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Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Afghanistan

Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Afghanistan

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This paper by Paul Fishstein and Andrew Wilder presents findings from research conducted by FIC in five provinces of Afghanistan between July 2008 and January 2010 on the relationship between aid projects and security.
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.
The paper highlights the challenges inherent in using aid as an instrument of security policy. While in some areas aid projects may have had some short-term positive security effects at a tactical level (e.g., intelligence gathering and limited force protection benefits for international forces), and may have helped to facilitate creating relationships by providing a “platform” or context to legitimize interaction between international and local actors, there was little concrete evidence in any of the five provinces that aid projects were having more strategic level stabilization or security benefits such as winning populations away from insurgents, legitimizing the government, or reducing levels of violent conflict.
This paper by Paul Fishstein and Andrew Wilder presents findings from research conducted by FIC in five provinces of Afghanistan between July 2008 and January 2010 on the relationship between aid projects and security.
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.
The paper highlights the challenges inherent in using aid as an instrument of security policy. While in some areas aid projects may have had some short-term positive security effects at a tactical level (e.g., intelligence gathering and limited force protection benefits for international forces), and may have helped to facilitate creating relationships by providing a “platform” or context to legitimize interaction between international and local actors, there was little concrete evidence in any of the five provinces that aid projects were having more strategic level stabilization or security benefits such as winning populations away from insurgents, legitimizing the government, or reducing levels of violent conflict.

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Published by: Feinstein International Center on Jan 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Strengthening the humanity and dignity of people in crisis through knowledge and practice
Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship betweenAid and Security in Aghanistan
January 2012
Paul Fishstein and Andrew Wilder 
 
Feinstein International Center 2
 
©2011 Feinstein International Center. All Rights Reserved.Fair use o this copyrighted material includes its use or non-commercial educationalpurposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and newsreporting. Unless otherwise noted, those who wish to reproduce text and image flesrom this publication or such uses may do so without the Feinstein InternationalCenter’s express permission. However, all commercial use o this material and/orreproduction that alters its meaning or intent, without the express permission o theFeinstein International Center, is prohibited.Feinstein International CenterTuts University200 Boston Ave., Suite 4800Medord, MA 02155USAtel: +1 617.627.3423ax: +1 617.627.3428fc.tuts.edu
 
Authors
Paul Fishstein is a visiting Fellow at the Feinstein International Center at TutsUniversity, Medord, Massachusetts. Andrew Wilder is Director, Aghanistan andPakistan Programs, United States Institute or Peace, Washington, District o Columbiaand ormer Research Director at the Feinstein International Center.
Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank the ollowing people and institutions and acknowledge their contribution to the research:
•ResearchcolleaguesAhmadHakeem(“Shajay”),SayedYaseenNaqshpa,AhmadGul,SayedYaqeen,FaraidoonShariq,andGeertGompelmanfortheirassistanceand
insights as well as companionship in the eld.
•FrancesBrown,DavidKatz,DavidManseld,andAstriSuhrkefortheirsubstantive
comments and suggestions on a drat version.
•WilliamThompsonandDAIforfacilitatingeldresearchinPaktiaProvince,AusAIDstaandtheUNAMAoceinTarinKotforfacilitatingeldresearchinUruzganProvince,andtheACTEDoceinMaimanaforfacilitatingeldresearch
in Faryab Province.
•RobertGrantandtheWiltonParkconferencecenterfortheirjointsponsorshipoftheMarch2010conferenceon“‘WinningHeartsandMinds’inAfghanistan:AssessingtheEectivenessofDevelopmentAidinCOINOperations.”•StaoftheAfghanistanResearchandEvaluationUnit(AREU)forsupportduring
visits to Aghanistan.
PaulFishsteinalsowishestothanktheCarrCenterforHumanRightsPolicyattheHarvardKennedySchoolforthefellowshipduringwhichmuchofthisworkwasdone.TheBalkh,Faryab,andUruzgananalysisbenettedfromhistoricalandpoliticalbackgroundoverviewsproducedbyMervynPattersonandMartinevanBijlert,leading
analysts o these provinces. The section on the evolution o security-driven aidbenetted rom the very substantive contribution o Dr. Stuart Gordon.Thanks go to Joyce Maxwell or her editorial guidance and or helping to clariy
unclearpassages,andtoBridgetSnowforherecientandpatientworkonthe
production o the nal document.
Thank you
Generous unding or the research was provided by the Aghanistan Research and
EvaluationUnit(AREU),theAustralianAgencyforInternationalDevelopment(AusAID),theRoyalNorwegianMinistryofForeignAairs,andtheSwedishInternationalDevelopmentCooperationAgency(SIDA).
Cover photo
U.S.militaryandchildrenathealthcenter,HelmandPhotoby©KateHolt/IntegratedRegionalInformationNetworks(IRIN)

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