In this policy brief, CNAS CEO Nate Fick and co-author Clare Lockhart, CEO at the Institute for State Effectiveness, argue that smart execution of the American strategy in Afghanistan depends on tapping into Afghanistan’s economic potential and empowering Afghans to foster economic development in their own country – including bolstering entrepreneurial activity, foreign investment and building infrastructure – and should be pursued simultaneously with the overall counterinsurgency strategy.
The Economic Imperative: Stabilizing Afghanistan through Economic Growth argues that U.S. and ISAF operations in the country currently have an “economic gap,” and, while lack of attention to economic dimensions are numerable and justified, development is an imperative component to sustainable security and must be pursued.
“Harnessing the potential of the Afghan people to succeed on Afghan terms through Afghan institutions will reinforce stability as it spreads from areas cleared of insurgents, will give more Afghans a stake in the future of their country, and provides the only path to national self-sufficiency,” write the authors.
The international community should also help catalyze a number of existing development initiatives that produce tangible benefits quickly for Afghans, including microfinance and public works programs, the National Solidarity Program, and OPIC-offered risk guarantees to potential investors, and:
- Revitalize the role of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
- Support the creation of a National Task Force for job development and training.
- Reaffirm the significance of Afghanistan’s economic ministries.
- Create a global task force to identify gaps in strategy, financing mechanisms and to explore and set up additional financial instruments.
More from CNAS
PodcastU.S. and Allied Withdrawal from Afghanistan, with Federica Mogherini and Lisa Curtis
What does President Biden’s decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan mean for American allies? Federica Mogherini and Lisa Curtis join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim To...
By Carisa Nietsche, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Federica Mogherini & Lisa Curtis
PodcastFire and Ice
In this week’s edition of the SpyTalk podcast, Jeff Stein goes deep on the CIA’s looming eviction from Afghanistan with Lisa Curtis, a longtime former CIA, State Department an...
By Lisa Curtis, Jeff Stein, Jeanne Meserve & Alma Katsu
CommentaryWe Got Afghanistan Wrong, but There’s Still Time to Learn Something
Instead of building a force that fit Afghanistan, we built an Army of mini-me’s...
By Dr. Jason Dempsey
PodcastA Veteran's View Of Biden's Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan
Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd speaks with retired Army officer Jason Dempsey about President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Listen to the full conversation...
By Dr. Jason Dempsey