Through a field-based study of Tajikistan, this paper argues that aid, by focusing on economic liberalisation, has empowered a particular group of élites who had privileged access to state assets at the time of civil war settlement, allowing them to establish institutional frameworks that consolidated their personal and monopolistic control of resources. This led to the collapse of power-sharing arrangements, as the incumbent regime has sought to remove wartime commanders and opposition leaders from the administrative apparatus. Aid has thus institutionalised exclusion and sustained patterns of violence along civil war divisions, rather than transformed wartime power structures. This paper is well documented on the state capture by Rahmon’s clique and is for this reason very interesting. The author’s main thesis is obviously controversial and not totally convincing because of some weak demonstrations. For instance, S. Nakaya argues implicitly that with more aid funding for implementation of peace agreements, state capture would not have happened. Has it really been a problem of funding that led to a weak implementation of the peace agreement, or has it been more an issue of political commitment? What would be the current situation if implicit solutions advocated by the author would have been implemented? It is obviously impossible to answer with certainty to such questions. But the author implies that aid should not have strengthened state capacity, and anti-corruption and drug enforcement institutions (as soon as it was captured) should not have focused on macroeconomic stabilisation (after the civil war), and should have intervened in the political process as soon as opposition was sanctioned. If institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank would have followed this route, which is contrary to their mandate, Bretton Woods institutions would have been accused of political interference. Even though this article is sometimes too simplistic, it documents the Tajik case and the possible perverse effects of aid in fragile states after a civil war.

Gaël Raballand, Observatory of Post-Soviet States, Paris
CER: II-7.4.E-667