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New Surge To Afghanistan Is Civilian, Not Military

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New Surge To Afghanistan Is Civilian, Not Military

Afghanistan

New Surge To Afghanistan Is Civilian, Not Military

New Surge To Afghanistan Is Civilian, Not Military

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/132548950/132548940" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Progress in Afghanistan this year will depend on how the U.S. surge there plays out — not just the military surge but another, less well-known influx of civilians. The United States and NATO have sent a legion of reformers with the difficult task of fostering good governance. It's this effort that may ultimately determine the lasting success of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Guest host Jennifer Ludden talks with NPR's Quil Lawrence about the large, coordinated U.S. civilian effort in Afghanistan.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, Host:

To find out more, we're joined by NPR's Kabul bureau chief, Quill Lawrence. Hi there, Quill.

QUILL LAWRENCE: Good morning.

LUDDEN: What is the scope of this civilian surge?

LAWRENCE: The budget for USAID is to four billion dollars this year, so it's a vast effort.

LUDDEN: And how's it going? I mean, what kind of challenges is this effort running into?

LAWRENCE: And it's very hard to hire qualified people in Afghanistan, which is one of the biggest problems with waste and corruption here.

LUDDEN: Would you have any sense of, you know, are Afghans receptive to these kinds of reforms?

LAWRENCE: So there's just a lot of capacity that needs to be built. And when you hear a foreign organization talking about wanting a quick impact rule of law improvement project, well, the answer of most of the aid communities, such a thing doesn't exist. You need to go through education and get an educated population that in a couple of decades might be able to improve a justice system, for example.

LUDDEN: The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was in Kabul today as part of this civilian push. What's that about?

LAWRENCE: And she's also meeting with high level Afghan government officials, including President Karzai.

LUDDEN: NPR's Quill Lawrence in Kabul. Thanks so much.

LAWRENCE: Thank you. Happy New Year.

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