Afghanistan

Books, Reports, Monographs

Research and Policy Documents

R. Favre, G. Monowar Kamal: Watershed Atlas of Afghanistan

2004

The Watershed Atlas aims to support natural resources management and related monitoring activities (i.e. river flow, climatic data, agriculture production) with a planning tool in the form of geo-referenced river basin and watershed maps. It is an open source of information on rivers and watersheds of Afghanistan. The river basins and watershed maps have been prepared using Arc-View 3.2 software and are fully compatible for area based statistical analysis, they can be overlaid with any other geo-referenced maps and data on Afghanistan. The Watershed Atlas is a first edition and updating the Atlas will only be possible with the further contribution of interested parties - i.e. governmental, international and non-governmental institutions - working in the sector of water and natural resources management in Afghanistan.

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Zoi Environment Network, UNECE: Visual Atlas of Cooperation – Afghanistan and Tajikistan Environment and Hydrology in the Upper Amu Darya Basin

2013

Economic development and natural resource management are top priorities for cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Tajikistan. For both countries the adequate knowledge and sharing of information about natural resources and hazards are important.

With 100 photos and 50 maps and graphics based on official sources and original research, this well-illustrated atlas presents information at the river basin – as opposed to the national – level, and portrays challenges from the regional rather than the country perspective. With the objective of supplementing information already available in each of the countries, the atlas is designed to help local policymakers and experts as well as readers outside the region, donors and the international community understand the basin’s natural resources, common needs and priorities. It starts with brief introductions to the countries, illustrates the Amu Darya River basin as a part of the Aral Sea basin and provides details on the Upper Amu Darya.

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Afghanistan's Environment

2008

This Executive Summary provides readers with a short overview of the key environmental issues, factors and drivers of environmental change in Afghanistan, and highlights the latest achievements and prospects ahead. It is intended as an overview of the more multifaceted First State of Environment (SOE) Report for Afghanistan, which is being produced by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) in accordance with section 9(12) of the Environment Law, 2007, and will be published in mid-2008, with the assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme. It is designed for both a national audience (Government officials, community leaders, and natural resource policy-makers at a central and local level) and the broader international community: donors and international organizations, policy-makers in neighbouring countries, people and institutes interested in Afghanistan. It provides in a consolidated format the best available information and also identifies gaps in data on the state of the environment.

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A. Sarwar Qureshi: Water Resources Management in Afghanistan: The Issues and Options / IWMI Working Paper 49

2002

Report presents the analysis of current status of water resources management in Afghanistan and identify steps for maximizing the use of available water resources to enhance crop productivity and environmental sustainability.

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W. Klemm, S. Shobair: The Afghan part of Amu Darya Basin. Impact of irrigation in Northern Afghanistan on water use in the Amu Darya Basin

2010

This paper gives an overview on ongoing and planned irrigation projects in Northern Afghanistan and their impact on Amu Darya water availability. The authors conclude that under ambitious scenarios of irrigation development, water withdrawal in 2020 will most likely increase to 6,000 million cubic metres, which is 1,000 million cubic metres more than 1980, and about 1.4% of the mean annual Amu Darya flow. The report concludes with eight recommendations to the riparian countries.

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T. Williams-Sether: Streamflow Characteristics of Streams in the Helmand Basin, Afghanistan

2008

A majority of the Afghan population lacks adequate and safe supplies of water because of contamination, lack of water-resources management regulation, and lack of basic infrastructure, compounded by periods of drought and seasonal flooding. Characteristics of historical streamflows are needed to assist with efforts to quantify the water resources of the Helmand Basin.
The Helmand Basin is the largest river basin in Afghanistan. It comprises the southern half of the country, draining waters from the Sia Koh Mountains in Herat Province to the eastern mountains in Gardez Province (currently known as the Paktia Province) and the Parwan Mountains northwest of Kabul, and finally draining into the unique Sistan depression between Iran and Afghanistan (Favre and Kamal, 2004). The Helmand Basin is a desert environment with rivers fed by melting snow from the high mountains and infrequent storms. Great fluctuations in streamflow, from flood to drought, can occur annually.
Knowledge of the magnitude and time distribution of streamflow is needed to quantify water resources and for water management and environmental planning. Agencies responsible for the development and management of Afghanistan’s surface-water resources can use this knowledge for making safe, economical, and environmentally sound water-resource planning decisions. To provide the Afghan managers with necessary streamflow information, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), computed streamflow statistics for data collected at historical gaging stations within the Helmand Basin. The historical gaging stations used are shown in figure 1 and listed in table 1.

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Water resources assessment, monitoring, and capacity building in Afghanistan

2003

An overwhelming majority of the Afghan population lacks an adequate, safe supply of water because of contamination by a wide variety of sources, lack of water-resources management regulation, and lack of basic infrastructure, compounded by the recent 5-year drought and seasonal flooding. Overall objectives of the water-resources part of a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) program in collaboration with Afghan officials and scientists are to assess the basic hydrology of Afghanistan, install a network of streamflow gages, create a water-quality monitoring program, assess water use in specific population centers, and build capacity of Afghan officials, scientists, and technicians.

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M.G. Weinbaum: Afghanistan and Its Neighbors. An Ever Dangerous Neighborhood

2006

The fate of Afghanistan and the success of U.S. and coalition efforts to stabilize Afghanistan will in large measure be affected by the current and future policies pursued by its varied proximate and distal neighbors. Most analyses of Afghanistan have focused on its internal dimensions or the policies pursued by U.S. and coalition partners. To date, there have been few analyses that situate Afghanistan’s future within the context of its region and the key players in this region. This is unfortunate because many states, including Pakistan, Iran, India, China, Russia, and the Central Asian republics, have an important ability to influence positively and negatively the course of developments in Afghanistan.
To address this analytical gap, the United States Institute of Peace, Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention requested Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum to evaluate the courses of action Afghanistan’s key neighbors are likely to take and assess their importance for Afghanistan’s evolution toward a stable and robust state.

