Robert Komer famously analyzed the mess U.S. foreign policymakers made in Vietnam in his study, “Bureaucracy Does Its Thing.” He would not be terribly surprised, were he still with us, to learn that in Afghanistan bureaucracy has done its thing yet again. Actually, given the proliferation of bureaucratic organizational chart boxes over the past forty years, this Afghan thing is worse than the Vietnam thing. And unfortunately all the brilliant new counterinsurgency manuals in the world can’t fix problems that stem from using the same old rickety government operating system. Hence America’s ambitious Afghanistan “surge” has undermined its own strategic objectives.
On March 27, 2009, intending to address years of under-resourcing, President Obama announced his young Administration’s new Afghanistan strategy. In addition to boosting American troop strength to reverse the Taliban insurgency’s momentum and train Afghan forces, the surge aimed to bolster governance and development assistance to stabilize the country “not just in Kabul, but from the bottom up.” The approach emphasized Afghanistan’s fundamentally decentralized politics and insurgency: U.S. personnel would focus on local Afghan officials in order to “incentivize improved performance, accountability, and transparency.”1 Three years later, as the American drawdown begins, the Afghan National Security Forces face significant (and well-documented) challenges to hold rural Afghanistan. But if counterinsurgency is a localized “contest for governance” as much as a military struggle, how ready is the Afghan government to provide and sustain an alternative to the insurgency?
The good news is that, in its endorsement of “bottom up” approaches to Afghan governance and development, the United States embraced a key understanding that all Afghan politics truly is local. The bad news is that it’s easier to embrace this dynamic in theory than it is to affect it in practice. And in practice, the bureaucratic mechanics of the U.S. surge’s local governance programs have actually undermined the broader U.S. mission in Afghanistan: to cultivate basic, resilient governance that will endure, despite a persistent insurgency, when the U.S. presence draws down.
In practice, the surge inadvertently fostered a collection of unsustainable rentier mini-states within its districts of focus in southern and eastern Afghanistan. Inundated with U.S. resources and personnel, the governors of these districts will maintain power as long as foreign inputs flow. But this is not the progress in building the broader, legitimate institutions or sustainable service delivery that President Obama’s policy aspired to foster. From the “bottom up”, the Afghan government’s ability to keep local support is more likely to erode and, with it, Afghanistan’s ability to maintain President Obama’s minimal goal: a sustainable, durable Afghan government that can withstand a U.S. drawdown without a return to full-scale civil war.
Looking ahead to 2014, America’s Afghanistan challenge has thus been upended. During the surge, U.S. policymakers struggled to mitigate the adverse effects of almost limitless resources often poorly spent. Moving forward, they must do more with less. If the U.S. government deploys a more strategic, disciplined use of its available governance tools, it can still salvage a truly responsible transition in Afghanistan. We at least have to try.
Afghan History Meets U.S. Bureaucracy
ow did a U.S. counterinsurgency effort that was intended to foster the Afghan government’s local legitimacy end up undermining it? The answer requires us to quickly dip our toes into the murky waters of Afghanistan’s subnational structures.
Provincial governors, all appointed by Kabul, head each of the country’s 34 provinces. One level down, district governors, also appointed by Kabul, serve as the executives of Afghanistan’s 399 districts. (The number of districts in Afghanistan is the subject of confusion, as President Karzai has decreed additional “temporary districts.”) Neither provincial nor district administrations have independent budgetary authority. Despite some internally contradictory ambitions mentioned in Afghanistan’s 415-page Subnational Governance Policy manual, they also lack formal authority over the delivery of services, which are theoretically provided by Afghanistan’s vertical line ministries, but are often covered by a variety of informal community mechanisms.
Because district and provincial governors have always been appointed rather than elected, they have long been incentivized to serve Kabul’s interests over those of their local constituents. Today, Kabul’s appointments are those of the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG), judged by most analysts to be uncannily close to the interests of President Hamid Karzai. Historically, this Kabul-based arrangement worked well enough, in part because district governors’ formal roles were fairly limited: They served as local conflict mediators, walking Rolodexes and “gatekeepers” of locals’ interactions with the provincial capitals and Kabul. If a district governor achieved great weight within his community, or if he exerted power over line ministry representatives, then it was because of his own personal gravitas more than the formal authorities of his position.
