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There is a widely held assumption in military and foreign policy circles that development assistance is an important “soft power”; a tool that can be used in fragile states to promote stabilization and security objectives. Counter-insurgency doctrine in particular emphasizes the importance of reconstruction assistance in “winning hearts and minds” of civilians. Given how widespread the assumption is, and given its major impact on aid and counter-insurgency policies, there is to date remarkably little empirical evidence that supports the assumption. While considerable time, effort and resources have been devoted to assessing the effectiveness of aid in achieving humanitarian and development objectives, surprisingly few resources have been devoted to assessing the effectiveness of aid in achieving stabilization and security objectives.
This presentation will present preliminary findings from field research in Afghanistan that try to address this gap by examining the effectiveness of development assistance spent by civilian aid agencies and military forces to promote stabilization objectives.
The project is funded with support from the Norwegian, Swedish and Australian governments. The project focuses on Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan and the Horn of Africa.