The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has since the turn of the new century experienced a double transformation gap: between global and regionally oriented allies and between allies emulating new military practices defined by the United States and allies resisting radical change. This article takes stock of these gaps in light of a decade’s worth of collective and national adjustments and in light of counter-insurgency lessons provided by Afghanistan. It argues first of all that the latter transatlantic gap is receding in importance because the United States has adjusted its transformation approach and because some European allies have significantly invested in technological, doctrinal, and organizational reform. The other transformation gap is deepening, however, pitching battle-hardened and expeditionary allies against allies focused on regional tasks of stabilization and deterrence. There is a definite potential for broad transformation, our survey of officers’ opinion shows, but NATO’s official approach to transformation, being broad and vague, provides neither political nor military guidance. If NATO is to move forward and bridge the gap, it must clarify the lessons of Afghanistan and embed them in its new Strategic Concept.
War disciplines militaries: it forces them to refine, and sometimes revise, their tactics, techniques and technologies, or risk defeat in battle. Yet there is no theory of how militaries improve in war. This article develops a theory of military adaptation, which it applies to an analysis of the British campaign in Helmand from 2006 to 2009. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources (military plans, post operation reports and interviews), it shows how British brigades adapted different ways of using combat power to try and defeat the Taliban from 2006-07, and how from late 2007, British brigades have adapted a new population-centric approach that has focused more on influence operations and non-kinetic activities.
The overarching Western objective in Afghanistan should be to prevent that country from becoming not just a haven for transnational terrorists, but a terrorist ally as well. That was the situation prior to 9/11 and it would be so again if the Taliban returned to power with al-Qaeda backing. NATO can prevent this indefinitely as long as it is willing to commit significant military and economic resources to a counter-insurgency effort. It cannot eliminate the threat, however, as long as the Afghan insurgents enjoy sanctuary in and support from Pakistan. Alternatively, this objective could be achieved if the Taliban could be persuaded to cut its ties to al-Qaeda and end its insurgency in exchange for some role in Afghan governance short of total control.
This article reassesses the extent to which the British Army has been able to adapt to the counter-insurgency campaign in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. While adopting Farrell’s definition of bottom-up military adaptation, this article contends that the task force/brigade level of analysis adopted by Farrell and Farrell and Gordon has led them to overstate the degree to which innovation arising from processes of bottom-up adaptation has actually ensued. Drawing on lower level tactical unit interviews and other data, this article demonstrates how units have been unable or unwilling to execute non-kinetic population-centric operations due to their lack of understanding of the principles of counter-insurgency warfare.
I n July 2009, the Center for Complex Operations (CCO) facilitated a workshop sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to capture the experiences of USDA agricultural advisors deployed to ministries and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. The discussions yielded numerous individual observations, insights, and potential lessons from the work of these advisors on PRTs in these countries. This article presents a broad overview of the challenges identified by the conference participants and highlights key recommendations generated as a result of suggestions and comments made at the workshop. The workshop was intended to capture insights and lessons from the !eld to develop recommendations for improvements in PRT operations, with a particular focus on agricultural development. The 30 participants came from a broad spectrum of USDA: the National Resources Conservation Service, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration. To focus the agenda, CCO and USDA designed a preworkshop survey administered to the 30 USDA returnees (22 from Iraq and 8 from Afghanistan). After receiving 24 responses, CCO and USDA used the results to develop an agenda built around facilitated group discussions in four areas: doctrine and guidance, civil-military cooperation and command and control relationships, projects and their impact on the host nation, and administrative issues.
Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence in locations with active insurgencies. The authors test that prediction in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines, using survey data on unemployment and two newly available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks against government and allied forces and (2) violence that kill civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost theory, the data emphatically reject a positive correlation between unemployment and attacks against government and allied forces (p < .05 percent). There is no significant relationship between unemployment and the rate of insurgent attacks that kill civilians. The authors identify several potential explanations, introducing the notion of insurgent precision to adjudicate between the possibilities that predation on one hand, and security measures and information costs on the other, account for the negative correlation between unemployment and violence in these three conflicts.
In countries affected by insurgencies, development programs may potentially reduce violence by improving economic outcomes and increasing popular support for the government. In this paper, we test the efficacy of this approach through a large-scale randomized controlled trial of the largest development program in Afghanistan at the height of the Taliban insurgency. We find that the program generally improved economic outcomes, increased support for the government, and reduced insurgent violence. However, in areas close to the Pakistani border, the program did not increase support for the government and actually increased insurgent violence. This heterogeneity in treatment effects appears to be due to differences between districts in the degree of infiltration by external insurgents, who are not reliant on the local population for support. The results suggest that while development programs can quell locally-based insurgencies, such programs may be counterproductive when implemented in areas where insurgents are not embedded in the local population.
International peace-building interventions in post-conflict countries are intended to transform the socio-political context that led to violence and thereby build a stable and lasting peace. Yet the UN’s transitional governance approach to peace-building is ill-suited to the challenge of dealing with the predatory political economy of insecurity that often emerges in post-conflict societies. Evidence from peace-building attempts in Cambodia, East Timor and Afghanistan illustrates that the political economy incentives facing domestic elites in an environment of low credibility and weak institutionalisation lead to a cycle of patronage generation and distribution that undermine legitimate and effective governance. As a result, post-conflict countries are left vulnerable to renewed conflict and persistent insecurity. International interventions can only craft lasting peace by understanding the political economy of conflict persistence and the potential policy levers for altering, rather than perpetuating, those dynamics.
