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Winning hearts and minds? Examining the relationship between aid and security in Afghanistan’s Helmand province

Gordon, Stuart ORCID: 0000-0002-7592-6428 (2011) Winning hearts and minds? Examining the relationship between aid and security in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. . Feinstein International Center, Boston, USA.

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Afghanistan has been a testing ground for a key aspect of counterinsurgency doctrine, namely that humanitarian and development projects can help to bring or maintain security in strategically important environments, and by “winning hearts and minds” undermine support for radical, insurgent, or terrorist groups. The assumption that aid projects improve security has lead to a sharp increase in overall development funding, an increased percentage of activities programmed based on strategic security considerations, and a shift of development activities to the military. Given what is at stake, it is essential that policy makers understand whether and how aid projects can actually contribute to security. This third Afghanistan provincial case study examines the use of aid, including “Quick Impact Projects” (QIPS), from 2006-08 to attempt to produce stability in an area of Afghanistan which has been among the most insecure and which has been a major focus of financial and human resources. Insecurity in Helmand was found to be largely the result of the way the post-2001 distribution of power and resources favored certain tribal groups at the expense of others. Winners in this “carve-up” consolidated their positions in part through predatory taxation, political influence, and violence, as well as the use of development funding as patronage. Those who were losers in this were made vulnerable to Taliban infiltration and offers of protection. Additional grievances were provided by uneven eradication of opium poppy, the inability of the international community to stop the predatory behavior, and civilian casualties and other consequences of NATO military activity...

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Feinstein International Center
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 10:11
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:19

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