Expanding the Qawm: Culturally Savvy Counterinsurgency and Nation-Building in Afghanistan
Monograph rept. Jul 2009-May 2010
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph investigates culture and society in Afghanistan and recommends an operational approach leveraging a blend of formal and traditional institutions, working with the propensity of the Afghan system, and building capacity and legitimacy for GIRoA. It examines some commonly misunderstood concepts within Afghan culture such as qawm and tribe, and attempts to correct some of the misconceptions about Afghanistan as a tribal society. It finds that Afghans draw their identity not from the tribe, but from the qawm--a more malleable and locally oriented system. The monograph also examines the intersection of traditional and formal Afghan institutions, Afghan culture, and ISAF intervention in four focus areas governance and rule of law, security, development and economic growth, and ISAF organization. Afghanistans chief characteristic is its physical and social complexity, including its variegated terrain, its diverse cultural tapestry, and the interplay between the two. This complex heterogeneity and fragmentation defies a mirror-imaged Western solution or even a singular, templated Afghan solution ostensibly exportable throughout Afghanistan. To manage the complexity of the Afghan system, the monograph recommends an agile, decentralized approach, synchronizing and synergizing efforts at the sub-provincial level, and maintaining an integrated, empowered, enduring presence in the districts. The decentralized approach will enhance counterinsurgency and nation-building efficacy in Afghanistan through a culturally savvy, locally focused, bottom-up system of transformation, setting conditions for qawm expansion as a way to defragment Afghanistan and Afghan society.
- Government and Political Science
- Unconventional Warfare
- Sociology and Law