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Isar, Sarajuddin (2023) Taxation and State-Building in Afghanistan: A Political Economy Perspective (2001-2021). PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This research focuses on the fiscal dimension of state-building in Afghanistan. It examines the relationship between state-building and taxation with a particular focus on the Karzai (2001–2014) and Ghani (2014–2019) administrations, whilst also placing this analysis within a longer-term historical framework. It aims to answer three key questions. First, how have state taxation policies evolved and changed over time? Second, what explains these changes in taxation policies? Third, what are the theoretical and policy implications of these findings? These negotiations and shifts are located within a wider historical perspective by mapping the emerging relationship between state-building and taxation, dating back to the reign of the Durranis in 1747. In order to study these shifts and negotiation, I apply a political economy framework, drawing in particular on political settlement theory which provides an entry point for understanding the relationship between taxation policies and the shifting configurations of power. This research is the result of almost four months of field research conducted in Kabul, the capital, where 120 key informant interviews were held and half of its 22 tax centres were visited as non-participant observation research to learn how tax collection was conducted beyond the official, organisational and legislative norms and rules.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Jonathan Goodhand, Christopher Cramer and Jonathan Di John
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2023 16:39

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