As our own Sharon Burke wrote earlier this month in her Natural Security concept paper:
President Obama has stated repeatedly that peace in Afghanistan will be contingent on economic, civic, and political development as much as military successes. A 2009 UNEP report found, however, that most of Afghanistan’s natural resources are severely degraded and that any recovery would depend on restoration of these resources. Achieving U.S. goals in the region may well depend on our ability to tie natural resources into national security.
Today’s Washington Post features a great article by Rajiv Chandrasekaran beginning on page A1 that provides depth to the role of land use issues in both promoting and slowing security-building efforts in Afghanistan. The reporter also sheds some light on the kinds of bureaucratic wrangling that we might expect more of as the administration shifts additional responsibilities for national security to civilian agencies and increases focus on civilian functions.