Child Mortality and the War on Terror: Afghanistan from 2007 to 2010


To estimate the impact of armed conflict on child mortality, I use annual variations in violence across provinces in Afghanistan to identify children more affected by war than others. I find that children in provinces with higher level of violence have a higher chance of survival until the age of five compared to children in provinces with lower levels of violence. This finding is unexpected and surprising, however, it can be explained by higher development efforts in these provinces. In the provinces with more violence (e.g. Kabul, Kandahar), and therefore more terrorist attacks on mainly US-led ISAF troops, higher investments in the local infrastructure are more likely. This is because the US is the major donor of development aid in Afghanistan. Thus, I capture improvements in the health system as an effect of a higher influx of development aid in the US controlled provinces. Therefore, a positive effect of improvements in the health system outweighs a potentially negative effect of violence on child mortality.

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