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Dr Kambaiz Rafi

Teaching Fellow

Teaching Fellow in the School of Government and International Affairs 


Dr Kambaiz Rafi is a teaching fellow in comparative politics of development at the School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University. His research has focused on the political economy of development and institutions in a conflict-affected (or post-conflict) context. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts, his doctoral work investigated institutions and socially-contingent practical knowledge in relation to secondary sector investments in a conflict-affected market economy.

Previously he held a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (Economic and Social Research Council), hosted at the department of development studies, SOAS University of London. He has a doctorate from UCL (University College London) in development policy, masters in international political economy from King’s College London and undergraduate in Economics from Pune University. He has been a fellow of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (a think-tank based in Kabul, Afghanistan), worked as advisor of the minister of economy of the Republic of Afghanistan on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and has experience working in think-tanks and international organizations. Kambaiz has published peer-reviewed and media articles and a monograph based on his doctoral findings.

Research Interests

  • Political Economy of Development
  • Economic resource allocation
  • Institutions


  • Rafi, Kambaiz (2022) Patriarchal Hierarchy; Market Capitalism and Production in Afghanistan. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan 

Journal Articles

  • (2018) ICT in development; a contextual approach, Indian Journal of Human Development, 12(3): 453-461
  • (2015) The Afghan insurgency and the uncertainty of peace negotiations, Journal of Perspectives on Terrorism, Center for Security Studies, ETH Zürich, 9(5): 69-72

Policy Papers

  • (2018) Afghanistan Sustainable Development Goals Vision 2021-2030, Ministry of Economy of Afghanistan, Government of Afghanistan

Think Tank Papers

  • (2021) Will China replace the US in Afghanistan? Royal United Services Institute, London, UK, October 14
  • (2020) Afghanistan in need of systemic reforms to avoid election stand-offs, Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, Kabul, Afghanistan, March 14
  • (2019) Production during times of instability, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Kabul, Afghanistan, June 11
  • (2014) To defeat or contain the Islamic State, EastWest Institute, Washington, D.C., USA, November 5
  • (2014) The aftermath of the Kabul Unity Government, EastWest Institute, Washington, D.C., USA, October 10

Selected Media Articles

  • (2023) World Bank reports on Afghanistan; condoning the Taliban regime or neo-classical orthodoxy? BBC Persian, June 24
  • (2023) The Taliban is not playing straight with the west over easing of sanctions – and women and girls are paying much of the price, The Conversation, April 14
  • (2003) Politicization of Women’s Rights in Afghanistan, BBC Persian, April
  • (2022) A Domestic Alternative to the Taliban, The Conversation, Oct 24
  • (2021) What’s next for Afghanistan? Two experts make predictions, The Conversation, Nov 30
  • (2021) Afghanistan: Taliban face many obstacles to governing – not least their violent methods, The Conversation, Sept 21
  • (2021) Popular mobilization forces; how could they benefit the Afghan state?, BBC Persian, Jun 30
  • (2020) What’s Next for Afghanistan amid Covid, political logjam, Asia Times, Apr 29
  • (2020) Covid-19 implications for Afghanistan; quarantine amid reduction of US assistance, BBC Persian, Apr 21
  • (2020) The Long War in Afghanistan might be over. Who won?, The Diplomat Magazine, Mar 08
  • (2019) Electoral squabbling and challenges to political speech, BBC Persian, Nov 28
  • (2019) ISKP vs Taliban: impasse in Afghan peace process, Asia Times, Nov 4
  • (2019) Iran: Time for anti-war activism, Asia Times, Jul 1
  • (2019) The language of exclusion in Afghanistan, The Independent (Persian), Jun 28
  • (2019) Give ordinary Afghans a voice in any peace deal with the Taliban, Global Security Review, Jun 7
  • (2019) Trust, naivety, and negotiating with the Afghan Taliban, The Diplomat Magazine, May 20
  • (2018) The political ramifications of Trump’s peace with the Taliban, Global Security Review, Dec 11
  • (2018) Yes or No, do Afghans want the Taliban, Etilatroz, Nov 18
  • (2018) Why a strategic port in Iran was exempted from sanctions?, Asia Times, Nov 12
  • (2018) Afghanistan’s institutional credibility crisis and likelihood of ‘sheepish elections’, Eurasia Review, Jun 21
  • (2018) Legislative elections; why people don’t register?, BBC Persian, May 13
  • (2017) Balkh-Herat highway, an alternative to Salang never built, BBC Persian), Aug 14
  • (2017) Rachid Ghanouchi: democracy is ‘halal’, BBC Persian, May 1
  • (2015) The Taliban’s enemies, foreign and domestic, Foreign Policy, Jul 6
  • (2012) Violence against women and the persistent silence, Hasht-I Sobh, Feb 13