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Abstract

Security in Afghanistan has historically required a combination of top-down efforts from the central government and bottom-up efforts from local communities. Since 2001, U.S. and broader international efforts have focused on establishing security solely from the top down through Afghan national security forces and other central government institutions. But local security forces are a critical complement to these efforts, especially in rural areas of the country. The Afghan government and NATO forces need to move quickly to establish a more-effective bottom-up strategy to complement top-down efforts by better leveraging local communities. The Afghan government can work with existing community structures that oppose insurgents to establish village-level policing entities, such as arbakai and chalweshtai, with support from NATO. Effectively leveraging local communities should significantly improve counterinsurgency prospects and can facilitate mobilization of the population against insurgents. This analysis documents lessons about the viability of establishing local security in Afghanistan and addresses concerns about the wisdom of such policies.

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Challenge: Protecting the Population

  • Chapter Three

    Local Dynamics and Community Policing

  • Chapter Four

    An Analysis of Community Policing

  • Chapter Five

    Organizing Local Defense Forces

  • Chapter Six

    Mitigating Risks

The research described in this report was prepared for the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity. The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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