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Afghanistan – Reconstruction challenges and dilemmas

Abstract

This paper outlines the general context of reconstruction endeavours, identifies some of the specific roles that international actors have come to play, and concludes by discussing some of the challenges and dilemmas that the Afghanistan case has highlighted. If there is a key lesson for civil-military interaction from this case, it is surely that there is a huge difference between abstract commitment to ‘coordination’ as a good, and the practical achievement of coordination in an environment populated by a range of actors with diverse histories, interests, and time horizons.

Professor William Maley AM

William Maley is Professor and Director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. He is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM ), and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA). He is author of Rescuing Afghanistan (London: Hurst & Co., 2006), and The Afghanistan Wars (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, 2009); co-authored Regime Change in Afghanistan: Foreign Intervention and the Politics of Legitimacy (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991), and Political Order in Post-Communist Afghanistan (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1992); edited Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban (New York: New York University Press, 1998, 2001); and co-edited The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); From Civil Strife to Civil Society: Civil and Military Responsibilities in Disrupted States (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2003); and Global Governance and Diplomacy: Worlds Apart? (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

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