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Subnational Administration in Afghanistan
Anne Evans Nick Manning Anne Tully
Price: $ 15

The integrated nature of the political, security, fiscal, administrative, and other reconstruction-related problems facing Afghanistan presents a picture of overwhelming complexity with risks of both action and inaction. One thing that has become increasingly clear, however, is that most Afghans are looking for an alternative to the power of local commanders and are making clear calls for the establishment of a strong central government. While these wishes are often expressed in terms of a desire for a centralized state, this does not necessarily imply a centralization of the rules of operation with all activities based in Kabul. Some modest delegation may be necessary, but such increases in delegated authority should not be taken to mean broad-based decentralization. The task is to make a deconcentrated system work, not to seek heroic or destabilizing radical change.

Drawing on six provincial case studies, Subnational Administration in Afghanistan offers some pragmatic next steps for government and for donors to capitalize on the strengths of the existing administrative and fiscal arrangements. The recommendations of this report support the administrative components of the Afghanistan Stabilization Program for the provinces and districts, integrating security, governance, and reconstruction components.

This report is the product of a study undertaken by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) and the World Bank to assist in improving provincial and district delivery of key services, including health care and education. The report draws on six case studies: Faryab and Herat in November 2002; Badakhshan and Wardak in April 2003; Kandahar in June 2003 and Bamyan in July 2003.

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