Sunday, November 22, 2015

Reports on Afghanistan

Geospatial Analysis and Reconstruction in Afghanistan. As international troops and observers pull out of Afghanistan and concentrate their personnel in Kabul there is less and less oversight on the money being spent on reconstruction, development, and economic projects across Afghanistan. "Geospatial analysis and mapping have a critical role to play in the reconstruction efforts in conflict-affected regions." A report by David Mansfield is available that explains this topic in detail. Read Effective Monitoring and Evaluation in Conflict-Affected Environments: Afghanistan Post-2014, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), November 12, 2015.

Asia Foundation Survey - Afghanistan 2015. Each year the Asia Foundation conducts a countrywide survey of the Afghan people. This annual survey provides insight into the views of Afghans on issues central to the country's development. Conducted in June 2015 with almost 10,000 Afghan citizens representing 14 ethnic groups and all 34 provinces - this year's survey includes new questions on youth, ISIL/ISIS, women in leadership, and mobile phone access - as well as the standard questions on security, governance and development.
"Afghan optimism about the overall direction of the country and confidence in government fell to their lowest point in a decade, while fear for personal safety increased to a record high. Afghans cite deteriorating security, unemployment, and corruption for the main reasons for their pessimism."
Paper - Cultural Frictions and Mentoring the ANA. The Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) - sometimes referred to as "Sandhurst in the Sand" - is hopefully providing Afghanistan with future leaders who can help the nation forward in this very serious security environment. This paper ". . . traces coalition force mentors from their pre-deployment training at Sandhurst, to their deployment at ANAOA and finally to post-deployment, in order to explore their experiences of mentorship." One aspect of successful mentoring (training, advising, . . . call it what you wish) is that the mentor needs to bridge the cultural divide. It is important to recognize the discrepancy between the promotion of Western values and the emphasis on local ownership. A 'must read' paper if you are heading to or currently in Afghanistan as an advisor. Read "Cultural Frictions: Mentoring the Afghan Army at 'Sandhurst in the Sand'", Small Wars Journal, by Maya Mynster Christensen and Cecilie Odgaard Jakobsen, November 19, 2015.

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