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V.W. Uhl, M. Q.Tahiri: Afghanistan - an Overview of Groundwater Resources and Challenges

2003

In early 2003, UBR was retained by DAI to develop an overall assessment of groundwater conditions in Afghanistan at large and to assess potential river basins where groundwater might be in a state of overdevelopment. Vincent Uhl spent 1-month in Afghanistan, traveled to several river basins and interviewed/met with relevant governmental departments and NGOs and United Nations organizations.
UBR developed an analysis of recharge to the principal aquifer systems in the 5 major river basins and developed the scope of and elements for an in-depth analysis of river basins where overdevelopment of groundwater is a concern. A technical scope was also developed for river basins where groundwater is underutilized and represents a potential source for future irrigation use.

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Improving Regional Cooperation on Water: Meeting Report of the Third Session of the Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and Human Security

2010

The EastWest Institute’s Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and Human Security issued the Amman Declaration on Improving Regional Cooperation on Water. The declaration outlines a set of principles for parliamentarians that are necessary to overcome major challenges to cooperation on water across national borders. It was developed by members of parliament, government officials, academics, and civil society representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The Parliamentarians Network issued the declaration at their third international session in Amman, held under the patronage of Jordan’s Prince Hassan El bin Talal and in cooperation with the Royal Scientific Society.
The following report outlines in detail key points of discussion at the meeting.

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M. King, B. Sturtewagen: Making the Most of Afghanistan's River Basins. Opportunities for Regional Cooperation

2010

This paper reflects the discussions at a number of public seminars and private meetings during 2009 on water cooperation in Afghanistan and its region. The EWI’s consultations made abundantly clear that the regional nature and importance of water cooperation is fully recognized by all stakeholders. However, stark differences in capacity, combined with contextual issues such as historic mistrust and competing regional security priorities (in particular from the international community), have kept stakeholders from engaging in a process of dialogue on water cooperation. This paper outlines current challenges to effective and sustainable cross-border cooperation on water and makes the following recommendations to overcome them: (1) improvement of the hydro-metrological capacities; (2) establishment of a formal confidence-building framework to share water policies between Afghanistan, its neighbours, and the donor community; (3) mobilization of support from the international community to move toward regional water strategies; (4) launch of a multilateral dialogue-process, including the full incorporation of Afghanistan in the ICWC.

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G. Overfeld, M. Zumot: Economic Development and Security for Afghanistan. Increasing Jobs and Income with the Help of the Gulf States

2010

The international community should focus on developing Afghanistan’s migrant labor capacity in a targeted and systematic way in order to increase the prospects for income generation in the form of remittances. The development of semi-skilled and skilled vocational sectors in line with forecast requirements of employment markets, targeting the GCC member states, could provide a near-term solution to Afghanistan’s limited economic prospects.

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Seeking Solutions for Afghanistan: A Report on the Abu Dhabi Process

2010

The EastWest Institute released a report laying out several recommendations for rebuilding regional cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan following Afghanistan’s National Consultative Peace Jirga. The report, Seeking Solutions for Afghanistan: A Report on the Abu Dhabi Process, discusses the first in a series of off-the-record meetings facilitated by the EastWest Institute and hosted by the government of Abu Dhabi to reinstitute open communication and trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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Afghanistan Reconnected: Regional Economic Security Beyond 2014

2014

EWI's report illustrates how regional collaboration would strengthen economic, political and social ties between Central Asia and South Asia and contribute to a more stable Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond.

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M. Rahaman, O. Varis: Central Asian Waters: Social, Economic, Environmental and Governance Puzzle

2008

This book includes eleven articles that study economic, environmental, social and governance challenges of Central Asia; the region that is not limited to Aral Sea basin but encompasses Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and northern Afghanistan.

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J. Granit, A. Jagerskog, R. Lofgren, A. Bullock, G. de Gooijer, S. Pettigrew, A. Lindstrom: Regional Water Intelligence Report Central Asia

SIWI, 2010

Water is an increasingly strategic resource in the Central Asian region for economic and social development. Water cuts across critical issues such as food and fibre production, energy generation, environmental sustainability and human security. The report highlights these issues and their inter-linkages. The report targets the Aral Sea Basin and focuses on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan (also a part of the basin) and influential neighboring countries like China and Russia are part of the regional analysis.

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Afghanistan Human Development Report 2011. The Forgotten Front: Water Security and the Crisis in the Sanitation

2011

The Afghanistan Human Development Report 2011, The Forgotten Front: Water Security and the Crisis in Sanitation shows that the limited access to safe water, the lack of improved sanitation facilities, the inequitable sharing of water resources and the extreme vulnerability to water-related climate shocks are largely being ignored in the face of internal military and political struggles and the global security agenda. The report makes the case that water security is integral to human development and the prospects for peace in Afghanistan. The government, together with the international community, must now scale its efforts up to improve access to water and sanitation for all. Relegating this efforts to a remote future fails to recognize the role the related issues play in the struggle against poverty and insecurity today. The government, civil society and donors must act on a shared commitment to deliver on the pledges enshrined in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy.