What happened to this rural governance picture? First, nearly thirty years of conflict disrupted the equilibrium of the Afghan social fabric. Next, a few years after the 2001 Bonn agreement, anti-government mobilization gained traction. Then, beginning in 2009, a massive injection of U.S. military personnel and civilians deployed to the local level (rather than to Kabul) with governance and development money to spend. It was here that the surge’s bureaucratic mechanics began to undermine the broader American mission.
A Few Good-Enough Men
nce deployed to selected “surge districts” in southern and eastern Afghanistan, these new locally deployed U.S. personnel worked diligently to fulfill their mission of building “transparent, capable, and visible governance.” However, their organizational protocols contrasted sharply with the historic Afghan governance structure. The first priority of many district-based U.S. personnel was to quickly implement projects that would deliver essential services and help the local government win the population’s trust. It was an important task, consistent with the wildly popular counterinsurgency field manual. But in practice, Americans pursued this duty in a way that undermined the overall mission of building a functional Afghan system. For the sake of simplicity (it was, after all, hard to determine the Byzantine workings of Afghanistan’s vertical line ministries), and for expediency (it was even harder to quickly energize these ministries from the “bottom up”), U.S. assistance inevitably fell into the hands of the district governor. Rather than apportioning services among line ministry representatives, who were usually not in evidence anyway, the district governor became the de facto “decider” for which projects were best, where they should be built, and who should build them. The role of the district governor thus became dramatically inflated.
As district governors became supersized, so too did local expectations of what they should or could provide. Suddenly, with the injection of U.S. money, district governors found themselves providing services that line ministries historically had provided (albeit feebly), from school repair to seed distribution to clinic openings. District governors in “surge” regions became the “Afghan face” for projects that communities had traditionally managed themselves (such as cleaning irrigation canals) and often distributed American-provided “cash for work” related to projects that locals had typically done for free. Benefitting from U.S. protection and transport, they traveled widely throughout their districts, visiting remote areas usually untouched by the government presence in Kabul. This, too, helped boost their power.
In the short run, this American strategy often succeeded in its objective: It enabled district governors rather than insurgents to be the men the population viewed as their problem-solvers. It encouraged communities to mobilize demands for service delivery—in this case directly to their district governors. Surge districts reported increased traffic to the district center and improved opinions of the district governor. The scale of U.S. aid was large: In the district of Nawa, Helmand, for example, assistance amounted to more than $300 per resident annually (compared with Afghanistan’s average GDP of $1,000) and employed over half of working-age males.2 With a seemingly endless abundance of American inputs, district governors became the primary distributors, and thus, the primary political beneficiaries, of an enormously effective new patronage system.
So what’s the problem? The problem is that as Afghanistan heads toward 2014, the U.S. bureaucracy’s pursuit of speedy service provision undermined the overall mission of building a functional, resilient Afghan system. Citizens’ expectations of local services and the money to fund them have metastasized well beyond any Afghan precedent. As U.S. money contracts, the governors will no longer be able to afford their largesse. Meanwhile, in the interest of expediency, the surge’s programs largely bypassed, rather than bolstered, the vertical line ministries’ creaky systems to deliver services. As “bottom up” demand for services dramatically increased, “top down” structures to sustainably provide these services have not measurably improved and in some respects have atrophied as the action moved away from them.
What will become of these inflated district governors as American money dries up? It likely depends on their position before the surge. Those who came from insignificance, to insignificance they shall return. One U.S. observer described his counterpart district governor as “a third tier politician who had no other prospects to become relevant—and he won the lottery” by becoming district governor when no one else wanted the job. “Once the United States entered, he became a player. No one wanted to deal with him before, but suddenly he became the guy who could bring the Americans to the table.”3 With U.S. inputs contracting, this governor harbors little hope of sustaining his relevance.
Meanwhile, many traditional, tribally well-connected power brokers stand ready to reclaim their long-standing positions. U.S. policy often explicitly aimed to sideline traditional local leaders who were viewed as “malign” by building up formal government officials.4 Some will understandably harbor grievances because of their exclusion over the past three years and will be increasingly motivated to play a spoiler role once the official U.S. presence departs. Of course, not all traditional strongmen were necessarily “bad actors”; most resided in some shade of gray. Regardless, these informal actors stand ready, by virtue of personal wealth and connections, to underwrite projects and provide emergency services once the United States departs. In many of the surge’s target areas, the formal government is not prepared.
