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We're not counterinsurgents : development and security in Afghanistan, 1946-2014. Attewell, Wesley Llewellyn 2017

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“WE’RE NOT COUNTERINSURGENTS”: DEVELOPMENT AND SECURITY IN AFGHANISTAN, 1946-2014   by   WESLEY LLEWELLYN ATTEWELL  B.A., The University of British Columbia, 2007 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 2009     A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT  OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY   in   THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES  (Geography)       THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)     January 2017     © Wesley Llewellyn Attewell, 2017  ii  Abstract  It is not possible to understand international development in isolation from the geographies of military, political, and capitalist violence. In particular, it is necessary to analyze the interconnections between development and security: the development-security nexus. In order to illuminate the role that development plays in the West’s historical and ongoing efforts to pacify insurgent populations, it is important to interrogate the assemblages of actors, knowledge, and power that enliven diagnostic moments of counterinsurgency warfare.   More specifically, the dissertation explores the ways in which the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has, from the Cold War onwards, practiced development as an ostensibly humanitarian form of counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan. It shows how USAID, for most of its institutional history, has been forced to grapple with Afghanistan as an ongoing – and seemingly insurmountable – problem of development-security. Three case studies – the Helmand Valley Project (1946-1978), the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1980-1992), and the ongoing assault on the Afghan narco-economy (2001-present) – reveal the shifting contours of development-as-counterinsurgency praxis in relation to broader institutional, political-economic, and geo-strategic contexts.  These allow three substantive claims to be advanced. First, USAID has historically championed increasingly “total” forms of rural development as the key to transforming populations of potential insurgents into “governable subjects”. Second, these “total” forms of development practice are fundamentally geographical in the sense that they strive to pacify insurgent populations through the production of spaces that are meant to “model” new forms of modern and liberal life. These new spaces served as laboratories in which development professionals forged new counterinsurgency techniques, put them to the test, and subsequently, evaluated their utility. Third, while these development practices are represented by USAID as productive, humanitarian, and therapeutic, they are nonetheless undergirded by – and provide a legitimating armature for – techniques of population management that are destructive of life, such as kill-capture operations and crop eradication schemes.   iii  Preface  This dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, Wesley Llewellyn Attewell. UBC Research Ethics Board certificate number H13-00884 covered the interviews reported in these pages.   With the exception of Figures 13, 14, 15, and 16, all images and maps used in this dissertation were sourced from US government documents, and hence, are public domain. Figures 13, 14, 15, and 16 are reproductions of maps originally published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. They were reproduced by Eric Leinberger, a cartographer working for the UBC Department of Geography.   The work presented in this dissertation led to the following publications:  Attewell, Wesley. “‘The planet that rules our destiny’: Alternative development in occupied Afghanistan”. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1177/0263775816664100. Attewell, Wesley. 2015. “Ghosts in the delta: USAID and the historical geographies of Vietnam’s ‘other’ war”. Environment and Planning A. 47.11: 2257-2275. Work appears in Chapter 1. Attewell, Wesley. 2012. “‘I hope he dies’: On WikiLeaks as a threat to human life’. In: Springer, Simon, et al. “Leaky Geopolitics: The Ruptures and Transgressions of WikiLeaks”. Geopolitics. 17.3: 681-711. Work appears in Chapters 1, 4 and 5.     iv  Table of Contents  Abstract ............................................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ............................................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ............................................................................................................................................... iv List of Figures .................................................................................................................................................... vi List of Abbreviations ........................................................................................................................................ vii Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................................................... viii Dedication ............................................................................................................................................................ x 1 “Nothing will ever be the same again…” .................................................................................................... 1 1.1  Slouching towards irrelevance ............................................................................................................. 1 1.2 Playing the “Great Game”.................................................................................................................... 7 1.3 USAID and the national security state ............................................................................................... 