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Water Users Associations (WUAs) in Afghanistan

2006

Afghanistan has a traditional system for managing irrigation water called the Mirab system. The Mirabs are the water masters vested with the responsibility for deciding the distribution of irrigation water to the farmers and handling the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the irrigation infrastructure. However, the Mirab system does not have the organizational and institutional capability to efficiently respond to the rising needs of the farmers and conduct effective O&M of the system. Although the Mirabs are elected by the water users and land owners, they do not have the mandates to carry out marketing and O&M activities for enhancing their financial capability.
The WUAs will be established by the water users themselves, controlled and owned by them and serve as an independent and legal entity with full autonomy and authority for the distribution of irrigation water, maintenance of irrigation and drainage systems and mobilization and effective utilization of funds.

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D. Ziganshina: The Role and Relevance of the 1997 UN Convention to the Countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan in the Aral Sea Basin

2011

This note seeks to provide a basis for discussion of the role and relevance of the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997 UN WC) to the countries in Central Asia and Afghanistan in the Aral Sea Basin. Out of the six countries sharing the Aral Sea Basin, only Uzbekistan is a party to the 1997 UN WC, having acceded to the instrument in 2007. Hence, a key question that remains to be explored is whether there are benefits for peaceful and effective management of the region’s shared waters in more basin states acceding to the 1997 UN Convention. To address the latter question, the note will:
(1) Identify the existing treaty law in the Aral Sea Basin
(2) Clarify the relationship of the 1997 UN WC with watercourse agreements
(3) Provide a summary of a comparative analysis of the existing treaties and the 1997 UN WC to ascertain the value added of the Convention to the regional water management
(4) Highlight the relevance of the 1997 UN WC and advantages of becoming a party to it
(5) Sketch some issues related to the implementation of the 1997 UN WC

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Environment and Security in the Amu Darya basin

2011

The report, prepared by UNEP on behalf of partners in the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC), points out that water resources in the region are already impacted by decades of often unsustainable development dating back to the era of the Soviet Union. The report details persistent, new and emerging stresses which will require environmental diplomacy to boost cooperation, especially around flashpoints between the nations sharing the Amu Darya.

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B. Rout: How the Water Flows: A Typology of Irrigation Systems in Afghanistan

2008

This paper develops and presents a typology of irrigation systems in Afghanistan. It is intended to enhance knowledge of irrigation methods and management with the aim of improving system performance and productivity. It is also intended to provide those involved in irrigation rehabilitation and natural resources management with a better understanding of the link between irrigation systems and livelihood sustainability. The importance of irrigated agriculture is undeniable since it is the mainstay of food security and income for the majority of the rural population, accounting for more than 70 percent of total crop production.

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Coping with water scarcity

2012

The report aims to provide a conceptual framework to address food security under conditions of water scarcity in agriculture. It has been prepared by a team of FAO staff and consultants in the framework of the project “Coping with water scarcity – the role of agriculture”, and has been discussed at an Expert Consultation meeting organized in FAO, Rome, during the period 14–16 December 2009 on the same subject. It was subsequently edited and revised, taking account of discussions in the Expert Consultation and materials presented to the meeting.

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A. Lindstrom, J. Granit: Large-scale water storage in the water, energy and food nexus: Perspectives on benefits, risks and best practice

2012

The report provides an overview of the current status of large scale artificial water storage development and its functions in the water, energy and food security nexus. The paper presents a typology of water storage structures and provides an analysis of the risks, benefits and trade-offs posed by different storage options. It also highlights good practices and lessons learned from past experiences and explores emerging opportunities for water storage schemes to enhance water, energy and food security in the future.

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S. Islam, L.E. Susskind: Water diplomacy: a negotiated approach to managing complex water networks

2012

Water is the resource that will determine the wealth, welfare, and stability of many countries in the twenty-first century. This book offers a new approach to managing water that will overcome the conflicts that emerge when the interactions among natural, societal, and political forces are overlooked. At the heart of these conflicts are complex water networks. In managing them, science alone is insufficient and so is policy-making that doesn't take science into account. Solutions will only emerge if a negotiated or diplomatic approach that blends science, policy, and politics is used to manage water networks.

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V. Thomas, M. Ahmad Azizi, W. Mumtaz: Mind the Gap? Local practices and institutional reforms for water allocation in Afghanistan’s Panj-Amu River Basin

2012

Since 2004, policymakers and international donor agencies have been trying to introduce “good” water governance concepts in the reform of Afghanistan’s water sector, including integrated water resource management, river basin management and participation in decentralised decision-making via Multi-Stakeholder Platforms. Starting in 2005, the Panj-Amu River Basin Program has been piloting the introduction of these imported concepts in north-eastern Afghanistan.

With this context in mind, this paper draws on research carried out in two areas of the Panj-Amu Basin—the Taloqan Sub-basin and Lower-Kunduz Sub-basin—during the dry year of 2011. In doing so, it attempts to provide a better understanding of how local institutions currently deal with water allocation at the sub-basin level in times of drought, and discuss further policy challenges and opportunities.

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B. Chellaney: From Arms Racing to "Dam Racing" in Asia: How to Contain the Geopolitical Risks of the Dam-Building Competition

2012

Transatlantic Academy Bosch Public Policy Fellow Brahma Chellaney’s most recent publication has been released as part of the TA's Paper Series. The paper, drawing on the author’s book: Water: Asia’s New Battleground published in 2011, examines how the geopolitical risks arising from dam-building, particularly in Asia, can be stemmed. It does so by examining broader water tensions and competition, which center on four distinct zones: China and its neighbors; South Asia; Southeast Asia; and Central Asia, where the Soviet Union’s disintegration left conflicting claims over water supplies among the five so-called “stans” — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

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Central Asia regional risk assessment: responding to water, energy, and food insecurity

2009

Central Asia’s poorest countries find themselves particularly vulnerable to water, energy, and food insecurities. Tajikistan experienced a “compound crisis” during the winter of 2008, when exceptionally cold weather caused breakdowns in the country’s energy infrastructure, damaged winter crops and reduced livestock herds.

