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The Trust Deficit: The Impact of Perceptions on Policy in Afghanistan

Event Date:
October 7, 2010
Andrew Exum, Michael Semple, Erica Gaston, Jack Fairweather
The current strategy in Afghanistan depends now more than ever on the cooperation and trust of Afghan communities.  However, a new study by the Open Society Foundations shows that the past nine years of civilian casualties, wrongful and abusive detentions, deteriorating security, and a lack of accountability by international forces have eroded much of that trust.
Failure to understand and respond to Afghan anger over the conduct of international forces and broader international community policies has led to ill-informed policymaking that has not been as effective as possible, or worse, has exacerbated existing problems. Many Afghans interviewed not only regarded the international community with suspicion, many accused internationals, and the international military in particular, of directly or indirectly supporting insurgents in order to justify their continued presence in Afghanistan.
This panel event explores where these perceptions come from and their impact on the success of policies ranging from counterinsurgency to reconciliation to Afghan government stabilization efforts.
  • Andrew Exum, Fellow, Center for a New American Security
  • Erica Gaston, Program Officer for the Afghanistan-Pakistan Regional Policy Initiative, Open Society Foundations
  • Michael Semple,  Center for Human Rights Fellow, Kennedy School of Government
  • Jack Fairweather, Freelance Reporter  (moderator)
Related Information
A Rope and a Prayer
OSI-New York
December 16, 2010
The Open Society Foundations host a discussion on a new book recounting an American journalist's experience in captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and his wife’s struggle back home to free him.
The Threat to Girls' Education in Pakistan
Faisal Bari
November 5, 2010
If the notion that girls should not be educated or that English education was bad had popular support, the extremists would not have to blow up schools: they would be empty anyway.
Call for Applications: Open Society Foundations / University of York Scholarships
Deadline: February 2, 2011
The program offers scholarships to suitably qualified individuals and/or young professionals from Afghanistan to pursue a master's degree in post-war recovery studies at York University.
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