A Surge of a Different Sort for Afghanistan

The headlines on President Obama’s Afghanistan speech have focused on the additional U.S. troops he is sending, but there’s another component to the new strategy that is just as vital to achieving some progress and greater stability in that troubled country: the civilian surge. And making this surge a success will be no easy task.

In Afghanistan, problems that feed the insurgency and discontent with the Afghan government (poor governance, corruption, drug trafficking and poverty) are issues that don’t have conventional military solutions, and at the start of the year, the Obama administration set a goal of nearly tripling the civilian presence on the ground in Afghanistan from 320 at the start of the year to almost 1,000 in early 2010.

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