In recent years, international organizations have concluded that standard principles of Public Finance Management (PFM) are equally applicable to all areas of the national budget, including the security sector. In many cases long-term external assistance may be required for the security sector, generating severe trade-offs with other priority sectors which also require long-term external support. Overcoming the legacy of a fiscally unsustainable and poorly managed security sector calls for full application of PFM principles to support the establishment of checks and balances required to establish a wholly accountable security sector. The recent World Bank PFM review of Afghanistan, perhaps the first example of such a review, provides a number of lessons, summarized in this note. Some of these include: security in post-conflict situations is a key condition for a return to political normalcy and conversely, development is also needed for security; PFM practices can take into consideration the most complex and confidential issues without undermining the application of the fundamental principles of accountability to elected civil authorities; and reviewing security reform through a PFM lens reduces risks and costs to both the country concerned and donors.
This note, summarizing the analysis and recommendations of an upcoming CPR Working Paper of the same title, looks at issues related to financing modalities and aid management arrangements in post-conflict situations. It makes a number of recommendations based on a review of several recent case studies, of which four are assessed in detail: West Bank and Gaza, Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor, and Afghanistan. It focuses on the lessons of experience on multi-donor trust funds and on the recipient government’s aid management architecture in post-conflict settings. This paper is concerned with the specific issues of financing modalities and aid management arrangements in post-conflict situations, and advances a number of recommendations on the basis of a review of several recent cases, among which four are assessed in detail: West Bank and Gaza, Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor (Timor-Leste) and Afghanistan. While generally applicable recommendations do emerge from the review, the most important recommendation is to tailor the design and sequencing of financing and aid coordination to the circumstances of the specific case.
Decades of conflict and violence coupled with drought and earthquakes have had devastating impacts not only the people of Afghanistan, but also on its natural environment, once pristine and rich in biological diversity, but now suffering from years of overexploitation of natural resources and habitat loss. It was clear from the outset that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as part of the overall response by the United Nations, would give its support to the people and authorities of Afghanistan by offering its expertise in post-conflict environmental assessment and analysis. This report presents facts on the state of the environment, specific findings concerning the urban environment and the natural resources of Afghanistan and recommendations on how to improve environmental conditions and policies.
UNEP was able to meet this challenging task thanks to the close cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and environment, and I extend my thanks to the Minister, Dr Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, for his collaboration and strong commitment, and for the hard work by his staff. Moreover, the activities were planned in close coordination with the Afghan Assistance Coordination Agency (AACA) and the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA).
This Executive Summary provides readers with a short overview of the key environmental issues, factors and drivers of environmental
change in Afghanistan, and highlights the latest achievements and prospects ahead. It is intended as an overview of the more multifaceted First State of Environment (SOE) Report for Afghanistan, which is being produced by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) in accordance with section 9(12) of the Environment Law, 2007, and will be published in mid-2008, with the assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme. It is designed for both a national audience (Government officials, community leaders, and natural resource policy-makers at a central and local level) and the broader international community: donors and international organizations, policy-makers in neighbouring countries, people and institutes interested in Afghanistan. It provides in a consolidated format the best available information and also identifies gaps in data on the state of the environment.
The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process in Afghanistan, widely acknowledged as flawed, has contributed to fragmentation and insecurity within Afghanistan. Based upon discussions with more than 500 DDR programme beneficiaries, the article describes the manner in which the reintegration process increased former combatants’ and commanders’ vulnerability to remobilisation in support of or in opposition to the Taliban-led insurgency by weakening cohesion between combatants and their former commanders and by fostering ineffective and culturally inappropriate livelihoods. The author argues that the DDR process and other international and Afghan government interventions have, furthermore, contributed to the fragmentation of the country and the straining of internal, regional tensions. The Taliban, as well as those fighting under its banner, has been the primary beneficiary of this fragmentation and has consolidated a highly diverse coalition of fighters. The opposing trends of a fragmented social, economic and political context, in relation to both individual former combatants and the country as a whole, and an increasingly cohesive insurgency will continue to contribute to greater insecurity and the potential for intra-state conflict.
The article analyses peacebuilding theories and methods, as applied to justice system reform in post-conflict scenarios. In this respect, the international authorities involved in the reconstruction process may traditionally choose between either a ‘dirigiste’ or a consent-based approach, representing the essential terms of reference of past interventions. However, features common to most reconstruction missions, and relatively poor results, confirm the need for a change in the overall strategy. This requires international donors to focus more on the demand for justice at local levels than on the traditional supply of financial and technical aid for reforms. The article stresses the need for effectively promoting the local ownership of the reform process, without this expression being merely used by international actors as a political umbrella under which to protect themselves from potential failures.
A well-trained, professional police force dedicated to upholding the rule of law and trusted by the population is essential to fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan and creating stability. However, the police programmes in Afghanistan have often been dominated by different national agendas and hampered by too few resources and lack of strategic guidance. These issues pose an enormous challenge for the Afghan government and the international community in rebuilding the police. This article argues that it is imperative that the international effort strike a balance between the short-term needs of fighting an insurgency and the long-term needs of establishing an effective sustainable policing capability when building up the police force; and that the process must not be subject merely to satisfying current security challenges or traditional state-building needs.