And after the U.S. drawdown, who would want to be part of the formal government anyway? Like any rational actor, Afghan local officials’ priorities necessarily are, first, physical survival and, second, political survival, if the position is worth having. As American troops withdraw, the always risky job of district governor will become even more so. With salaries abominably low, the office of district governor is not a financially appealing one, except for the graft opportunities it often enables. While some individuals may harbor selfless and fearless desires for “public service”, it would be unrealistic to expect the majority of potential officials to overlook these stark truths.
Of course, some district governors have showed deep motivation to work for their communities and have used American aid to make great progress in improving services to their constituents. But Kabul’s frequent reshuffling of officials and, unfortunately, the Taliban’s pervasive assassination campaign against them mean that putting all of America’s eggs in the baskets of these select individuals has not necessarily fostered durable success. President Obama’s vision had been clear. In his December 2009 speech at West Point, he pledged that the U.S. mission was to “strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s government so that they [sic] can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s future.” But in implementation, the surge’s bureaucratic focus on district governors as individuals did little to advance district governance as an institution.
The Rise of the Rentier Mini-State
he U.S. surge’s mechanics in practice undermined yet another aspect of the U.S. mission in theory: It diluted the already weak accountability link between local officials and their populations. As noted above, district governors are selected not by district residents but appointed by the IDLG, which many observers view as an instrument for President Karzai’s consolidation of central power. As myriad U.S. actors flooded into the district level, they monopolized these district governors’ schedules, crowding out time for them to hear constituent concerns. In addition, because these new, inflated budgets came directly from Uncle Sam, the district governors had every incentive to prioritize American requests and metrics of achievement, and to deprioritize the process of engaging with line ministries to develop stable and effective longer-term systems. The district administration then came to take on all the trappings of a classic rentier mini-state.
Improving local government accountability was a key, albeit somewhat paradoxical U.S. goal in Afghanistan. It was paradoxical in two ways: First, because American presence at the district level encouraged accountability to Americans, not locals; and second, because at base local governance in Afghanistan is not democratic. Local citizens do not elect their leaders; they are sent from Kabul. Of course, good government and democratic government are not the same, and in places like Afghanistan the former is usually more important than the latter. But in this case local democracy could have been consistent with fostering stable long-term governance, yet changing the Constitution to allow it—much less pulling off the elections—was not a practical option. Nonetheless, in support of that accountability goal, U.S. personnel undertook a huge mentoring effort. Mindful of President Obama’s exhortation to “use our aid as an incentive” to improve the performance of local officials, U.S. military and civilian representatives shared countless cups of tea with their counterpart district governors to encourage them to communicate with constituents, fairly distribute projects and respond to requests of marginalized groups.
But two problems emerged in this mentoring effort. First, district governors had immutable interests here also: physical survival first, political survival a close second. Daily American cajoling could of course create enough of an incentive in the short run to prompt a shift in a district governor’s behavior to reach out to excluded tribes and listen to a host of new concerns. But in the long run, one American cajoler was always soon replaced by another, and as we approach 2014 Americans will be departing en masse. The interests of district governors will stay right where they are, however. They must navigate the complex web surrounding the IDLG, the Presidential Palace and, in some cases, their provincial governor, regardless of their constituents. And despite President Karzai’s much touted announcements of “merit-based” subnational appointments, no truly objective assessments of district governors’ job performance exist. So they will remain determined to cut whatever deals they need to stay alive and in their jobs.
The second problem with U.S. efforts to mentor local Afghan officials is that effective U.S. leverage requires consistent U.S. messaging. The surge, of course, entered Afghanistan’s most volatile areas. The average Afghan district governor in these areas had a couple of staff, if he was lucky. The average U.S. cohort in these areas consisted of a civil-military security, governance and development team on steroids. One district-based civilian recounted that his counterpart district governor regularly met with the battalion commander assigned to his district, the battalion’s intelligence officer, a security force assistance team lead, a civil affairs team lead (who was not part of the battlespace owner’s battalion), a State Department officer, two USAID representatives, an Agriculture Development Team lead, sundry Special Operations Forces, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture representative. That tally doesn’t include the regular fly-by visits from Washington and Kabul VIPs.
Of course, these myriad U.S. personnel labored to “sync up” communication. These efforts varied in approach and success, but interagency coordination in a fog of war usually proves elusive, as it mostly did here. The sheer number of personnel seeking a personal audience with the district governor yielded confusing communication at best and at at worst generated contradictory messages prone to exploitation.
