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Posted December 16, 2008
The Taliban capitulated as a ruling entity in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. Meanwhile, billions of international dollars have poured in to bolster its new democratic government and rebuild the nation essentially, after three decades of conflict, from scratch. Thousands of US soldiers and their allied counterparts have flowed in and out of the country. Hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda militants have been captured or killed. Innumerable NGOs have come and gone. Still, the generous contributions of blood and treasure have not prevented the country from a very dangerous upsurge of insecurity and a reemergence of Taliban and al Qaeda. <BR/><BR/>This frustrating situation poses some fundamental questions for those who are familiar with Afghanistan. Why are innocent Afghans still dying daily at the hands of the Taliban? Why are so many still financially destitute? Why are al Qaeda and Taliban militants still on the march? More specifically, why has violence spread into areas once considered `secured¿ such as Herat and Kabul. In essence, after so much time and money spent and so many lives lost, why hasn¿t the Afghan problem been settled? After the Taliban: Life and Security in Rural Afghanistan attempts to answer these questions and many more.<BR/><BR/>For the first time, data presented in After the Taliban brings to light the gap in perceptions between the international community and rural Afghans as the underpinning cause for policy failures in Afghanistan. After the Taliban demonstrates the international community¿s understanding of security in Afghanistan is vastly different from local understandings of security. The international perspective is primarily physical with emphasis on the number of attacks against UN, international NGOs, US/NATO, and the Afghan government. The local perspective, on the other hand, is primarily human security, which includes physical security, with emphasis on food, shelter, clean drinking water, basic infrastructure such as roads and schools, and jobs. Data presented in After the Taliban validates both perspectives; however, it argues they are disconnected. This disconnect is a serious problem. <BR/><BR/>What can be done? After the Taliban argues for understanding the gap between international and local perspectives of security. This entails systematic efforts to address this divide by building complementary relations between the two perspectives at both policy and program levels. Building national security forces and a stable capital city, for instance, are very important to the future of Afghanistan. Indeed, they are vital. Equally critical are a functioning education system, employment opportunities, and improved roads. Good education, as with any nation, is the key to Afghanistan¿s current and future generations. To develop local capacity demands cadres schooled in democratic leadership and progressive entrepreneurship. Jobs will keep young men gainfully occupied. This derails radicalization which grows out of hopelessness in dysfunctioned societies and prevents scores of youths from participating in the ongoing insurgency. Roads, for instance, permit movement of goods to market: an essential requirement for economic development. They facilitate reconstruction into remote areas as well. Seeing and understanding things from the local point of view offer greater effectiveness and legitimacy to the US-led international intervention in Afghanistan.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.