21 1.4 USAID as governmentality ................................................................................................................ 33 1.5 USAID and the geographies of uneven development ........................................................................ 41 1.6 The USAID complex ......................................................................................................................... 45 1.7 Outline................................................................................................................................................ 53 2  “Exploding out into the open…” ............................................................................................................... 56 2.1  The happiest of times ........................................................................................................................ 56 2.2 The HVP as machine ......................................................................................................................... 63 2.3 “Time and science are changing the world” ...................................................................................... 68 2.4 The geopolitical-economies of competitive coexistence ................................................................... 72 2.5 “We have American advisors running out of our ears” ..................................................................... 79 2.6 Total development ............................................................................................................................. 84 2.7  Bulldozers and rifles .......................................................................................................................... 90 2.8 The unfinished symphony .................................................................................................................. 98 2.9 Change comes to the Valley............................................................................................................. 103 3  “We cannot back off now” ....................................................................................................................... 105 3.1 Development as insurgency ............................................................................................................. 105 3.2  Ghosts in the borderlands ................................................................................................................. 108 3.3 Learning from Mao .......................................................................................................................... 114 3.4  “Katarah, katarah, dareah meshah” .................................................................................................. 122 3.5  Natural neoliberals? ......................................................................................................................... 130 3.6 Anger and mercy .............................................................................................................................. 141 3.7 Abandoning Afghanistan ................................................................................................................. 150 v  4 “The star that took us from our homes” ................................................................................................... 154 4.1 “A dangerous weapon” .................................................................................................................... 154 4.2 “More dangerous than terrorism” .................................................................................................... 160 4.3  “The real deal” ................................................................................................................................. 170 4.4 Shape, clear, hold, eradicate, build .................................................................................................. 184 4.5 Making the desert bloom, again ....................................................................................................... 203 4.6 Making peace with poppies.............................................................................................................. 210 5 “The planet that rules our destiny” .......................................................................................................... 214 5.1 Growing hope ................................................................................................................................... 214 5.2 The biopolitics of alternative development ...................................................................................... 217 5.3 “The Pride of the Eastern Region” ................................................................................................... 221 5.4 “We’re here to help, not for the money” .......................................................................................... 232 5.5 Letting die in eastern Afghanistan ................................................................................................... 241 5.6 “All ends with beginnings” .............................................................................................................. 252 5.7 From poppy free to poppy paradise ................................................................................................. 257 6 Things fall apart ....................................................................................................................................... 261 6.1 “$7.6 billion and counting” .............................................................................................................. 261 6.2 Dis-assembling the development-security nexus ............................................................................. 269 6.3  “From the American people” ........................................................................................................... 