Kapisa and the NSP

by Joshua Foust on 8/17/2011 · 4 comments

Pajhwok reports:

MEHMOOD RAQI (PAN): Residents of central Kapisa province have accused members of regional councils of using development projects to promote their personal interests.

The government initiated development schemes in some troubled districts of the province, but residents say they are unhappy with the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) — a rural development initiative.

Some residents said NSP officials have been unable to maintain their performance with time, ignoring the deserving lot.

Unfortunately, this is not too surprising. In her now well-known assessment of NSP programs from a couple of years ago, Jennifer Brick (pdf) noted that NSP councils can be used counterproductively if they’re not structured and monitored properly. This is because the mere existence of a local development council doesn’t guarantee it will work. What’s needed is a political and social framework that guides and constrains its decisions.

There’s been very little development of political and social frameworks in Afghanistan, only new inventions of the wheel meant to solve the political and social problems that are undermining Afghanistan’s prospects for long-term stability. Without addressing those problems, I don’t see much hope for even a mostly-functional system like the NSP having any long term effect.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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TJM August 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

It also doesn’t help that there’s a turf war between MRRD and IDLG.

Faisal August 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm

The question is was the NSP designed to be sustainable beyond the term period of intervention in the country.

Dan Smock August 18, 2011 at 6:34 am

Short answer? No. Longer answer? If there’s nothing for it to transition to, what then? Ridiculous levels of limbo abound around this issue.

Dan Smock August 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

It’s interesting, because there’s a report here:


…that actually gives a pretty glowing review of MRRD and the NSP, while still acknowledging the challenges of its future.

Not to indulge in shameless self-promotion, but someone else’s inquiries about NSP, etc., prompted my own digging… see post below.


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