Afghanistan + 2 more

The Relationship Between Aid, Insurgency & Security: Part One

Originally published


This report covers a variety of publications addressing the impact of international development assistance on insurgent violence. A recent historical review of mid-conflict stabilisation missions published in the journal Disasters noted that civilian and military actors have provided aid to locations in the midst of conflict for well over a century. Examining counter-insurgency (COIN) missions in the Philippines, Algeria, Vietnam and El Salvador from as early as 1898 to as recently as 1992, the authors suggested that stabilisation operations such as the one currently taking place in Afghanistan have been based on the belief that reconstruction and development projects as well as financial assistance – hereafter termed “foreign aid” or “aid” – have a beneficial impact upon security (i.e., reducing violence). This “security-development nexus” involved, in each of the historical cases as well as contemporary ones such as Afghanistan and Iraq, the logic of intervention outlined below (see Figure 1).1 In short, by promoting the well-being of the local population – in addition to territorial security and sufficiently legitimate state institutions – stabilisation actors can win the favour of the host nation citizenry and erode insurgents‟ ability to operate effectively. The result may either be a military victory for counter-insurgent forces, the flight and temporary withdrawal of the insurgents or the attainment of a negotiations-inducing stalemate.