Significant increases in water, energy, and food insecurities resulted. These were subsequently exacerbated by higher global food prices and by the onset of drought conditions in the spring and summer, which particularly affected Central Asia’s southern and eastern regions, as well as parts of the Ferghana Valley and the Aral Sea Delta.

The effects of these problems were magnified by the difficulties the government and humanitarian organisations working in Tajikistan faced in responding to this acute cold-weather emergency, the roots of which were deeply intertwined with Tajikistan’s chronic development challenges.

These concerns increasingly made themselves felt in the Kyrgyz Republic over the course of 2008, particularly in terms of growing energy and food insecurities.

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J. Rizk, B. Utemuratov: Balancing the use of water in the Amu Darya Basin

2012

Central Asia and Afghanistan are abundant in natural resources, including land, water and energy. However, in the Amu Darya Basin, there is an imbalanced use of water resources between the different economic and livelihoods needs of all basin countries.

The major characteristics of the Amu Darya River include its transboundary nature, its division between hydropower use and irrigation use, and most importantly, the extent to which these two uses can be regulated. The lack of inclusive management and the lack of mutually agreed regulatory regimes of the Amu Darya Basin lead to challenges related to the balance of water usage between energy production and agriculture in the upstream and downstream of the Amu Darya Basin.

This policy brief reviews the major issues of balancing water usage in the Amu Darya Basin as well as the challenges to equitable water governance. It is the result of the collaborative work of the Amu Darya Basin Network.

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Towards Kabul Water Treaty: Managing Shared Water Resources – Policy Issues and Options

2010

Issues of shared water resources among upper and lower riparian basin states (i.e. Afghanistan and Pakistan) are becoming complex due to the impacts of extreme climatic variability and change, rising water demand and environmental concerns.

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Towards Kabul Water Treaty: Water Cooperation for Managing Shared Water Resources – Policy Issues and Options

2013

Regional cooperation on shared water resources appears increasingly necessary to ensure sustainable development in the region and to maintain regional stability and security.

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T. Porter, S. Fulle: Pollution and the Kabul river: an analysis and action plan

1994

The principal objectives of this study were to determine the locations where polluted e ffluents were being discharged into the Kabul River and the types of pollution.

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Z. Vekerdy, R. Dost: History of Environmental Change in the Sistan Basin - Based on Satellite Image Analysis: 1976-2005

2006

History of Environmental Change in the Sistan Basin - Based on Satellite Image Analysis: 1976-2005

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M. Hassan Saffi, A. Jawid Kohistani: Water Resources Potential, Quality Problems, Challenges and Solutions in Afghanistan

2013

This report presents water resources qualitative and quantitative problems (early warning signals) which may support policy and decision makers to apply effective policies, strategic plans and regulations for sustainable development, management, development and protection of water resources.

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B.e ter Steege: Infrastructure and Water Distribution in the Asqalan and Sufi-Qarayateem Canal Irrigation Systems in the Kunduz River Basin

2007

This field report will hopefully be of benefit for anyone to get a quick overview on the social and infrastructural organisation shaped around the irrigation systems of Asqalan canal and Sufi-Qarayateem canals.

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M. Ahmad, M. Wasiq: Water Resource Development in Northern Afghanistan and Its Implications for Amu Darya Basin

2004

The overall purpose of this report is to gain a greater understanding of Afghanistan’s role in the use and management of the Amu Darya Basin. The development and management of water resources are critically important for the economic development of Afghanistan. This report focuses on the use of water resources from the Amu Darya basin where great gains for the country could be achieved by moderate investments, largely in rehabilitation of existing schemes. At the same time, the Amu Darya River is an international waterway where numerous interests need to be balanced.

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Agriculture & Rural Development Sector Strategy

2008

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2008

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A. Pain, S.Mohammad Shah: Policymaking in Agriculture and Rural Development in Afghanistan

2009

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Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Agricultural Sector Review. Revitalizing Agriculture for Economic Growth, Job Creation and Food Security

2014

This agricultural sector review proposes a “first-mover” strategy to serve as an initial phase in the national agricultural strategy, providing an early boost to productivity growth, employment, and poverty reduction. The promotion of “first-mover” strategy responds both to the adjustment of the anticipated decline in foreign aid and agricultural transformation that is necessary for Afghanistan’s inclusive economic growth, job creation and food security. The review draws heavily on a number of specially commissioned background papers that analyze the available evidence.