Over the past two decades, people have seen considerable progress made in international conflict management, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. The end of the Cold War has led to the obsolescence of war between major powers, and globalization has increased the interconnectedness and interdependence among people, societies, and countries. However, the longevity and large-scale nature of armed conflicts in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Chad, and Sudan with enormous humanitarian consequences are solemn reminders that international institutions and peacekeeping actions are still unable to meet global challenges with global responses. Here, Tanner addresses the perils of peace operations toward global peacekeeping system. He also cites the important progress that peacekeeping has made over the past twenty years and explores, in view of a continuous North-South divide and a resurging Westphalian bias, what such a global peacekeeping system could look like.
This book was commissioned by the Canadian military to help senior officers better understand the development dimension of peace and security missions in fragile post-conflict states. It also helps development practitioners better understand their military colleagues in these challenging missions. While it draws mainly from experience in Afghanistan, it has wider application: USAID project staff in Iraq say it is very helpful and “eerily accurate” in describing issues they encounter in their work.
Since the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan has become an experiment for the international community in installing democracy from outside. Externally led democratization against rushed timetables and based on formal institutions, however, was not rooted enough in the traditional institutions of Afghanistan and was conducted simultaneously with war fighting, while any benefits from reconstruction were not reaching the people. This article argues that, as a result of this lack of ‘buy-in’, the gap between democratic ideals and the lives of ordinary Afghans is widening, thereby undermining popular support, perhaps for a generation. Seeing Afghans primarily as recipients of, and not the driving force for, democracy, coupled with growing dissatisfaction with progress on economic development, may ultimately provoke popular resistance.
The implementation of liberal peace in the context of both transition economies and post-conflict situations often involves policy advice from international financial institutions for rapid opening of the economic and political systems. Experience, however, shows that the immediate outcome is increased poverty and inequality, leading to high social and human costs. Efficiency-based inquiries on externally supported state building and peacebuilding projects often use a problem solving approach which seeks ways to improve performance without questioning the validity of the liberal peace model. Inquiries based on critical theory, however, question the underlying assumptions and the legitimacy of the project itself. Using evidence from Central Asia and Afghanistan, the article argues that legitimacy depends on both how much, in the eyes of local populations, liberal peace actually improves everyday life, and how much it is valued as a goal and adheres to internal norms and values. The main proposition is that values determine how the liberal peace model is understood, while outcomes impact on how the project is accepted. High expectations of protection and welfare during crises also mean that the state can play a key role as legitimizer.
This paper examines the post-war reconstruction programme in Afghanistan, arguing that it contains the seeds of radical social change. The paper analyses the tensions of the present reconstruction project in light of the past experience of similar programmes launched by Afghan rulers and their foreign supporters. The central argument is that the conflation of post-war reconstruction with a broader agenda for development and modernisation has brought out a wide range of tensions associated with social change. Simultaneously the prominent foreign role in the undertaking has increasingly had negative effects. As a result, the entire project shows signs of severe contradictions that are adding to the problems caused by the growing insurgency.
Humanitarian aid operations save many lives, but they also fail to help many people and can have unintended political consequences. A major reason for the deficit is poor coordination among organizations. In contrast to “lessons learned” studies that dominate the literature on this topic, this article uses systemic network theory, drawn from business management literature. It presents the humanitarian aid community as a complex, open, adaptive system, in which interaction of structure and processes explain the quality of the response to environmental demands. Comparison of aid operations in Rwanda in 1994 and Afghanistan in 2001 probes the argument that the humanitarian system is becoming more effective by developing characteristics of a network through goal-directed behavior of participating organizations. The study finds development of network characteristics in the system when clusters of organizations learn to coordinate more closely, but the system is constrained by the workload of a crisis environment, lack of trust among organizations, and the political interests of donor governments.
Security sector reform has come to be viewed as the foundation for the state-building project in Afghanistan. Although the process has made important strides since its launch in the spring of 2002, the prevailing conditions in the country, notably high levels of insecurity and limited institutional and human capacity, have not been conducive to reform. Attempts to adjust the SSR agenda to reflect these conditions and meet immediate security challenges have deprived the process of its holistic vision. Its onus has shifted from ensuring democratic governance and accountability of the sector to maximizing security force effectiveness, a slide towards expediency that has threatened the underlying goals of the process.
Following the four-year Bonn Agreement implementation period, from December 2001 to December 2005, the London Conference on Afghanistan was convened, 31 January – 1 February, to reaffirm the commitment of world leaders to the next phase of statebuilding and reform in Afghanistan. The central document of this gathering, the Afghanistan Compact, sets forth a number of time-bound benchmarks for the next five years in the areas of security, governance and development. This article examines key aspects of the compact and what will be required for the government of Afghanistan to meet the various targets, along with the support of the international community. Policy recommendations are further advanced to facilitate reconstruction efforts and to sustain a sufficient level of international engagement to avert failure in Afghanistan.
