Afghanistan Exit Strategy Must Focus on Development

U.S. should empower local councils to maintain security and build infrastructure in post-withdrawal Afghanistan.

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Going forward, the best way America can establish the infrastructure for long-term security and stability in Afghanistan is less through military means and more through improvements to quality of life and basic services. This is something that an Afghan ministry—like the Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development—is best positioned to control. This May, beyond the expected decision-making on deadlines and troop withdrawals, there must be another "D" word on the lips of foreign funders—that of development—led by those who understand rural Afghanistan best: Afghans.

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  • Corrected on 5/31/2012: A previous version of this article misstated the date of the NATO meeting in Chicago. It occurred two weekends ago.