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September 21, 2009 / Tom Hill

McChrystal Report Leaked

So the Washington Post got a copy of Gen McChrystal’s confidential assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, which outlines the key obstacles to ISAF success there. Once again, the significance of corruption in the Afghan government is highlighted as being as great a threat to the whole endeavour as the Taliban and mistakes by ISAF. This is such a serious issue because, while “protecting the population” is a key component of the strategy, “supporting the host government” is another fundamental basis of the strategy as well. But here’s the beef: if ISAF is so pegged to the Afghan government in its hopes for success, then what is the strategy for ensuring the Afghan government is a credible, legitimate, reliable and much less corrupt set of institutions than it is now? I have not seen such a sub-strategy presented anywhere, which constitutes a serious strategic gap, and therefore means the whole operation is based on a prayer (unless I’m wrong and there is a serious strategy for this of course). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, if we examine the history of corruption in political institutions, is there anything available to suggest that any reasonable strategy to achieve this aim can be put together at all? I feel that there isn’t. All contributions, suggestions very welcome on this.



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  1. jeni / Sep 22 2009 13:36

    I was glad to see the assessment note that the main problem with the drugs trade is not that it funds insurgency, but that it promotes massive government corruption.

    To me, this is the line that sums up better than anything else why success will likely be elusive: “There are no clear lines separating insurgent groups, criminal networks (including the narcotics networks), and corrupt GIRoA officials.” The classic problem of distinction in insurgency — separating fighters from civilians — becomes even murkier when crime and corruption reach such overwhelming levels, and so far I’m not seeing strategies that really focus in on this.

  2. Kiers / Sep 28 2009 20:02

    at last, ONE of the many BIG objectives for presence in Afghnaistan is becoming apparent: the attack/containment of IRan. The timing is crucial.


  1. Economics, Conflict Resolution, COIN and Development: Corruption Still Very Thorny « The Crime-Conflict Nexus

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