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A Strategic Policy Framework for the Water Sector

2004

This policy document is an overall framework and intends to guide the Ministry of Irrigation, Water Resources and Environment (MIWRE) in setting general direction for the ministry over the next 20 years. Specifically, it aims to set guidelines for its institutional reform processes, as well as for the implementation of MIWRE's 12 year strategic plan for 1383-1394 (2004-2015)

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H.G.P. Jansen: Technical Assistance to the Agriculture Development Task Force in Afghanistan

2009

This report summarizes the main outputs of the technical assistance provided which was concentrated in three areas: (1) development of Ministry of Agriculture (MAIL) strategic priorities and investments for the immediate future/short term, medium term and longer term; (2) advising MAIL regarding the design of an appropriate structure of the Ministry and definition of corresponding responsibilities; (3) analytical policy advice regarding urgent issues that the MAIL has to deal with on a daily basis, but where it lacks the capacity to analyze alternative policy strategies and solutions

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Afghanistan’s Water Sector: USAID’s Strategy Needs to Be Updated to Ensure Appropriate Oversight and Accountability

2014

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J. Merz: Water Balances, Floods and Sediment Transport in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas

2004

Data Analyses, Modelling and Comparison of Selected Meso-scale Catchments

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S. Hassani: A Review of Current and Possible Future Relations in Amu River Basin

2017

The aim of this paper is to familiarize the reader with the key elements associated with Transboundary Rivers in Afghanistan and their implications on policy development. The report synthesizes knowledge and different perspectives of many experts working in the area of Transboundary Rivers. In doing so, it attempts to advance the main points of convergence of opinions in the form of recommendations and highlights those areas where more work is needed to build a common vision.

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Afghanistan Transboundary Waters: Perspectives on International Law and Development

2017

This issue of the Journal of Afghanistan Water Studies, a small endeavor in contributing to knowledge base development on Afghanistan’s transboundary water resources, includes analysis on topics such as the UN Water Conventions and Afghanistan, role of water in regional dynamics, hydro-cognizance, water security and hydropower.

Duran Research & Analysis is grateful to expert authors of this issue including Muhammad Daud Rezaee, Dr. John F. Shroder, Sherjan Ahmadzai, Dr. Glen Hearns, Mir Sayed Shah Danish and Najib Rahman Sabory for their voluntary contribution. Duran is also thankful to the United States Institute of Peace for financial support to this effort.

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Statistic Documents

UNECE: Central Asia in Figures 2010

2010

This report provides country specific as well as comparable data of Afghanistan and five Central Asian countries on economy, employment, demography, gender, transport.

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UNECE: Central Asia in Figures 2013

2013

This report provides country specific as well as comparable data of Afghanistan and five Central Asian countries on economy, employment, demography, gender, transport.

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K. C. Vining: Streamflow Characteristics of Streams in Southeastern Afghanistan

2010

Statistical summaries of streamflow data for all historical streamgaging stations that have available data in the southeastern Afghanistan provinces of Ghazni, Khost, Logar, Paktya, and Wardak, and a portion of Kabul Province are presented in this report. The summaries for each streamgaging station include a station desciption, table of statistics of monthly and annual mean discharges, table of monthly and annual flow duration, table of probability of occurrence of annual high discharges, table of probability of occurrence of annual low discharges, table of annual peak discharge and corresponding gage height for the period of record, and table of monthly and annual mean discharges for the period of record.

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S.A. Olson, T. Williams-Sether: Streamflow Characteristics at Streamgages in Northern Afghanistan and Selected Locations

2010

Statistical summaries of streamflow data for 79 historical streamgages in Northern Afghanistan and other selected historical streamgages are presented in this report. The summaries for each streamgage include (1) station description, (2) graph of the annual mean discharge for the period of record, (3) statistics of monthly and annual mean discharges, (4) monthly and annual flow duration, (5) probability of occurrence of annual high discharges, (6) probability of occurrence of annual low discharges, (7) probability of occurrence of seasonal low discharges, (8) annual peak discharges for the period of record, and (9) monthly and annual mean discharges for the period of record.

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M. Amin Akbari, M. Tahir, D.W. Litke, M.P. Chornack: Ground-Water Levels in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan, 2004-2007

2008

Water levels were monitored in 69 wells in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan, starting in July 2004 and continuing through March 2007. The monitoring network is composed of existing water-supply wells; therefore, both static and dynamic water levels were recorded. Very little information is available about the construction or completion of the wells, and there are no geologic logs for the wells being monitored. The majority of the wells are completed in Tertiary or Quaternary sediments. Water levels were measured periodically, generally monthly, by engineers from the Afghanistan Geological Survey using 100-meter electric tapes.

Well depths in the study area ranged from 4.9 to 160 meters. Water levels below land surface ranged from less than 1.5 to 68 meters, while static water levels ranged from 1.5 to 40 meters. Seasonal water-level fluctuations from September 2005 through May 2006 ranged from less than 1 to 8 meters. Water level trends during the study period showed both increases and decreases. Drawdowns due to pumping ranged from 5 to 25 meters.

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K. C. Vining, A. V. Vecchia: Water-Balance Simulations of Runoff and Reservoir Storage for the Upper Helmand Watershed and Kajakai Reservoir, Central Afghanistan

2007

A study was performed to provide information on monthly historical and hypothetical future runoff for the Upper Helmand watershed and reservoir storage in Kajakai Reservoir that could be used by Afghanistan authorities to make economic and demographic decisions concerning reservoir design and operation, reservoir sedimentation, and development along the Helmand River. Estimated reservoir volume at the current spillway elevation of 1,033.5 meters decreased by about 365 million cubic meters from 1968 to 2006 because of sedimentation. Water-balance simulations indicated a good fit between modeled and recorded monthly runoff at the two gaging stations in the watershed for water years 1956–79 and indicated an excellent fit between modeled and recorded monthly changes in Kajakai Reservoir storage for water years 1956–79. Future simulations, which included low starting reservoir water levels and a spillway raised to an elevation of 1,045 meters, indicated that the reservoir is likely to fill within 2 years. Although Kajakai Reservoir is likely to fill quickly, multiyear deficits may still occur. If future downstream irrigation demand doubles but future precipitation, temperature, and reservoir sedimentation remain similar to historical conditions, the reservoir would have more than a 50-percent chance of being full during April or May of a typical year. Future simulations with a 10-percent reduction in precipitation indicated that supply deficits would occur more than 1 in 4 years, on average, during August, September, or October. The reservoir would be full during April or May fewer than 1 in 2 years, on average, and multiyear supply deficits could occur. Increased sedimentation had little effect on reservoir levels during April through July, but the frequency of deficits increased substantially during September and October.

