Using Smart Power in Afghanistan and Pakistan

December 16, 2010 By Melissa Silverman

This morning, the Administration released a progress report on Afghanistan and Pakistan and clearly pointed out the importance of civilian power, stating “the denial of extremist safe havens cannot be achieved through military means alone, but must continue to be advanced by effective development strategies.”

The executive summary of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review makes clear that using smart power has been effective in the battle against al-Qaeda in both critical countries. For Afghanistan, the review notes, “U.S. civilian and military integration has significantly improved, with coordinated efforts now occurring at every level.”  And in Pakistan, “Civilian assistance increased with more aid flowing through Pakistani institutions.”

The report goes even further for Pakistan saying that this year, the United States-Pakistan relationship was improved through the Strategic Dialogue. It says, “The Dialogue improved mutual trust, prompted attention to reforms critical to long-term stability, and addressed development objectives important to the people of Pakistan. Civilian assistance increased with more aid flowing through Pakistani institutions, improved civilian stabilization activities, the development of critical energy and other infrastructure, and a robust flood response and recovery effort.”

Secretary Gates has said, “Without development, we will not be successful in either Iraq or Afghanistan.  And so in the fights we’re in, the civilian component is absolutely critical to success.”  As the U.S. continues its efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we must continue to provide the resources our civilian-led operations need to finish the job.

To read more, click here to read the full executive summary, via the Washington Post.