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Talking to the other side: Taliban perspectives on aid and development work in Afghanistan

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Ashley Jackson

Briefing/policy paper

In the years immediately following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, aid agencies were able to access the vast majority of Afghanistan. The subsequent resurgence of the Taliban, beginning in the south and east, saw heightened levels of violence and civilian casualties as well as a sharp rise in attacks on aid workers. While aid agencies were intentionally targeted in this initial period of Taliban revival, there appears to have been a shift indicating greater openness toward aid actors in recent years.

Little substantive research has been conducted on Taliban attitudes towards aid agencies. This HPG Policy Brief summarises research conducted in Afghanistan involving almost 40 interviews with the Taliban as well as more than 100 interviews with aid agencies and ordinary Afghans, examining Taliban attitudes and policies toward aid agencies and humanitarian and development work. Field research focused on two provincial case studies, Faryab and Kandahar, to examine these issues in depth.

The study provides an overview of the Taliban’s structure and policies on aid access, and how these policies are interpreted and implemented at the local level.

There is also a full report available: Talking to the other side - humanitarian engagement with the Taliban in Afghanistan

Ashley Jackson and Antonio Giustozzi