In the aftermath of civil wars, international actors often worry about the incoherence, tribalism, and division of war-torn nation-states like Afghanistan. However, the problems encountered in the Afghanistan recovery and reconstruction effort illustrate that the divisions, rivalries and fragmentation of authority of the international community have constituted just as big an obstacle to what the UN now calls ‘peace building’. Sustainable stability and peace, to say nothing of democracy, require international actors to delegate some sovereign functions to a multilateral entity that can reinforce rather than undermine the institutions responsible for the reconstruction of the nation-state. The history and contemporary situation in Afghanistan makes clear that there is an important need for the peace-building mechanisms proposed by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel. This would involve a unified international decision-making body that would act as a counterpart to the recipient national government and potentially bring order to the anarchy that invariably flows from the multiple agendas, doctrines and aid budgets of the array of external actors involved in peace building in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
From a management perspective, this article presents a process model to analyze cooperation between military and civilian actors in peace support operations. By means of multiple case study research, the article applies the model to eight partnerships between the Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team and civilian actors (nongovernmental organizations, district governors, local constructors) in Baghlan, Afghanistan. These partnerships include explosives removal, power plant construction and police training courses. The article shows that civil-military cooperation processes follow six successive steps: decision to cooperate, partner selection, design, implementation, transfer of tasks and responsibilities, and evaluation. It is concluded that there is a lack of unambiguous and useful military guidelines regarding civil-military cooperation; the military are often unaware of other actors operating in the area and their programs, cooperation is frequently supplybased rather than demand-driven, and many military personnel involved in civil-military cooperation have little experience with and training in the subject.
Written from the dual perspective of scholar and practitioner Rich qualitative and quantitative data-set Innovative conceptual framework Democratic Peacebuilding examines the evolution of international peacebuilding since the cold war, identifying the factors that limit the progress of international actors to institutionalize democratic authority and the rule of law in war-shattered societies. It gives particular attention to Afghanistan’s Bonn Agreement process (2001-2005) and post-Bonn period (2006-2009), in which the country’s multiple, competing forms of authority (e.g., religious leaders, tribal elders, militia commanders, and technocrats) challenged efforts to create “modern” forms of political authority rooted in democratic norms and the rule of law. Despite the significant risks involved, this volume argues that the institutionalization of democratic legal authority can create the conditions and framework necessary to mediate competing domestic interests and to address the root causes of a conflict peacefully. At the same time, one overlooked problem of international peacebuilding stems from the divergent conceptions, between international officials and the local population, of authority and its sources of legitimacy. By helping a conflict-affected society reconcile the inherent tensions between competing forms of authority, international peacebuilders can contribute to improved conditions for governance and a reduction in intra-state political violence. Due to high expenditures in a period of global economic uncertainty and frustrations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, democratization as an approach to conflict management and resolution is in retreat in some influential policy circles. But it is only a deepening of democracy, rather than lowering the metrics for progress and conditions for exit, that will determine whether fragile states are placed on a viable course toward stability and greater self-sufficiency.
Previous analyses have provided extensive and in-depth insights into the external relations of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan, particularly the division of labour between them and the humanitarian assistance community. This article broadens and deepens this literature by focusing on the internal relations of PRTs, particularly the cooperation between military and civilian sections within them. It shows that the successes and failures of PRTs are not just on the part of individual advisers, officers or uncooperative partners, but can also be located in the organizational culture of a PRT as a whole. On the one hand, a PRT constitutes a forum in which diverging civilian expert, military and national interests may collide, producing a potential for a ‘clash of mindsets’. On the other, such a collision can lead to fruitful results and innovative policies in which different viewpoints complement each other.
This article examines the international community’s commitment, since the December 2001 Bonn Agreement, to build democratic institutions and practices at national and local levels in Afghanistan. The tensions between democracy promotion activities and the statebuilding exigencies of political stabilization are identified through an examination of the 2005 elections and creation of the National Assembly, Provincial Councils, and Community Development Councils. The analysis demonstrates the existence of multiple, competing agendas in Afghanistan, embodied in contradictory elements found in those institutions. Policy recommendations are advanced for forging a coherent statebuilding agenda that can garner the legitimacy needed to complete the important transition signalled by the Interim-Afghanistan National Development Strategy and the Afghanistan Compact, concluded in January 2006 in London.
Despite considerable effort and large sums of money spent over five years of police reform in Afghanistan, the investment has yet to yield significant results. Among the reasons outlined in this article are the failure to distinguish clearly between the different roles of the police and the military in contributing to security sector reform; a lack of strategic vision and effective planning; and a failure to capitalize on the insights, best practices and lessons learned from the last 30 years of police reform in the West. Finally, recommendations are made for remedying current problems and re-directing reform to achieve greater effectiveness.
This book provides a critical analysis of the changing discourse and practice of post-conflict security-promoting interventions since the Cold War, such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), and security-sector reform (SSR). Although the international aid and security sectors exhibit an expanding appetite for peace-support operations in the 21st Century, the effectiveness of such interventions are largely untested. This book aims to fill this evidentiary gap and issues a challenge to ‘conventional’ approaches to security promotion as currently conceived by military and peace-keeping forces, drawing on cutting-edge statistical and qualitative findings from war-torn areas including Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Sudan, Uganda, Colombia and Haiti. By focusing on specific cases where the United Nations and others have sought to contain the (presumed) sources of post-conflict violence and insecurity, it lays out a new research agenda for measuring success or failure.
This article draws out the contradictions in the liberal peace that have become apparent in post-Taliban state-building in Afghanistan. In particular, it focuses on how warlords have been incorporated into the government. The government has been unable to achieve a monopoly of violence and has relied on the support of some powerful militia commanders to secure itself. This raises a number of practical and ethical questions for the liberal peace. The focus of the article is on warlordism, rather than in providing detailed narrative accounts of particular warlords. The case illustrates the difficulty of extending the liberal peace in the context of an ongoing insurgency.
