Illegal Timber Exploitation and Counterinsurgency Operations in Kunar Province of Afghanistan: A Case Study Describing the Nexus Among Insurgents, Criminal Cartels, and Communities Within the Forest Sector
Bader, Harry R.
Fox, John D.
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The forest of eastern Afghanistan consists of two primary types; a low elevation broadleaf forest of evergreen oak, and a high elevation conifer forest. The average Afghan is dependent upon the oak forest for the daily necessities of fuelwood and fodder. The conifer forest provides the prized deodar cedar as a commercial product enriching criminal syndicates and insurgent organizations. The study makes five general findings. First, the role of timber revenue as a source of hard currency for insurgent organizations is increasing. Second, the illegal timber trade poses a direct threat to successful counterinsurgency operations. Third, the timber trade is a complex web involving interactions of the Afghan government, insurgent organizations, and local communities. Fourth, smuggling disruption by international coalition forces alienates the local population and can be counterproductive. Fifth, natural forest ecosystems in Afghanistan are experiencing accelerated disturbance from timber harvest since insurgents began taking over the illegal timber trade.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10549811.2013.767913
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