Post-war reconstruction, policy transfer and the World Bank: the case of Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Programme

This article investigates the role of the World Bank as an agent of international policy transfer in post-war reconstruction and development. A heuristic method which integrates policy transfer network theory, participant observation and implementation analysis is developed and then used to map the process of policy-oriented learning underpinning the emergence and development of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Programme (NSP). Drawing on the findings of a mid-term evaluation conducted by the authors for the World Bank it reveals that initial World Bank funding of the NSP was opportunistic; a voluntary form of policy transfer emerged from a cohesive policy transfer network which mainly drew lessons from the Kecamatan Development Project (KDP) in Indonesia, leading to the development of a culturally insensitive model of community-driven development; but due to the technocratic expertise of key indigenous actors and the technical support of facilitating partners, these elements of the programme were successfully mitigated during operational delivery. It concludes that ‘Rational’ lesson-drawing which avoids the ‘learning paradox’ – learning that leads to inappropriate transfer – can be successful. In other words, lesson-drawing can be a progressive learning activity, but only if the programme is culturally assimilated through comprehensive evaluation and piloting, builds on existing organisational strengths and is transferred by high-quality indigenous knowledge elites. Local solutions must be found to local problems which deliver public value in terms of direct social or economic benefits to the citizenry. Indeed, although development outcomes have been less than impressive, the NSP has delivered significant gains to the Afghan people with regard to institution-building and social solidarity at the national and community levels.

Impact of the Reintegration of Former KLA Combatants on the Post-Warrecovery of Kosovo

This article examines the impact of the reintegration of former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) combatants on the post-war recovery of Kosovo. The exploration is conducted through a micro- and macro-security perspective. The analysis focuses on the three main issues: preferential treatment of former KLA combatants, identification and utilisation of KLA resources, and the long-term implications of reintegration on the peacebuilding process in Kosovo and regional security. The findings from this analysis are presented in the form of a list of general conclusions and lessons that can be applied by those agencies involved in the reintegration of former combatants in Kosovo and other similar circumstances.

Karzai’s curse – legitimacy as stability in Afghanistan and other post-conflict environments

Post-conflict reconstruction and stabilisation have focused upon the establishment of both strong states capable of maintaining stability and various forms of ‘Good Governance’. However, both presume the development of substantial security sectors and highly functioning administrative systems within unrealistically brief periods of time. The failure to meet such inflated expectations commonly results in the disillusionment of both the local populations and the international community, and, hence, increased state fragility and decreased aid financing and effectiveness. As such the authors re-frame the basic question by asking how stabilisation can be achieved in spite of weak state institutions during reconstruction processes. Based upon extensive field research in Afghanistan and other conflict-affected contexts, the authors propose a model of post-conflict stabilisation focused primarily on the attainment of legitimacy by state institutions. Finally, the authors examine how legitimacy-oriented stabilisation and reconstruction will benefit from emerging models of ‘collaborative governance’ which will allow international interventions, through consociational relationships with fragile states and civil society, to bolster rather than undermine political legitimacy.

The Evolution of Post-conflict Recovery

Recent history has been marked by the rise of post-conflict intervention as a component of military and foreign policy, as a form of humanitarianism and as a challenge to Westphalian notions of state sovereignty. The terms of debate, the history of the discipline and the evolution of scholarship and practice remain relatively under-examined, particularly in the post-9/11 period in which post-conflict recovery came to be construed as an extension of conflict and as a domain concerned principally with the national security of predominantly Western countries. The subsequent politicisation of post-conflict recovery and entry of post-conflict assistance into the political economy of conflict have fundamentally changed policy making and practice. The authors argue that research into post-conflict recovery, which must become increasingly rigorous and theoretically grounded, should detach itself from the myriad political agendas which have sought to impose themselves upon war-torn countries. The de-politicisation of post-conflict recovery, the authors conclude, may benefit from an increasingly structured “architecture of integrated, directed recovery.”

State Building and Post-Conflict Demilitarization: Military Downsizing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In 2002, conventional wisdom held that the consolidation of Bosnia’s three ethnically distinct armies into a single force under a unitary chain of command was an unrealistically ambitious goal for the foreseeable future. NATO’s Secretary-General agreed that year to remove defence reform as a precondition to Partnership for Peace (PfP) membership, a first step towards NATO accession. However, less than two years later defence reform was being implemented, albeit incrementally and begrudgingly, and those seemingly distant goals were near at hand. Scholars and policymakers quickly focused on the motives for this unlikely reform process and the institutions it would produce. However, since 2006, the year in which Bosnia’s armies and defence ministries formally united, the literature has gone silent on the topic of defence reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The fact that institutional defence reform had been achieved overshadowed discussions of its impact and long-term implications. This article attempts to fill this gap by addressing the following question: how has military downsizing been implemented within the scope of defence reform, and how has its implementation either supported or hindered broader state building agendas in BiH?