This paper looks at how a certain understanding of states is affecting the types of activities emphasised in state-building agendas. It proposes an approach to understanding states and their roles, drawing on ideas of institutions and their rules as a means of mediating power, and applies this to a discussion of two state-building initiatives at the subnational level in Afghanistan. It shows how resistance to attempts to impose bureaucratic rules, coupled with the international community’s failure to understand the role of states in mediating power, has contributed to the failure to date of interventions to reform local government. This has directly affected reconstruction and stability in Afghanistan.
This book critically examines the role of outreach within the application of international justice in post-conflict settings. The assumption that justice brings peace underpins much of the thinking, and indeed action, of international justice, yet little is known about whether this is actually the case. Significant questions surrounding the link between peace and justice remain: do trials deter would-be war criminals; is justice possible for the most heinous crimes; can international justice replace local justice? This book explores these questions in relation to recent developments in international justice that have both informed and shaped the creation of the hybrid tribunal in Sierra Leone. This was the first hybrid tribunal to be based in situ, equipped with a dedicated Outreach office. Outreach was seen as essential to ensuring that expectations were managed for what was ultimately a limited judicial mechanism. Yet, there is little evidence to support the claim that Outreach garnered wide-spread acceptance of the Special Court. This book explores the challenge and tensions in communicating the role of international justice in a post-conflict setting. The goals of international justice after conflict are clear: hold fair and transparent trials of alleged perpetrators under the strict adherence to international judicial procedures in order to establish accountability for the worst crimes against humanity. The assumption being that this will contribute to peace by firmly drawing a line under the past in order to move forward peacefully. This has been evident with the recent drive towards international judicial intervention after conflict in places such as the former Yugoslavia, Uganda and Afghanistan. But so far these assumptions remain largely untested. Few empirical studies examine how justice contributes to peace and within these instances, how the complexity of international justice mechanisms have been communicated to their respective audiences in order to foment wide-spread knowledge and understanding of the processes. This book addresses this deficit by testing these assumptions on the ground in a post-conflict setting in West Africa.
If the West loses in Afghanistan and its region, the most important reason will be that we are pursuing several different goals simultaneously, most of which are in contradiction to the others. Western governments need to choose between these goals, and co-ordinate a strategy in pursuit of the most desirable and achievable ones. The creation of a democratic Afghanistan needs to be recognised as a hopeless fantasy. Instead, the West should imitate the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and concentrate on creating an effective military force that can survive Western withdrawal and continue to fight the Taleban. In the meantime, something to be avoided at all costs is the further destabilisation of Pakistan, since Pakistan in the end constitutes a far greater potential threat to the region, the West and the world than does Afghanistan.
This essay concludes a study of how the international community has approached the security sector in six countries where there has been severe conflict leading to significant international engagement. Various factors are identified as being critical in shaping the outcome of (re)construction efforts, and they are evaluated from several perspectives. External actors have tended to take a limited and unbalanced approach to the security sector, focusing on building the efficiency of statutory security actors, and neglecting the development of managerial and governance capacity. While programmes tended to become more effective after the first major post-Cold War effort was undertaken in Haiti in 1994, the situation in Afghanistan may point to a reversal of this trend.
This essay explores the interdependence between statebuilding, narcotics and conflict through an analysis of interviews and a survey conducted, in the spring of 2005, in the Laghman and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan. Rural Afghanistan is characterized by weak conflict-processing mechanisms, combined with a high propensity towards the escalation of violence. State-sponsored institutions for conflict processing hardly exist, and donor attempts to prop up traditional institutions, such as the village shura, as a substitute for local government have failed to produce tangible results. Farmers widely acknowledge the benefits of opium as one of the few available cash crops. As a result, competition over scarce land and propensity for violence are affected indirectly by the drug economy. The study concludes with a criticism of current poppy eradication efforts. Under an informal eradication contract, provincial leaders are induced to comply with the request of the central government to reduce opium cultivation, in exchange for increased political autonomy and the promise of donor funds.
Politically, the Afghan central government is relatively stable, but it is perceived as weak and rife with corruption. The post-Taliban transition was completed with the convening of a parliament in December 2005 following September 2005 parliamentary elections. A new constitution was adopted in January 2004, and presidential elections were held on October 9, 2004. The parliament has become an arena for factions that have fought each other for nearly three decades to peacefully resolve differences, as well as a center of political pressure on President Hamid Karzai. Major regional strongmen have been marginalized. Afghan citizens are enjoying personal freedoms forbidden by the Taliban, and women are participating in economic and political life. Presidential elections are to be held in the fall of 2009, with parliamentary and provincial elections to follow one year later.
This paper argues that gender issues are becoming politicised in novel and counterproductive ways in contexts where armed interventions usher in new blueprints for governance and democratisation. Using illustrations from constitutional and electoral processes in Afghanistan and Iraq, it analyses how the nature of emerging political settlements in environments of high risk and insecurity may jeopardise stated international commitments to a women’s rights agenda. The disjuncture between stated aims and observed outcomes becomes particularly acute in contexts where security and the rule of law are severely compromised, where Islam becomes a stake in power struggles among contending factions and where ethnic/sectarian constituencies are locked in struggles of representation in defence of their collective rights.