The confused American messaging reflected an even deeper problem: confused American priorities. Though each locally deployed U.S. staffer was broadly committed to America’s nationwide civil-military stabilization objectives, each had his own chain of command (or several chains of command) with its own distinct emphasis. On the civilian side of the equation, the introduction of the “senior civilian representative” into each regional command was intended to provide coherence to its efforts. In practice, it simply added an additional chain of command to civilians’ other reporting chains within their parent agencies. Many staffers also had access to a discrete funding stream to support their organization’s priorities. In a high-profile environment where U.S. personnel had to “demonstrate results” quickly, spending money—in other words, “doing stuff”—was the way to assert bureaucratic relevance in a super-saturated interagency mosh pit.
But if rational bureaucratic behavior encouraged high “burn rates” while agencies jockeyed for primacy, rational programmatic outcomes lost out.5 Rather than collectively pressuring local Afghan officials to improve performance, an Afghan official could always find an American ear for complaints about another U.S. agency’s unhelpful attitude and thereby secure money for his own (or a cousin’s) pet project. In the most extreme cases, as one civilian recalled, an Afghan official essentially received free rein to go shopping among poorly coordinated U.S. actors: “All of us were falling all over ourselves to win the district governor’s favor . . . like trying to win over a kid’s favor by giving him the most toys at Christmas.”
Again, President Obama’s vision had been clear: “The days of the blank check are over. We expect those [Afghan local officials] who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable.” Some district-based civilian-military teams did successfully discipline and coordinate their efforts, but in practice, perverse bureaucratic dynamics meant that all too often the aid carrot backfired. Afghan officials were leveraging American behavior, not the other way around. The results were disappointing, recalled one civilian: “For all of our strategies, this is what it amounts to: essentially stabbing ourselves in the foot, each of us bent on carrying out our mission, each of which made sense individually.”6
Power to the People?
f Afghan district governors were not technically answerable to their own populations in the short run, what was supposed to make them accountable in the long run? In theory, district councils would manage that responsibility. Mandated by Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution, these directly elected bodies would represent a district’s entire population; according to Afghanistan’s 2010 Subnational Governance Policy, they would also provide a check on the district governor’s decisions. Yet year after year, a host of logistical and political hurdles, mostly emanating from the vicinity of the Presidential Palace, postponed the election of these councils.
As a stopgap measure, the ISAF community created or empowered a variety of interim councils. But here again, in practice the surge’s bureaucratic workings undermined the overall U.S. mission, and the multitude of artificial local councils failed to achieve their stated goal of eliciting more accountable local governance. Two prominent collections of councils—one fielded by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the other by the IDLG—each boasted generous donor backing and, often, overlapping geographic and functional mandates. According to Kabul-based officials, the MRRD-backed councils were to focus on “development” issues, and the IDLG-backed councils on “governance” issues”, but this distinction was meaningless to the average Afghan villager. On top of these nationwide efforts, U.S. surge personnel generated a variety of other councils or shuras: education shuras, peace shuras, security shuras and agriculture shuras, to name a few.
The sheer number of these shuras, which were theoretically meant to check a district governor’s power, caused confusion and did little to increase local influence over the district governor. Some Afghans complained that the proliferation of shuras just meant more groups whose signatures they had to co-opt before getting any requests heard. They also provided local malign actors an opportunity to “shop around” for a sympathetic body. Meanwhile, the abundance of shuras at the local level diluted the U.S. focus on a long-term path to create accountable governance: pressuring the Karzai government to finalize district boundaries, hold district council elections and formalize their authorities.
The Dark Underbelly of “Bottom-Up”
f the surge’s bureaucratic mechanics undermined the overall U.S. mission to establish a durable-enough system that would enable a safe U.S. drawdown, would a different approach have worked any better? With the valuable benefit of hindsight, we can see that many of the contradictions described above were the inevitable result of the surge’s Original Sin: It designed a localized approach in a country where constitutionally mandated processes and structures were radically centralized and expected that approach to yield transformational results.