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T.J. Mack, M.P. Chornack, T.B. Coplen, L.N. Plummer, M.T. Rezai, I.M. Verstraeten: Availability of Water in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

2010

The availability of water resources is vital to the social and economic well being and rebuilding of Afghanistan. Kabul City currently (2010) has a population of nearly 4 million and is growing rapidly as a result of periods of relative security and the return of refugees. Population growth and recent droughts have placed new stresses on the city’s limited water resources and have caused many wells to become contaminated, dry, or inoperable in recent years. The projected vulnerability of Central and West Asia to climate change (Cruz and others, 2007; Milly and others, 2005) and observations of diminishing glaciers in Afghanistan (Molnia, 2009) have heightened concerns for future water availability in the Kabul Basin of Afghanistan.

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J. W. Whitney: Geology, Water, and Wind in the Lower Helmand Basin, Southern Afghanistan

2006

This report presents an overview of the geology, hydrology, and climate of the lower Helmand Basin, a large, closed, arid basin in southern Afghanistan. The basin is drained by the Helmand River, the only perennial desert stream between the Indus and Tigris-Euphrates Rivers. The Helmand River is the lifeblood of southern Afghanistan and has supported desert civilizations in the Sistan depression for over 6,000 years.

The Helmand Basin is a structurally closed basin that began to form during the middle Tertiary as a consequence of the collision of several Gondwanaland fragments. Aeromagnetic studies indicate the basin is 3–5 kilometers deep over basement rocks. Continued subsidence along basin-bounding faults in Iran and Pakistan throughout the Neogene has formed the Sistan depression in the southwest corner of the basin. Lacustrine, eolian, and fluvial deposits are commonly exposed in the basin and were intruded by latest Miocene–middle Quaternary volcanoes, which indicates that depositional environments in the lower Helmand Basin have not substantially changed for nearly 10 million years.

Lakes expanded in the Sistan depression during the Quaternary; however, the size and extent of these pluvial lakes are unknown. Climate conditions in the lower Helmand Basin likely mirrored climate changes in the Rajasthan Desert to the east and in Middle Eastern deserts to the west: greater aridity during global episodes of colder temperatures and increased available moisture during episodes of warmer temperatures.

Eolian processes are unusually dominant in shaping the landscape in the basin. A strong wind blows for 120 days each summer, scouring dry lakebeds and creating dune fields from annual flood deposits. Nearly one-third of the basin is mantled with active or stabilized dunes. Blowing winds combined with summer temperatures over 50o Celsius and voluminous insect populations hatched from the deltaic wetlands create an environment referred to as the “most odious place on earth” by 19th century visitors. During dry years, large plumes of dust originating from Sistan are recorded by weather satellites.

The Helmand River drains about 40 percent of Afghanistan and receives most of its moisture from melting snow and spring storms. Similar to many desert streams, the Helmand and its main tributary, the Arghandab River, are characterized by large fluctuations in monthly and annual discharges. Water from the Helmand accumulates in several hamuns (shallow lakes) in the Sistan depression. The wetlands surrounding these hamuns are the largest in western Asia and are directly affected by droughts and floods on the Helmand. Average annual discharge on the Helmand is about 6.12 million megaliters (million cubic meters), and the annual discharge varies by a factor of five. In 2005, the region was just beginning to recover from the longest drought (1998-2005) of record back to 1830. Annual peak discharges range from less than 80 cubic meters per second in 1971 to nearly 19,000 cubic meters per second in 1885. Large floods fill each hamun to overflowing to create one large lake that overflows into the normally dry Gaud-i Zirreh basin. The interaction of flooding, active subsidence, and wind erosion causes frequent channel changes on the Helmand delta. A major development effort on the Helmand River was initiated after World War II with substantial aid from the United States. Two dams and several major canals were completed in the 1950s; however, poor drainage conditions on the newly prepared agricultural fields caused extensive waterlogging and salinization. New drains were installed and improved agricultural methods were implemented in the 1970s, and some lands became more productive. Since 1980, Afghanistan has endured almost constant war and civil and political strife. In 2005, the country was on a path to rebuild much of its technical infrastructure. Revitalization of agricultural lands in the lower Helmand Basin and improved management of surface-and ground-water resources are crucial to the country’s reconstruction efforts.

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T. J. Mack, M. Amin Akbari, M. Hanif Ashoor, M. P. Chornack, T. B. Coplen, D. G. Emerson, B. E. Hubbard, D. W. Litke, R. L. Michel, L. Niel Plummer, M. Taher Rezai, G. B. Senay, J. P. Verdin, I. M. Verstraeten: Conceptual Model of Water Resources in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan

2010

The United States Geological Survey has been working with the Afghanistan Geological Survey and the Afghanistan Ministry of Energy and Water on water-resources investigations in the Kabul Basin under an agreement supported by the United States Agency for International Development. This collaborative investigation compiled, to the extent possible in a war-stricken country, a varied hydrogeologic data set and developed limited data-collection networks to assist with the management of water resources in the Kabul Basin. This report presents the results of a multidisciplinary water-resources assessment conducted between 2005 and 2007 to address questions of future water availability for a growing population and of the potential effects of climate change.

