In providing additional military forces for the Afghanistan war, the Obama administration has demonstrated that Afghanistan is no longer an economy-of-force campaign. But a troop surge alone is not enough to win the war. In orthodox counterinsurgency theory, providing essential services and strengthening governance are as important as fighting the enemy with guns and bullets. A precondition for allied success is an Afghan state that is legitimate in the eyes of its citizens and able to provide them with essential services. A renewed U.S. commitment to funding grassroots development and governance in Afghanistan must therefore accompany the influx of troops.
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