Dr. Jason Morrissette, associate professor of political science and director of the international affairs program, recently had research published in the Marine Corps University Journal, titled “Beyond 2014: Afghanistan’s Agricultural Revival, Water Scarcity, and Regional Security.” He co-authored it with Douglas A. Borer from the Naval Postgraduate School.
In a summary, the article was described as examining efforts underway in Afghanistan to shift away from poppy cultivation and revive the country’s “legitimate” agricultural sector. These initiatives have the potential to both promote economic development as well as disrupt the funding that the Taliban receives from the illicit opium trade. Afghanistan’s agricultural revival has broader regional consequences, specifically, that the expansion of agricultural productivity into new crops requires additional fresh water. This article examines how Afghanistan’s growing need for freshwater resources, estimated to increase by as much as 20 percent in the years ahead, is likely to generate competition and perhaps even conflict with its neighboring states in Central Asia. In turn, the authors argue that what is best for Afghanistan — that is, expanding the country’s capacity to grow traditional crops — may have negative consequences for regional security in Central Asia as a whole. They propose that a measured approach accounting for broader regional concerns is imperative for the United States and other international actors who are assisting in Afghanistan’s recovery.
The article appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of the Marine Corps University Journal, which is available for free download at http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/mcu_press/Pages/JournalCat.aspx).