Intelligence: Ground Truth In Afghanistan


March 6,2008: Sometimes it takes an outsider to let all the players know what's really going on. Case in point is a recent survey conducted by a Western NGO in Afghanistan. Some 500 people in six provinces were queried. The answers track with what the government and NATO civil affairs operators already know, but it's still information that never seems to get out to the Western public.

For example, when asked what the most common source of conflict was, the response was; 50 percent said land issues (largely for grazing animals), 43 percent said water (Afghanistan is a dry place) and 34 percent said family matters (feuds often go on for generations.)

Asked who they feared the most, the response was; 16 percent the Taliban, 14 percent warlords, 13 percent said criminals and 11 percent said NATO and American troops.

How do Afghans try and resolve disputes? 55 percent go to a local or tribal council, 36 percent would go to the nearest police, while 21 percent would go to the district of provincial official.

What this reinforces is that rural Afghanistan is very self contained and used to taking care of themselves. Outsiders, including the Taliban, are seen as a threat. Problems, and solutions, are seen as local. Anyone wanting to reach these people, must also think local. It's sort of like the old American saying, "all politics is local."


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close