276 Bibliography .................................................................................................................................................... 279   vi  List of Figures  Figure 1: Program, "Fourth of July Celebration" ................................................................................ 57 Figure 2: Map of the Helmand Valley Watersheds ............................................................................ 61 Figure 3: "Development program under Export-Import Bank loans"................................................. 75 Figure 4: Robert Snyder discusses plowing methods in the Logar Valley ......................................... 81 Figure 5: A typical village distribution system ................................................................................... 91 Figure 6: Muhammadin's land, North Shamalan ................................................................................ 92 Figure 7: Drains in the Marja project area ........................................................................................ 101 Figure 8: Major Cross Border Routes).............................................................................................. 116 Figure 9: Components of the Afghanistan commodity program ...................................................... 119 Figure 10: Map showing the locations of existing and future ADSs ................................................ 126 Figure 11: Sketch map of bazaar ...................................................................................................... 139 Figure 12: Poppy cultivation areas in Afghaistan ............................................................................. 144 Figure 13: Afghanistan poppy cultivation in 2001 ........................................................................... 164 Figure 14: Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, 2004 .......................................................................... 165 Figure 15: Opium production in Afghanistan by province (mt), 2007 ............................................. 185 Figure 16: Security map and poppy cultivation change by province, 2006-2007 ............................ 185 Figure 17: Map of Alternative Livelihoods Program – Eastern Region ........................................... 222 Figure 18: IDEA-NEW’s area of operations .................................................................................... 233 Figure 19: Demonstration farm locations in the eastern region ........................................................ 237 Figure 20: Map of IDEA-NEW value chains as of September 2012 ................................................ 239   vii  List of Abbreviations  AD(L)P/E Alternative Development/Livelihoods Program - East AD(L)P/S Alternative Development/Livelihoods Program - South ADS Agricultural Development Scheme ADT Agricultural Development Training ASSP The Agriculture Sector Support Program AVIPA Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture BINL The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law-Enforcement CAS Commercial Agricultural Sales CBHAP The Cross Border Humanitarian Assistance Program CEP The Commodity Export Program CHDP The Central Helmand Drainage Project CJITF Combined Joint Interagency Task Force CPEF Central Poppy Eradication Force DAI Development Alternatives, Inc. DEA The Drug Enforcement Administration FOA The Foreign Operations Administration GLE Governor Led Eradication H(A)VA The Helmand (Arghandab) Valley Authority HVAS The Helmand Valley Advisory Service HVP The Helmand Valley Project IDEA-NEW Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives – North, East, and West ICA The International Cooperation Administration IOCC Interagency Operations and Coordination CEntre JPEL Joint Prioritized Effects List NACP The Narcotics Awareness and Control Project O/AID/REP Office of the Aid Representative for Afghanistan Affairs PPA Program, Planning, and Analysis PREU Poppy Reduction and Elimination Unit PRT Provincial Reconstruction Team PVO Private Voluntary Organization RADP Regional Agricultural Development Programs SLDP The Shamalan Land Development Project TCA The Technical Cooperation Administration TIMER Technology Innovations for Market-led Economic Rehabilitation UNDP The United Nations Development Program UNODC The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNTAM The United Nations Technical Assistant Mission USAID  The United States Agency for International Development USAID/Afghanistan The USAID mission to Afghanistan USOM The United States Operation Mission VITA Volunteers in Technical Assistance   viii  Acknowledgements  It would not have been possible for me to write this PhD dissertation without the support of a number of extraordinary people, whose time and effort shaped its content in some way, shape, or form.  Thank you to the group of current and former graduate students (in the Department of Geography at UBC unless otherwise noted) who have made my PhD such a wonderful experience. In no particular order, May Farrales, Jeff Whyte, Craig Jones, Paige Patchin, Rosemary Collard, Richard Nisa (Rutgers), Tom Howard, Sophie Webber, Andrew Shmuely, Jamie Doucette, Carolyn Prouse, Sarah Brown, Jessica Hallenbeck, Pablo Mendez, Michael Smith, Dawn Hoogeveen, Jon Luedee, Max Ritts, Sarah Przedpelska, Liz Lee, Oliver Belcher, Sara Koopman, and Justin Tse have all been especially valued friends and colleagues.   