Afghanistan ravaged by a long drawn out period of civil strife and war, at present lacks the required facilities for scientific study and research. Kabul University, like Afghanistan’s other universities, in the aftermath of many years of civil war and destruction, is primarily busy implementing a basic higher education system. Thus, the limited research infrastructure that had previously existed is not currently active.
Research institutes, such as the former Social Institute for Policy, set up by the National Democratic Party during the Najibullah regime, remained closed. Other research institutes, like the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan and the “Research Center” at Kabul University, are currently relatively-functional because of emphasis upon teaching programs desperately in need of revival.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the restoration of peace, an opportunity has arisen for an all-round reconstruction of Afghan polity and economy, as part of an international commitment to reconstructing Afghanistan. A number of international donors, both multi-lateral and bilateral, are coming forward with funds and technical expertise with the aim of assisting this process
Within this context, the Afghan government authorities have to determine priorities and sectors for the most efficient allocation of resources. This situation is to some extent mitigated by donor countries and agencies’ conditions on the use of funds. Nevertheless, there exists clear scope for the careful design and implementation of long-term policies which would allow this international assistance to tie into the future social, economic and political development of Afghanistan.
Within this context, research institutions such as the NCPR can offer valuable service to academics and policy-makers. All 3 major aims of the NCPR - training of researchers, conducting of policy-oriented social research, and the promotion of dialogue between various actors in Afghan society – provide much needed input into this development process.