Most hydrologic and climatic data-collection activities in Afghanistan were interrupted in the early 1980s as a consequence of war and civil strife and did not resume until 2003 or later. Because of the gap of more than 20 years in the record of hydrologic and climatic observations, this investigation has made considerable use of remotely sensed data and, where available, historical records to investigate the water resources of the Kabul Basin. Specifically, this investigation integrated recently acquired remotely sensed data and satellite imagery, including glacier and climatic data; recent climate-change analyses; recent geologic investigations; analysis of streamflow data; groundwater-level analysis; surface-water- and groundwater-quality data, including data on chemical and isotopic environmental tracers; and estimates of public-supply and agricultural water uses. The data and analyses were integrated by using a simplified groundwater-flow model to test the conceptual model of the hydrologic system and to assess current (2007) and future (2057) water availability.

Recharge in the basin is spatially and temporally variable and generally occurs near streams and irrigated areas in the late winter and early spring. In irrigated areas near uplands or major rivers, the annual recharge rate may be about 1.2 ? 10-3 meters per day; however, in areas at lower altitude with little irrigation, the recharge rate may average about 0.7 ? 10-3 meters per day. With increasing population, the water needs of the Kabul Basin are estimated to increase from 112,000 cubic meters per day to about 725,000 cubic meters per day by the year 2057. In some areas of the basin, particularly in the north along the western mountain front and near major rivers, water resources are generally adequate for current needs. In other areas of the basin, such as in the east and away from major rivers, the available water resources may not meet future needs. On the basis of the model simulations, increasing withdrawals are likely to result in declining water levels that may cause more than 50 percent of shallow (typically less than 50 meters deep) supply wells to become dry or inoperative. The water quality in the shallow (less than 100 meters thick), unconsolidated primary aquifer has deteriorated in urban areas because of poor sanitation. Concerns about water availability may be compounded by poor well-construction practices and lack of planning.

Future water resources of the Kabul Basin will likely be reduced as a result of increasing air temperatures associated with global climate change. It is estimated that at least 60 percent of shallow groundwater-supply wells would be affected and may become dry or inoperative as a result of climate change. These effects of climate change would likely be greatest in the agricultural areas adjacent to the Paghman Mountains where a majority of springs, karezes, and wells would be affected. The water available in the shallow primary aquifer of the basin may meet future water needs in the northern areas of the Kabul Basin near the Panjsher River. Conceptual groundwater-flow simulations indicate that the basin likely has groundwater reserves in unused unconsolidated to semiconsolidated aquifers that are as thick as 1,000 meters. On the basis of mass-fraction measurements of chlorofluorocarbon in few samples, the age of groundwater in deep aquifers is likely on the order of thousands of years and may differ among the subbasins of the Kabul Basin. Deep groundwater in subbasin areas that are bounded by interbasin ridges may be considerably older than deep groundwater in other areas of the Kabul Basin. The deep aquifer may sustain increased municipal use but may not support increased agricultural use, which is presently an order of magnitude greater than municipal water use. The hydraulic feasibility of deep groundwater extractions and the quality of groundwater in the deep aquifer, however, are not well known and are currently (2007) under investigation.

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T. Williams-Sether: Streamflow Characteristics of Streams in the Helmand Basin, Afghanistan

2008

Statistical summaries of streamflow data for all historical streamflow-gaging stations for the Helmand Basin upstream from the Sistan Wetlands are presented in this report. The summaries for each streamflow-gaging station include (1) manuscript (station description), (2) graph of the annual mean discharge for the period of record, (3) statistics of monthly and annual mean discharges, (4) graph of the annual flow duration, (5) monthly and annual flow duration, (6) probability of occurrence of annual high discharges, (7) probability of occurrence of annual low discharges, (8) probability of occurrence of seasonal low discharges, (9) annual peak discharge and corresponding gage height for the period of record, and (10) monthly and annual mean discharges for the period of record.

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M.R. Taher, M.P. Chornack, T.J. Mack: Groundwater Levels in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan, 2004–2013

2014

The Afghanistan Geological Survey, with technical assistance from the U.S. Geological Survey, established a network of wells to measure and monitor groundwater levels to assess seasonal, areal, and potentially climatic variations in groundwater characteristics in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan, the most populous region in the country. Groundwater levels were monitored in 71 wells in the Kabul Basin, Afghanistan, starting as early as July 2004 and continuing to the present (2013). The monitoring network is made up exclusively of existing production wells; therefore, both static and dynamic water levels were recorded. Seventy wells are in unconsolidated sediments, and one well is in bedrock. Water levels were measured periodically, generally monthly, using electric tape water-level meters. Water levels in well 64 on the grounds of the Afghanistan Geological Survey building were measured more frequently. This report provides a 10-year compilation of groundwater levels in the Kabul Basin prepared in cooperation with the Afghanistan Geological Survey.

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T.J. Mack, M.P. Chornack, S.M. Flanagan, A.T. Chalmers: Hydrogeology and Water Quality of the Chakari Basin, Afghanistan

2014

The hydrogeology and water quality of the Chakari Basin, a 391-square-kilometer (km2) watershed near Kabul, Afghanistan, was assessed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Afghanistan Geological Survey to provide an understanding of the water resources in an area of Afghanistan with considerable copper and other mineral resources. Water quality, chemical, and isotopic samples were collected at eight wells, four springs, one kareze, and the Chakari River in a basin-fill aquifer in the Chakari Basin by the Afghanistan Geological Survey.

