For The Atlantic, I write:
Afghanistan is, in a way, the ultimate expression of how dangerous aid partnerships can be. By almost every account, the international community’s aid programs in Afghanistan have made corruption worse than ever before, and made responsible government less, rather than more likely. In other words, aid and development spending has, in many ways, been counterproductive — and now most major cities in the country are dependent on foreign financing (or illicit financing, often expressed by narcotecture).
Thus, when we think about the coming years of transition in Afghanistan, we’re only getting part of the picture. ISAF has been successful at creating a military without a state — a praetorian state, if you want to be clever about it. But what does that really get you, beyond a military with nothing to serve but itself?