Poppy field west of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by Paul Chapman via Flickr

For nearly two decades, Afghanistan has been at the forefront of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. What has been learned about the intersection of conflict and the illicit drug economy over this period, and how does the history of the drug economy in Afghanistan shape these dynamics?

This literature review summarises key insights and debates from academic literature on the illicit drug economy in Afghanistan, from its origins to the present day. It concludes by discussing possible implications distilled from the Afghan experience for policymakers and identify gaps to inform further research.