I have been fortunate to engage with three dedicated and engaged committee members in the Department of Geography at UBC. Throughout graduate school, Jim Glassman has consistently served as a fountain wisdom on everything from teaching to writing. Trevor Barnes’ wonderful critical insights have played such a crucial role in helping me find my own voice as a radical human geographer. And finally, I owe an incredibly large debt to my supervisor of over ten years, Derek Gregory. Through his tireless and enthusiastic support, Derek has always encouraged me to push the boundaries of my own research and intellectual growth. Brilliant and dependable, Derek models the kinds of research and teaching practices to which I aspire. It is an honour to have worked with these three people whom I trust and respect so much. I am looking forward to a lifetime of intellectual collaboration, of friendship, and of meetings at Cardero’s.  During my PhD candidacy, I am thankful to have met with a number of more senior geographers who have generously supported me and patiently entertained my questions. Again, in no particular order: Jo Sharp, Simon Reid-Henry, James Sidaway, Matthew Sparke, Steve Graham, and Laleh Khalili. And I am enormously grateful to Deb Cowen, Matt Farish, and Emily Gilbert for helping me find a post-graduate home at the University of Toronto.   ix  I also wish to thank my parents, who have supported me through my many years of education, both morally and financially, and my sister, for grudgingly reading over all of my term assignments for the past seven years.  The following institutions have provided financial assistance: the Liu Institute for Global Issues, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (the Canada Graduate Scholarship program), the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC, and UBC’s Department of Geography.  Finally, I wish to extend a very special thanks to Lisa. Your love and emotional support kept me going through the final years of the doctoral program. You played a huge role in my development and growth, both as a scholar and as a human being. When things got tough, you kept me focused and grounded; and when things were going well, you encouraged me to push myself and strive for more. I would not be where and who I am today without you, and for this, I am forever grateful. As my constant inspiration, as my teacher, as my best friend, and as the love of my life, you have shown me the world.   x  Dedication  To Lisa and Cowboy.  1  1 “Nothing will ever be the same again…”1  “When everyone is dead, the Great Game is finished. Not before”.  - Kim, Rudyard Kipling.  1.1  Slouching towards irrelevance  Shortly after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan was launched in the fall of 2001, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) quietly began to set the stage for its long-anticipated return to the Afghan theatre. USAID started thinking about “restarting” its development mission to war-torn Afghanistan – which had previously been suspended in the early 1990s pending a peaceful resolution to the bloody civil war that was threatening to tear post-Soviet Afghanistan to pieces – in late October, early November (Kingsley 25 November, 2012). By this point in time, the US military’s Northern Alliance proxies had wrested control over many key urban strongholds – including Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul – away from the beleaguered Taliban regime. The security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif, in particular, was stable enough to accommodate a preliminary scouting visit by Andrew Natsios, then the administrator of USAID (Kingsley 25 November, 2012). On the strength of this visit, Natsios decided to set in motion the process of officially reopening USAID’s development mission to Afghanistan. By mid-November, Natsios received the “thumbs up” from the State Department, the National Security Council, and the White House. Six weeks later, Natsios dispatched a small expeditionary force to Kabul, staffed by well-respected USAID officials, such as James Kunder.   The team was expected to hit the ground running. However, as Kunder (2003) noted in testimony before the House Committee on International Relations on 16 October, 2003, it rapidly became clear that Afghanistan was going to provide “one of the most complex reconstruction challenges the US government has encountered anywhere”. Afghanistan, Kunder (2003) reminded his audience, had been “one of the poorest places on the face of the earth” before the Soviets invaded in 1979. The following quarter-century of conflict and devastation had only exacerbated this state of affairs. What Kunder’s team found upon its arrival to Kabul was a “place where all                                                           1 (Khadra, 2002). 2  the trappings of a nation-state had been obliterated” (Kunder 2003). Kunder (2003) estimated that in 2003, the country remained “at or near the bottom of every socio-economic indicator used to measure human and economic progress”.  In Kunder’s testimony, Afghanistan appears as a nation-state, to paraphrase Yasmina Khadra (2002, 2), “in an advanced stage of decomposition”. In The Swallows of Kabul, Khadra (2002) evocatively describes Taliban-era Afghanistan as a land of “nothing but battlefields, expanses of sand, and cemeteries”, where “everything appears charred, fossilized, blasted by some unspeakable spell”. To the inhabitants of Taliban-era Afghanistan, it seemed “that the whole world was beginning to decay, and that its putrefaction [had] chosen to spread outward from here, from the land of the Pashtuns” (Khadra 2002, 2). Afghans had to be convinced that this process could be reversed; that the ousting of the Taliban would actually usher in a ‘bright, new tomorrow” (Khadra 2002, 2). Such was the primary responsibility of USAID’s new development mission to occupied Afghanistan.   