In 2002 Afghanistan began to experience a violent insurgency as the Taliban and other groups conducted a sustained effort to overthrow the Afghan government. Why did an insurgency begin in Afghanistan? Answers to this question have important theoretical and policy implications. Conventional arguments, which focus on the role of grievance or greed, cannot explain the Afghan insurgency. Rather, a critical precondition was structural: the collapse of governance after the overthrow of the Taliban regime. The Afghan government was unable to provide basic services to the population; its security forces were too weak to establish law and order; and there were too few international forces to fill the gap. In addition, the primary motivation of insurgent leaders was ideological. Leaders of the Taliban, al-Qaida, and other insurgent groups wanted to overthrow the Afghan government and replace it with one grounded in an extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam.
This study contains the results of research on reconstructing internal security institutions during nation-building missions. It analyzes the activities of the United States and other countries in building viable police, internal security forces, and justice structures. This study examines in detail the reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, three of the most important instances in the post-Cold War era in which the United States and its allies have attempted to reconstruct security institutions. It then compares these cases with six others in the post-Cold War era: Panama, El Salvador, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and East Timor. Finally, the study draws conclusions from the case studies and analysis, and derives recommendations to help the United States and other international actors improve their performance in the delivery of post-conflict security. The results should be of interest to a broad audience of policymakers and academics concerned with the successes and shortcomings of past security efforts. Although the study is not intended to be a detailed analysis of U.S. or allied military doctrine regarding stability operations, we believe it provides a useful set of guidelines and recommendations for a wide range of military, civilian, and other practitioners.
We define nation-building as efforts carried out after major combat to underpin a transition to peace and democracy. Nationbuilding involves the deployment of military forces, as well as comprehensive efforts to rebuild the health, security, economic, political, and other sectors. The research we conducted focused on one aspect of nation-building-efforts to rebuild the public health and health care delivery systems after major combat. We looked at seven cases- Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. These are some of the most important cases since World War II in which international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and countries such as the United States have taken part in efforts to rebuild the health sector. These missions also have important health components. To date, a significant amount of academic and policy-relevant work has been devoted to efforts to rebuild such areas as police and military forces. Little comprehensive work has examined efforts to rebuild public health and health care delivery systems, however. The work that has been done on health tends to focus on immediate humanitarian and relief efforts rather than long-term health reconstruction. The goal of our research was to fill this void.
State failure is often seen as due to endogenous factors, rather than systemic ones; correspondingly, the idea that states can be built by supporting internal processes and institutions alone is prevalent in policy documents and in some of the literature on state-building. This paper calls both assumptions into question. I demonstrate that three factors were important external preconditions of historical state formation: (1) effective states and sustainable regional security, which is expressed on an inter-state as well as a sub-state level, requires a region-wide creation of effective structures of state; (2) effective states and effective inter-state security require well-functioning states systems; (3) effective states require regional acceptance of the process of state-building. Analysing three contemporary countries and regions, Somalia/the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan/Central Asia and Namibia/ south-western Africa, the article concludes that state-building is substantially facilitated where these three contextual factors are in place. The absence of these external factors in the regions where Afghanistan and Somalia are located illuminate the depth of the problems facing these countries. In these cases regional structures are preconditions of state-building.
This article examines the military aspects of international state-building efforts in Afghanistan through the lens of critical theory. It outlines the conventional approach to state-building, as it has evolved in recent decades, and briefly describes the emerging reflexive critique of that approach developed by state-building scholars grounded in critical theory. It then applies the reflexive critique to the Afghan state-building project, an exercise that substantiates key aspects of the critique but also reveals a divergence between the broadly conventional approach taken in Kabul and the more adaptive approaches of many practitioners at the province and district levels. It concludes with a discussion of the potential implications of this convergence for theory and practice of state-building in Afghanistan and beyond.
This article focuses on the role of international aid donors in Afghanistan since the signing of the Bonn Agreement in 2001. Specifically, it explores the scope and utility of peace conditionalities as an instrument for peace consolidation in the context of a fragile war-to-peace transition. Geo-strategic and institutional concerns have generally led to an unconditional approach to assistance by international actors. It is argued that large inflows of unconditional aid risk re-creating the structural conditions that led to the outbreak of conflict. Aid conditionalities need to be re-conceptualized as aid-for-peace bargains rather than as bribes for security. Some forms of conditionality are necessary in order to rebuild the social contract in Afghanistan. This finding has wider relevance for aid donors and they should reconsider orthodox development models in â€˜fragile stateâ€™ settings. Rather than seeing conditionalities and ownership as two ends of a policy spectrum, the former may be a necessary instrument for achieving the latter.
This article examines how the drugs economy emerged, evolved and adapted to transformations in Afghanistan’s political economy. With a primary focus on the conflictual war to peace transition following the signing of the Bonn Agreement, the relationship between drugs and political (dis)order is explored. Central to the analysis is an examination of the power relationships and institutions of extraction that developed around the drug economy. Expanding upon a model developed by Snyder (2004), it is argued that joint extraction regimes involving rulers and private actors have tended to bring political order whereas private extraction regimes have led to decentralized violence and political breakdown. This model helps explain why in some parts of Afghanistan drugs and corruption have contributed to a level of political order, whereas in other areas they have fuelled disorder. Thus, there is no universal, one-directional relationship between drugs, corruption and conflict. Peacebuilding involves complex bargaining processes between rulers and peripheral elites over power and resources and when successful leads to stable interdependencies. Counter-narcotics policies have the opposite effect and are thus fuelling conflict.