This initial strategic miscalculation led to another weakness: the surge’s focus on district-level reform raised serious questions of feasibility in scale. Afghanistan comprises 399 districts. To be sure, the U.S. effort never attempted to develop “bottom-up” governance in each but instead focused on those that ISAF deemed “key terrain” or “areas of interest” to the counterinsurgency fight. But even with those reductions, that still amounts to 138 districts. As the example of the District Delivery Program (DDP) showed, transforming “only” 138 districts is slow-going on a stabilization timeframe. The IDLG-led DDP sought to ensure a basic government presence in key districts by supporting operational and maintenance funds and hazard pay for district governors and ministry officials. The IDLG aspired to reach eighty districts during its first year with the DDP.7 Yet after its launch in the spring of 2010, the DDP encountered various operational obstacles and a suspension. At the time of this writing, two years later, the DDP has fully reached only about 13 districts.
Focusing on selected “key terrain” districts also triggered an inherent contradiction between the surge’s ends and means. Since U.S. officials couldn’t tackle every district at once, they emphasized the most contested ones. Although addressing the most violent areas first was consistent with textbook counterinsurgency’s clear/hold/build model, these areas offered the least absorptive capacity for the surge’s ambitious district-level development and governance objectives and the least chance for success. Not surprisingly, the most prominent success story of recent Afghan interventions, the much-celebrated National Solidarity Program, demonstrated positive effects on governance in permissive or peripheral areas but yielded negligible effects in openly contested areas.8 Funneling aid disproportionately into Afghanistan’s most violent areas also sparked resentment among more peaceful regions and talk of a “war dividend.”9 Meanwhile, civilians serving on the ground echoed the thought that choosing districts based on military priorities rather than an overall governance strategy rewarded the “worst performers” with more money: “It’s like the opposite of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.”10
Though the dilemma of whether to give more weight to permissive or volatile areas when distributing aid in wartime is a legitimate one, on a practical level there were inevitable kinks in the surge processes that aspired to reform districts. It would have been productive to at least rehearse these reform efforts in relatively more permissive areas. Honing these systems without the backdrop of active hostilities might have allowed the more challenging districts a greater chance of success.
But no matter where the surge’s architects had chosen to engage, the mechanics of focusing on district-level reform inevitably undermined the bigger picture. It monopolized limited American bandwidth, leaving less room for the enormous task of improving the chronically poor budget execution of vertical line ministries, as well as resolving structural issues such as the above-mentioned district council conundrum. The impact was cyclical: Once deployed to a local level, district-based U.S. personnel understandably advocated for an even more immediate injection of resources, crowding out finite American (and Afghan) attention from cultivating larger governance systems that could endure after 2014.
2014 and Beyond
he U.S. surge of 2009–12 demonstrates that pumping more money, bodies and organizational structures into Afghanistan did not ensure victory in the counterinsurgency governance contest, and that the bureaucratic realities of how these nearly unlimited resources fit together undermined the U.S. mission. Looking ahead to the transition in 2014, the key challenge facing U.S. policymakers has been inverted: We must shift from managing the unintended adverse effects of unconstrained but largely incoherently spent resources to maximizing utility from much more limited assets.
If U.S. policymakers deploy a more strategic and disciplined use of available tools, they could still rise to the new challenge. To salvage a truly “responsible transition” to an adequately stable Afghan government, the United States must, at last, truly cultivate durable Afghan government systems rather than a series of tactical-level workarounds. Our commitment should be long-term but limited in scale: America’s governance leverage should focus exclusively on meaningful issues that it can hope to affect, and America’s waning aid should emphasize challenges that are feasible in scale.
First, as an overall principle, the U.S. government should solely pursue strategic rather than romantic capacity-building projects. It should attempt the training of Afghan counterparts only when the training offered is relevant to those Afghans’ existing authorities and incentives, and thus likely to yield the impact desired by the United States. Any coaching of representative bodies should focus on the actual, not aspirational, powers of those councils. Any mentoring of governors should reflect the realistic, not idealistic, motivations of those individuals. Where American hopes for governance authorities and incentives do not match the facts on the ground, U.S. officials should direct their energies toward influencing Kabul to enact legislative and administrative changes. And where reform is not a realistic expectation, we should accept the marginal impact that capacity building is likely to have and, by extension, recognize the limits of our power to change Afghan realities.
Second, the United States must shift focus away from hyper-empowering individuals (a small selection of Afghanistan’s approximately 400 district governors) and instead cultivate more accountable, more durable vertical and provincial institutions. This shift is already somewhat underway, inadvertently, as America’s district-level personnel and resources wane, but that’s not the right way to go. Instead, we must deliberately shift to the more scalable task of strengthening Afghanistan’s 34 provincial-level administrations and line ministry delegations. Rather than improvising ad hoc solutions for service delivery at the district level, U.S. officials must focus on improving the ability of line ministries to transfer funds and services downward.
