Hat tip to Kings of War.
WHAM is shorthand for 'Winning ‘Hearts and Minds’ and the link below is to a report on a Wilton Park conference (a UK FCO conference venue) entitled 'Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan: Assessing the effectiveness of development aid in COIN operations'.
The KoW author David Betz comments:
One of the most striking articles of faith in our campaign in Afghanistan specifically and COIN doctrine generally has been the notion that development aid wins hearts and minds.(Concludes) It makes plain that there is a fairly serious disjuncture between COIN doctrine and political reality.
David takes one paragraph from the report:
The research findings from Afghanistan highlight that many of the fundamental conflict drivers there are inherently political in nature, such as ethnic grievances and inter- and intra-tribal disputes. Indeed, many Afghans believe the main cause of insecurity to be their government, which is perceived to be massively corrupt, predatory and unjust. A COIN strategy premised on using aid to win the population over to such a negatively perceived government faces an uphill struggle, especially in a competitive environment where the Taliban are perceived by many to be more effective in addressing the people’s highest priority needs of security and access to justice. Without getting the ‘politics right’ both military and aid efforts are unlikely to achieve their desired effects.
We have debated many of the issues raised in the title and substance on the ground, but this report is interesting in its own right. Partly due to the sponsors and venue.