that the geopolitical interests of Afghanistan's neighbours play a critical role in shaping the country's
economy and political future, the research focused on three cross-border value chains: fuel, transit goods
and talc stone. In doing so, the research sought to map and quantify the economic benefits derived by
powerholders and communities along the length of these value chains in Afghanistan and on its borders.
The research also assessed how armed conflict and policy shifts, such as the closure of the border or
changes to export licenses, affect the different groups involved.