A promising provincial budget pilot is underway with U.S. support. This pilot, which is implemented in all 34 provinces but in a limited number of ministries, exemplifies the principle of strategic, unromantic capacity building. It trains provincial line ministry representatives on how to insert their priorities into the central ministry budgeting processes. U.S. leverage should now emphasize expanding the degree to which the priorities of these provincial officials are reflected in final ministerial budgets.
Third, U.S. policymakers must focus on influencing the Karzai government to enact truly sustainable accountability mechanisms in local governance. Electing official district councils that can meaningfully check the district governor is the first step. After almost a decade of claiming that district council elections cannot be held because of uncertain boundaries, and after a recent statement that formalizes “official districts” but doesn’t address “temporary” ones, the Afghan government should finalize these borders to a “good enough” level and implement district council elections, preferably in time for the 2014 election. Council authorities must then be formalized by parliamentary law—another area suitable for American leverage. In the long term, as Thomas Barfield has suggested, the best hope for actual accountability among district and provincial governors may be to do away with the patronage system and popularly elect them.11 This idea faces significant political and logistical obstacles, but a propitious outcome of the 2014 Presidential election may open new opportunities.
Fourth, the United States should lead the international community in clarifying reporting relationships and roles between Afghanistan’s various bureaucratic actors. To do this, we must acknowledge that we have often violated the “do no harm” principle. Complicated U.S. organizational “mentoring” structures undermine Afghans’ abilities to understand their jobs. Further up the chain, additional, inconsistently defined layers in the U.S. management structure (for example, staff based at the Regional Command level or the Task Force level with a “governance coordination” portfolio yet no Afghan counterpart) have added more confusion. Going forward, as our own civil-military numbers decrease, leadership must forge a smaller U.S. organization that is strategically streamlined and not arbitrarily diminished but made more coherent as it becomes smaller. All members must share an understanding of how the Afghan government is supposed to function, and where more precision is needed (for example, in the many areas in which Afghanistan’s Subnational Governance Policy is unclear), American leadership must work in a coordinated way with the Afghan government to achieve it.
Finally, and most challenging, U.S. interests in Afghanistan need a reasoned, multiyear strategy to cultivate resilient governance rather than a collection of ad hoc magic bullets. A long-term commitment to Afghanistan is vital: The current Strategic Partnership Agreement represents an important first but not final step. Looking past 2014, U.S. resources do not need to be large, but they must be predictable, steady and programmed in an integrated fashion. U.S. bureaucracy should not be large, and it must be deliberately structured to achieve rational objectives. U.S. leverage cannot affect dynamics in all corners of Afghanistan, but it can influence a few key reforms. As 2014 approaches, it is past time to shed the central irony of the Afghanistan project: The U.S. civil-military undertaking that has launched a thousand “strategies” has demonstrated minimal coherent vision. Only by shifting to a measured yet strategic approach can U.S. policymakers hope to achieve their minimal goal: preventing Afghanistan’s return to failed-state status.
1Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy, Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, February 2010.
2See Scott Dempsey, “Is Spending the Strategy?” Small Wars Journal, May 4, 2011.
3Author interview with a former U.S. civilian official, May 2012.
4For a case study of this phenomenon on the provincial level, see Josh Partlow, “U.S. Seeks to Prop Up Kandahar Governor, Sideline Troublesome Power Brokers”, Washington Post, April 29, 2010.
5For a fuller discussion of this phenomenon, see Paul Fishstein and Andrew Wilder, “Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Afghanistan”, Feinstein International Center, January 2012, p. 68.
6Author interview with a former district-based U.S. civilian, Washington, DC, October 2011.
7Independent Directorate of Local Governance, “DDP Secretariat: Support to District Delivery Program” (March 2010).
8See Andrew Beath, Fotini Christia and Ruben Enikolopov, “Winning Hearts and Minds through Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan”, MIT political science department working paper, April 13, 2001.
9Fishstein and Wilder, “Winning Hearts and Minds?”, p. 70.
10Author interview with a civilian official, Kandahar, March 2012.
11Barfield, “Afghanistan’s Ethic Puzzle”, Foreign Affairs (September/October 2011).