One of the best success stories to come out of the many training endeavors in Afghanistan is the result of a United Kingdom firm - New Century. This firm has been providing intelligence training to the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP) for quite a few years. Their employees have served as trainers, mentors, and advisors to the ANA and ANP and were located in almost all provinces. One of their most successful programs was called LEGACY. The police training program involved working with the Afghan National Police intelligence officers at provincial level. The New Century firm deployed small teams of former UK Special Branch, special forces, and defense intelligence operatives to train up the ANP. LEGACY trainers were also attached to the Military Intelligence Kandaks and companies of the ANA Corps. Almost all of these trainers were retired from their respective careers in the UK defense or police organizations. Many served in the same province in Afghanistan for two to four years. As a result they became very knowledgeable of the terrain, personalities, insurgents, politics, and all other aspects of the province. They developed extremely good relationships with their Afghan counterparts because of this continuity. In my travels over the past four years in Afghanistan I visited many COPs and FOBs throughout the Kabul, 201st, 203rd, and 209th Corps areas - one of the first stops I would make was the LEGACY guys - because they had the in-depth knowledge and ground truth of what was going on in their area. The LEGACY program and New Century's work is "What Right Looks Like" and should be a lesson learned for intelligence support to a counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and future conflicts.
The NATO HUMINT Centre of Excellence has published a valuable reference on the human terrain of Afghanistan. Human Aspects in Afghanistan Handbook published in 2013 by NATO provides information on history, population, social aspects, governance,
political aspects, economic aspects, criminality and security threats,
communications and media, ANSF, cultural aspects, dos and don'ts, food,
clothing, and ethnic groups. This very detailed handbook is 326 pages long (5 MBs). There are ample graphs, maps, charts, and pictures to help the reader comprehend the topics. The Adobe Acrobat PDF is available at the link below.
An interesting news article on the contribution that contract intelligence workers provide in Afghanistan. Many of the Army intelligence officers and NCOs (and other intel government officials) who deploy to Afghanistan on seven-month rotations once, twice or maybe three times in their careers are simply outclassed by the many retired-military contract intelligence operatives and analysts who spend years working in Afghanistan. Read more in "Hold Your Applause, It wasn't the CIA Alone Who Found Osama Bin Laden", Business Insider, January 21, 2014.