Farmers extract raw opium from poppies in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. Ghulamullah Habibi/EPA

This AREU Research Paper, by Adam Pain, Mohammad Hassan Wafaey, Gulsom Mirzada, Khalid Behzad and Mujib Azizi, is a programmatic case study of the Afghanistan Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility (CARD-F), a two-phase, aid-funded rural development programme (2009-2018). CARD-F’s design and first phase had counter-narcotics goals, which were less prominent in the agribusiness-focused second phase.

This research takes an ethnographic approach to understanding how different actors who were involved in the project viewed its activities and effects, and judged its outcomes. It considers what this reveals about the rationale of the project, and its effects on drug economies and processes of development in Afghanistan.