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K.C. Vining, A.V. Vecchia: Estimated Monthly Streamflows for Selected Locations on the Kabul and Logar Rivers, Aynak Copper, Cobalt, and Chromium Area of Interest, Afghanistan, 1951–2010

2014

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, used the stochastic monthly water-balance model and existing climate data to estimate monthly streamflows for 1951–2010 for selected streamgaging stations located within the Aynak copper, cobalt, and chromium area of interest in Afghanistan. The model used physically based, nondeterministic methods to estimate the monthly volumetric water-balance components of a watershed.

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Other Publications

J. Agyeman, Y. Ogneva-Himmelberger: Environmental justice and sustainability in the Former Soviet Union

2009

The legacy of environmental catastrophe in the states of the former Soviet Union includes desertification, pollution, and the toxic aftermath of industrial accidents, the most notorious of which was the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. This book examines the development of environmental activism in Russia and the former Soviet republics in response to these problems and its effect on policy and planning. It also shows that because of increasing economic, ethnic, and social inequality in the former Soviet states, debates over environmental justice are beginning to come to the fore. The book explores the varying environmental, social, political, and economic circumstances of these countries — which range from the Western-style democracies of the Baltic states to the totalitarian regimes of Central Asia — and how they affect the ecological, environmental, and public health. Among the topics covered are environmentalism in Russia (including the progressive nature of its laws on environmental protection, which are undermined by the instability of the legal environment and a failure to implement laws); the effect of oil wealth on Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; the role of nationalism in Latvian environmentalism; the struggle of Russia's indigenous peoples for environmental justice; public participation in Estonia's environmental movement; and lack of access to natural capital in Tajikistan. Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union makes clear that although fragile transition economies, varying degrees of democratization, and a focus on national security can stymie progress toward "just sustainability," the diverse states of the former Soviet Union are making some progress toward sustainability and environmental justice.

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The MDG target on Water and Sanitation Reader

2010

This reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with issues related to the achievement of target 7c of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on issues related to the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as they relate to water and sanitation. Link is provided when the publication is available online.

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Integrated Water Resources Management Reader

2010

This reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with Integrated Water Management (IWRM) issues. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on IWRM issues. Link is provided when the publication is available online.

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Water Quality Reader

2010

This reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with water quality issues. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant UN publications on water quality. It also contains references for specific audiences such as water suppliers, educators, farmers or policy-makers.

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Financing Water and Sanitation Reader

2010

This reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with financing issues related to water and sanitation. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on financing. It also contains references for specific audiences such as financial institutions and policy makers. Link is provided when the publication is available online.

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Water and Climate Change Reader

2010

Produced by the United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015, this reader is mainly intended for those media professionals interested to get familiar with water and climate change. Special emphasis is placed on adaptation strategies. The guide provides basic references for easy reading on climate change and some of the latest and most relevant UN publications on water and climate change. Some additional non-UN references are also included. Link provided when the publication is available online.

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Transboundary Water Cooperation Reader

2010

Produced by the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication, this reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with transboundary water issues. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on transboundary water and cooperation issues. It also contains experiences from different regions of the world.

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Reader on Water and the Green Economy

2011

This reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with issues related to water and the green economy. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on the issue. Links are provided when the publication is available online.

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Water and Food Security Reader

2012

Produced by the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC), this reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with issues related to water and food security. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on the issue. Links are provided when the publication is available online.

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Reader on Water and Health

2014

This reader is intended for all those interested in getting familiar with issues related to water and health. The reader provides basic references for easy reading and some of the latest and most relevant United Nations publications on the issue. The publications are categorised according to overview; drinking water quality and risk management; water quantity; avoiding water-related diseases; water, health and economics; waste and wastewater management and by region

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Climate-Fragility Risk Factsheet Afghanistan

2019

This climate fragility risk brief outlines some of the ways in which climate change threatens long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan: Climate shocks and climate ‘headwinds’ could worsen poverty, weaken governance and contribute to instability.

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Climate-Fragility Risk Brief Afghanistan

2019

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Historical Publications

A. Vambery: The coming struggle for India: being an account of the encroachments of Russia in Central Asia, and of the difficulties sure to arise therefrom to England

1885

The way to Tashkend — The conquest of the three khanates — The material and moral victory at Geok Tepe — From Ashkabad to Merv — England's policy in the face of Russian conquests — Russia's designs upon Herat — Importance of Herat — Russia's chances of conquering Herat — England means of defence — The only reasonable line of defence — Comparison between the English and Russian civilisations in the East — Why ought England to retain India? — Myself and my present book

Source: The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection at the University of Nebraska-Omaha

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O. Olufsen: Through the unknown Pamirs; the second Danish Pamir expedition, 1898-1899

1904

Tajiks - Pamir - Description and travel Asia, Central - Description and travel

Source: The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection at the University of Nebraska-Omaha

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J. Abbott: Narrative of a journey from Heraut to Khiva, Moscow, and St. Petersburgh, during the late Russian invasion of Khiva, with some account of the court of Khiva and the kingdom of Khaurism, vol.1

1884

Published in two volumes - London: W. H. Allen, 1884. 3rd ed

Source: The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection at the University of Nebraska-Omaha

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J. Abbott: Narrative of a journey from Heraut to Khiva, Moscow, and St. Petersburgh, during the late Russian invasion of Khiva, with some account of the court of Khiva and the kingdom of Khaurism, vol.2

1884

Published in two volumes - London: W. H. Allen, 1884. 3rd ed

Source: The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection at the University of Nebraska-Omaha

Download: Part 1 [pdf, 7,91 MB] Part 2 [pdf, 5,77 MB] Part 3 [pdf, 7,05 MB]

E. Bell: The Oxus and the Indus

1874

Source: The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection at the University of Nebraska-Omaha

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