As non-governmental organizations play a growing role in the international response to armed conflict – tasked with mitigating the effects of war and helping to end the violence – there is an acute need for information on the impact they are actually having. Addressing this need, Aiding Peace? explores just how NGOs interact with conflict and peace dynamics, and with what results.
The international community has struggled without much success to remedy the problem of failed states. Meanwhile, 40 or 50 countries around the world — from Sudan and Somalia to Kosovo and East Timor — remain in a crisis of governance. In this impressive book, Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister, and Lockhart, who has worked at the World Bank and the United Nations, assess the missteps and offer a new framework for coordinated action. They argue that international responses have failed because they have been piecemeal and have proceeded with little understanding of what states need to do in the modern world system to connect citizens to global flows. They advocate a “citizen-based approach.” State-building strategies would be organized around a “double compact”: between country leaders and the international community, on the one hand, and country leaders and citizens, on the other. The book also proposes methods for the generation of comparative data on state capacity — a “sovereignty index” — to be annually reported to the UN and the World Bank. Ultimately, this study offers a surprisingly optimistic vision. The fact that so many disadvantaged countries have made dramatic economic and political transitions over the last decade suggests that developmental pathways do exist — if only the lessons and practical knowledge of local circumstances can be matched to coordinated and sustained international efforts. The authors provide a practical framework for achieving these ends, supporting their case with first-hand examples of struggling territories such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo and Nepal as well as the world’s success stories–Singapore, Ireland, and even the American South.
Fukuyama brings together esteemed academics, political analysts, and practitioners to reflect on the U.S. experience with nation-building, from its historical underpinnings to its modern-day consequences. The United States has sought on repeated occasions to reconstruct states damaged by conflict, from Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War to Japan and Germany after World War II, to the ongoing rebuilding of Iraq. Despite this rich experience, there has been remarkably little systematic effort to learn lessons on how outside powers can assist in the building of strong and self-sufficient states in post-conflict situations. The contributors dissect mistakes, false starts, and lessons learned from the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq within the broader context of reconstruction efforts in other parts of the world, including Latin America, Japan, and the Balkans. Examining the contrasting models in Afghanistan and Iraq, they highlight the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq as a cautionary example of inadequate planning.
This article analyses the role that the illicit narcotics economy has played in violent conflict in Afghanistan since the 1990s and the relationship between counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency policy in the country today. It details the evolution of the peacekeeping mission vis-a?-vis the narcotics economy, and the effects to date of the counter-narcotics policies that have been adopted since 2001. It argues that aggressive opium poppy eradication in Afghanistan today is premature and counterproductive with respect to counter-insurgency and stability objectives, as well as with respect to long-term economic development goals. The article concludes by providing policy recommendations on the role of peacekeeping forces with respect to illicit economies, arguing that the most important role peacekeeping forces have in tackling crime and reducing illicit economies is to provide security.
Using Afghanistan as a pivot, this book illustrates how emerging international “ordering” practices affect the role and policy of international actors such as United Nations agencies and international NGOs, their interaction with national authorities and local communities, and their ability to generate just and social outcomes.
Local perceptions of aid in crisis contexts is an under-researched area. This article, which is based on extensive interviewing of affected individuals and communities in Afghanistan, sets out key issues affecting the provision of international assistance and in particular analyses the ‘perceptions gap’ between outsiders and local communities and its implications for the aid community. Humanitarian action is seen by local people as part of a ‘northern enterprise.’ Even if the universalist values of the enterprise do not clash with local views of the world, the baggage, modus operandi, technique and personal behaviour of aid workers often do. Suggestions on how this gap could be addressed are also put forward.
The post-World War II occupations of Germany and Japan set standards for postconflict nation-building that have not since been matched. Only in recent years has the United States has felt the need to participate in similar transformations, but it is now facing one of the most challenging prospects since the 1940s: Iraq. The authors review seven case studies – Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan – and seek lessons about what worked well and what did not. Then, they examine the Iraq situation in light of these lessons. Success in Iraq will require an extensive commitment of financial, military, and political resources for a long time. The United States cannot afford to contemplate early exit strategies and cannot afford to leave the job half completed.
This report is an effort to help international actors better understand and increase their effectiveness in Afghanistan and other post-conflict cases. The report maps data collected from public information, media reporting, polling, and on-the-ground interviews to measure reconstruction in terms of the effects international efforts have had on people’s everyday lives. This innovative approach to data collection is designed to establish a baseline and promote realistic goals; work in situations where data are unreliable and anecdotes are rumor filled; and measure actual benefits, as opposed to simply money spent, projects completed, and other familiar tests. The report concludes that despite significant advancements since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has not yet reached the “Viable Zone”–where people’s immediate needs have been met and a foundation for building long-term government and human capacity has been established. It makes actionable recommendations for ways to improve the reconstruction effort in the areas of security, governance, justice, economic opportunity, and social well-being.
