The recent NATO ordered air strikes made me think about an interesting blog on dumb-as-rocks aid/development in Afghanistan, which is no different than is the case in many fragile conflict contexts.

It is stating the numbingly obvious when I say that the changing/deteriorating security climate in Afghanistan is a significant impediment to aid and development.

The whole chicken-egg riddle of you can't have development without security (and vice versa) is nonsense too. It's a conversation that sucks in oxygen for no good reason at all.

In a fragile security environment you can have stability interventions. Usually such interventions are highly contextualised. Many donors fail to grasp the fluidity, felxibility, and responsiveness/autonomy such programming requires.

Ready-made development interventions that conveyed well in other contexts (i.e. The ubiquitous success story) often don't work in complex conflict-riven contexts.

This is why armed organizations are better placed to perform such work (PRTs, supported by USAID military affairs, etc.).

Many European donors are simply far too process-oriented (great for development, not stabilization) to be able to realistically hold out that they can make a meaningful aid intervention in such a pixelated and rapidly shifting context. They would probably do better to listen to NATO and CENTCOM and procure the choppers and other support that have been repeatedly requested for so long!!

(RFI: I can't remember if it was a Sarah Chayes or Ahmad Rashid article that reported that NATO troops from Europe are 1.9 times more likely to order in close air support than US/British/Australian/Canadian troops. Does anyone have a link to this statistical finding?)

Links again: