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Friday, 3rd August 2012

Snapshots of an Intervention: The Unlearned Lessons of Afghanistan’s Decade of Assistance (2001–11)

Source: Afghanistan Analysts Network

From the Introduction:

The decade of state-building, reconstruction and development assistance in Afghanistan has left many people confused. There have been undeniable changes: Afghanistan now has an election-based, market-driven political system and many socio-economic indicators are far better than they used to be under Taleban rule or during the civil war (although that is, admittedly, not a very high bar). There have been great, albeit unequal, opportunities in terms of education, employment and enrichment. But there is also a strong sense of missed and mismanaged opportunities, which many – Afghans and internationals alike – find difficult to understand: how could so many resources have achieved what feels like so little and so fleeting?

This edited volume explores the question by taking a closer look at a variety of key programmes and projects that were designed and implemented over the last decade, or more. It consists of a collection of 25 articles by analysts and practitioners with long histories in the country, who were closely involved in the programmes they describe. The contributions present a rare and detailed insight into the complexity of the intervention in Afghanistan – including the often complicated relations between donors and representatives of the Afghan government (with projects tending to be nominally Afghan-led, but clearly donor-driven), the difficulties in achieving greater coherence and leverage and, in many cases, the widely shared failure to learn the necessary lessons and to adapt to realities as they were encountered.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 2.2 MB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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