State building as strategy: An interrogation of NATO's comprehensive approach in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2011

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Eustace, Daniel Derek
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University College Cork
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The core of this thesis is the study of NATO’s Comprehensive Approach strategy to state building in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2011. It argues that this strategy sustained operational and tactical practices which were ineffective in responding to the evolved nature of the security problem. The thesis interrogates the Comprehensive Approach along ontological, empirical and epistemological lines and concludes that the failure of the Comprehensive Approach in the specific Afghan case is, in fact, indicative of underlying theoretical and pragmatic flaws which, therefore, generalize the dilemma. The research is pragmatic in nature, employing mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) concurrently. Qualitative methods include research into primary and secondary literature sources supplemented with the author’s personal experiences in Afghanistan in 2008 and various NATO HQ and Canadian settings. Quantitative research includes an empirical case study focussing on NATO’s Afghan experience and its attempt at state building between 2006 and 2011. This study incorporates a historical review of NATO’s evolutionary involvement in Afghanistan incorporating the subject timeframe; offers an analysis of human development and governance related data mapped to expected outcomes of the Afghan National Development Strategy and NATO’s comprehensive campaign design; and interrogates the Comprehensive Approach strategy by means of an analysis of conceptual, institutional and capability gaps in the context of an integrated investigational framework. The results of the case study leads to an investigation of a series of research questions related to the potential impact of the failure of the Comprehensive Approach for NATO in Afghanistan and the limits of state building as a means of attaining security for the Alliance.
NATO , State building , Counter-insurgency , Strategy , Comprehensive approach , Campaign assessment
Eustace, D. D. 2014. State building as strategy: An interrogation of NATO's comprehensive approach in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2011. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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