Dr David Mansfield and Alcis have collaborated on two projects supported by the XCEPT Research Fund to map and quantify changes to cross-border trade and political brokerage systems in Afghanistan. The research offers startling insights into the Taliban’s efforts to maximise and centralise revenues, and reshape economic and political power in Afghanistan. Both studies combine satellite imagery, in-depth interviews, and geospatial analysis to chart these changes.  

Their second project finds a notable shift in the extent to which the Taliban has concentrated power in the hands of Pashtun fighters and how they have centralised, regulated, and maximised revenues from cross-border value chains in Afghanistan since the August 2021 takeover. 

This research highlights rates of former fighters and Taliban ‘technocrats’ in key positions, centralising power and displacing local elites who dominated during the time of the Afghan republic; and a major reduction in informal taxes and bribes alongside adoption of formal regulations of trade, among others. 

Explore some of the research and evidence from both projects: 

For more information regarding this research, contact [email protected]