There is increasing consensus among scholars and policy analysts that successful peacebuilding can occur only in the context of capable state institutions. But how can legitimate and sustainable states best be established in the aftermath of civil wars? And what role should international actors play in supporting the vital process? Addressing these questions, this state-of-the-art volume explores the core challenges involved in institutionalizing postconflict states. The combination of thematic chapters and in-depth case studies covers the full range of the most vexing and diverse problems confronting domestic and international actors seeking to build states while building peace. Case studies include: Somalia, Palestine, Bosnia, East Timor / Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Liberia
International law can create great expectations in those seeking to rebuild societies that have been torn apart by conflict. For outsiders, international law can mandate or militate against intervention, bolstering or undermining the legitimacy of intervention. International legal principles promise equality, justice and human rights. Yet international law’s promises are difficult to fulfil. This volume of essays investigates the phenomenon of post-conflict state-building and the engagement of international law in this enterprise. It draws together original essays by scholars and practitioners who consider the many roles international law can play in rehabilitating societies after conflict. The essays explore troubled zones across the world, from Afghanistan to Africa’s Great Lakes region, and from Timor-Leste to the Balkans. They identify a range of possibilities for international law in tempering, regulating, legitimating or undermining efforts to rebuild post-conflict societies.
Contemporary Afghan politics is marked by a debate over the “mujahideen.” This contest involves the mythologizing, demythologizing and appropriation of the term by a wide variety of actors, from warlords, tribal combatants, the Taliban and Anti-Coalition Forces to rights activists and journalists. This struggle is a competition for legitimacy over the “right to rule” and the “right to conduct violence”; and it is critical to understanding the dilemmas of statebuilding in Afghanistan. Through such an examination, policy lessons are acquired concerning the role of the Afghan government and members of the international community in confronting armed groups.
Since the end of the Taliban regime the question has arisen how Afghan women, after years of exclusion from political life, can be helped to get involved in the democratic reconstruction of their country.This report attempts to make suggestions and to point out obstacles to this by dealing with various areas of social life in Afghanistan relevant to women. It is based on a field trip to Afghanistan and the Pakistani border town of Peshawar in February and March 2002 as well as numerous conversations with exiled Afghan women, mainly in Germany. Around 80 Afghan women were interviewed in all.
Although peacebuilders do not operate from a common template, liberal values so define their activities that their efforts can be called “liberal peacebuilding.” Many postconflict operations aspire to create a state that contains the rule of law, markets, and democracy. Growing evidence suggests, however, that liberal peacebuilding is re-creating the conditions of conflict; states emerging from war do not have the necessary institutions or civic culture to absorb the pressures associated with political and market competition. In recognition of these problems and dangers, there is an emerging call for greater attention to the state and institutionalization before liberalization. These critiques, and lessons learned from recent operations, point to an alternative-republican peacebuilding. Drawing from republican political theory, this article argues that the republican principles of deliberation, constitutionalism, and representation can help states after war address the threats to stability that derive from arbitrary power and factional conflict and, in the process, develop some legitimacy. Republican peacebuilding is not only good for postconflict states; it also is appropriate for international peacebuilders, who also can exercise arbitrary power.
Afghanistan’s restoration of the rule of law has set in motion a renewed debate about fundamental legal principles that has not been seen in the West since the time of the Enlightenment: Who is justice for? Who has the right to seek compensation or justice? Does the state or the individual have priority in seeking justice and delivering punishment? Is law a human creation or is it rooted in divine authority? But it is a debate without an audience in the international community that is assisting the Afghan government in restoring its judicial system because the answer appears so self-evident. Those from societies with long established systems of formal justice automatically assume that it is an ultimate good, that surely everybody wants justice applied by the state. The Afghans who run the formal system assert the same. But they have not won over the population by any means since people, particularly in rural areas, are still fighting out this issue politically and culturally: Is state authority a good idea? Who should set the terms of agreement? Who should determine the rights and the wrongs? This is because so many areas of Afghanistan have operated without (or outside of) formal government institutions for a very long time; not just because of war, but because that is the way things have always been. For example, the assumption that the state has exclusive sovereignty over criminal matters is not fully accepted by most of the Afghan population. Here the family still takes precedence, reserving the right to take revenge or demand compensation when one of its members has suffered an injury. Such injuries extend beyond physical damages to property or person and include damages to a group’s honor that demand retaliation. While Afghan governments formally reject such claims of personal justice, they have never been able to extend the formal system to most of rural Afghanistan; the people there never relied on state institutions and often took offense when the state interfered in what they viewed to be personal matters.
This article examines the double standards associated with a precarious international peacebuilding strategy in Afghanistan based on impunity and half-truths rather than accountability and transitional justice. Many international organizations have turned a blind eye to past and current human rights atrocities through forms of rationalization based on an empowerment of cultural differences, relativization of progress and “policy reductionism.” Consequently, and in the absence of consistently applied rights instruments, societal divisions along gender, ethnic and other lines have intensified Afghanistan’s culture of intolerance to human rights, thereby violating the very principles the international community purports to uphold. Drawing on first-hand experiences, personal interviews and a sober analysis of trends, this article challenges some of the conventional assumptions held about the perception and knowledge of human rights among Afghans. It concludes by identifying possible areas of future study to better understand both the prospects for transitional justice and how ordinary Afghans continue to cope with widespread injustice and inequality.
Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) is the relationship between militaries and humanitarians. Largely conducted in post-conflict environments, CIMIC has become a key characteristic of military operations in the twenty-first century. However, the field is mostly understood through stereotype rather than clear, comprehensive analysis. The range and scope of activities which fall under the wider rubric of CIMIC is huge, as are the number of differing approaches, across situations and national armed forces. This book demonstrates the wide variety of national approaches to CIMIC activities, introducing some theoretical and ethical considerations into a field that has largely been bereft of this type of debate. Containing several case studies of recent CIMIC (in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq) along with theoretical analyses, it will assist scholars, practitioners, and decision-makers become more aware of the ‘state of the art’ in this field.