Posted by: Christian | August 31, 2009

Helmand Valley Backgrounder

My break from blogging continues. But I think I’ll fill in the gap with file sharing. Today’s theme is the Helmand Valley.

First up from 1959:

Kabul Kunduz Helmand

Here’s the citation:

Aloys Arthur Michel, 1959. The Kabul, Kunduz and Helmand Valleys in the National Economy of Afghanistan. Washington: National Research Council.

I freely admit that I have not read it from front to back. More of a skim than anything. You can find it for download here compliments of google

Next up is from a USAID worker with 7 years on the ground in the Helmand:

Helmand Valley

Here’s the citation:

Richard B. Scott, 1980. Tribal and Ethnic Groups in the Helmand Valley. Afghanistan Council Occasional Paper #21.

I’ve definitely read this. Here’s a link to the download. One of the pages is huge because the scan quality was too poor to see map gradients, so I photographed it. BTW, the new photo header is a map from this report.

Next up is also on the Helmand, even if the title doesn’t say so.

Nick Cullather, 2002. ‘From New Deal to New Frontier in Afghanistan: Modernization in a Buffer State’, Journal of American History, Vol. 89, No. 2.   Login to download [your university or government department may have a subscription].

I would never dream of violating copyright by sharing a pdf from a poor impoverished publisher, so I’ll put up a pdf of the working version from NYU. Link to download here.

Looking through google scholar, Cullather’s paper had a decent number of works citing it (over a dozen). Michel’s publication only has 6 works citing it since 1959 (including Cullather’s). Scott’s work only has three works citing it (however, two of those three are Robert McChesney and Olivier Roy, so points for quality). This says something about the state of something…. [historian grumble].

OK, back to not blogging….

Update: Richard B Scott has send two additional sources on Helmand that he has authored. Download pdfs: 2007 and 2009.


  1. In the long bibliography I did not see two thesis/disertations by Ghulam Farouq, MA, at University of Beyrout(sp) about 1976 on land settlement in Helmand, Afghanistan, and Lloyd Baron, PhD, McGil Univ. about 1976 where he compares the irrigation systems of the US in Helmand and the Soviet Irrigation in Nangahar. Perjhhaps I just missed them.I can send the complete references. I have copies. There are lots of non-academic reports on Helmand, like 3 different Helmand Farm Economic Surveys between 1965 and 1976. More later.
    I can try to send a clearer copy of the maps from my Helmand Tribes paper. They re-appear in my USAID report “The North Shamalan: A Survey of Land and People” 1971, that I have just had scanned. In a seperate message I will send a more recent report on the mess-up in Helmand reconstruction in 02.

  2. Richard,

    How can I get copies (drool, drool)?


  3. Richard, I second Vernie Liebl’s post – how can one obtain copies of the magnificent sounding reports?

    Christian, thanks for posting these valuable files, they came at a really good time.

    Any heads up on these further Helmand reports discussed above would be great.

  4. Duh, I just reread the postscript and see the docs from Richard listed…Thanks, I get an F for detail management—-


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