In many ways, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan – itself a complicated affair, involving multiple lines of command and orders of battle2 – proved catalytic for USAID. As John Norris (2013) points out, “by September 10, 2001, [USAID]…was increasingly slouching toward irrelevance”. It was still recovering from its struggle to prevent a Republican-controlled Congress from folding it into the State Department. This mid-1990s crisis of institutional legitimacy was precipitated in large part by “deficit hawks” such as North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, who questioned the strategic necessity of maintaining a sizable autonomous US foreign assistance program in a post-Cold War world (Rezendes 1995). Helms and his supporters introduced the first of numerous “foreign-affairs reorganization bill[s]” in both the House of Representatives and the US Senate on 3 May, 1995 (Barber 1995).                                                             2 The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was carried out by two distinct, yet related, military forces, operating in tandem. On the one hand, the US led a multinational coalition force to Afghanistan, where it conducted combat operations against terrorists and insurgents under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). On the other hand, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established a parallel “International Security Assistance Force” (ISAF), tasked with providing security throughout the Afghan countryside. Many of the key players in the Afghan theatre – such as the US and the UK, to name the two most prominent examples – played an important role in both of these campaigns.   3  Although USAID weathered this legislative onslaught, its victory was pyrrhic. As Norris (2013) explains, Helms and his supporters may have failed to consolidate all of America’s foreign affairs agencies into the State Department, but they were successful at imposing massive budget cuts on USAID. In order to absorb these austerity measures, USAID cut its staffing levels by 29% over the next five years, crippling its ability to directly implement development programs in the process (Roberts 2014). Much of this development work was gradually outsourced to for-profit firms and non-governmental organizations. As a result, USAID was reduced to little more than a “contracting agency”, disconnected from “what’s happening on the ground” (Norris 2013; Roberts 2014).   For these reasons, executive and legislative confidence in USAID was, by 2001, at an all-time low. But 9/11 – and the “War on Terror” that followed – catalyzed a revitalization of USAID. The invasions and occupations of first Afghanistan, and subsequently Iraq, opened what Norris (2013) calls the “spigots of resources for the agency”. Alongside defence and diplomacy, development was now seen by Democrats and Republicans alike as one of the three pillars of the “war on terror” (Mawdsley 2007). In the introduction to his administration’s 2002 “National Security Strategy” (NSS), President George W. Bush pledged to use 9/11 as an opportunity to ‘bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world” (White House 2002). According to the Bush administration, the roots of terror and insecurity were to be found among “them”, not “us” (Gregory 2004). Working on the assumption that “poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states [like Afghanistan] vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders”, the Bush administration championed development as a non-violent pathway to security (White House 2002).  Such rhetoric, to be sure, traffics in many of the same imaginative geographies that buttress America’s global “War on Terror” and its accompanying “architectures of enmity” (Gregory 2004, 20). By representing the “West” and the “Orient” as the wellsprings of development and terrorism, respectively, the 2002 NSS powerfully designated a “familiar space which is ‘ours’ and an unfamiliar space beyond ‘ours’ which is ‘theirs’” (Said 1979, 54). Under the sign of such an imaginative geography, “‘their’ space [was]…seen as the inverse of ‘our’ space: a sort of negative, in the photographic sense that ‘they’ might ‘develop’ into something like ‘us’, but also 4  the site of an absence, because ‘they’ [were] seen somehow to lack the positive tonalities that supposedly distinguish ‘us’” (Gregory 2004, 17).   However, imaginative geographies – and the architectures of enmity they uphold – do not operate merely at the level of discourse. Rather, they always intervene in the world in profoundly material ways. As Derek Gregory (2004, 20) reminds us, they “inhabit dispositions and practices, investing them with meaning and legitimation, and so sharpen the spurs of action”. With the unveiling of the 2002 NSS, USAID found itself under increasing pressure to become more directly involved in America’s post-9/11 imperial misadventures in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The result was an increasing interconnection between development and security, or, what Mark Duffield (2010) calls a “development-security nexus”. From 2001 onwards, USAID was called on to help the US military pacify raging insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. By redressing basic socio-economic problems through development interventions, it was widely believed that USAID could help the US military “win” Iraqi and Afghan “hearts and minds”. Modern war could then be re-scripted and sold to Western publics as liberal, humane, and good (Gregory 2008).   For commentators like Norris, 9/11 functions as a watershed moment in the history of USAID. Before 9/11, USAID was “slouching towards irrelevance”. After 9/11, USAID was revitalized and rejuvenated. Tasked with overseeing the reconstruction of occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, USAID went from being Congress’ punching bag to receiving almost unflinching support from politicians on both sides of the aisle. By 2010, USAID’s budget had more than tripled from its pre-9/11 levels, ballooning from approximately $6 to $22 billion a year3. These resources were mobilized to help USAID rebuild its hollowed-out workforce. Between 2001 and 2012, USAID increased the size of its direct-hire staff from 2,077 to 3,466 (Norris 2013).   This is a seductively powerful narrative, but it is also fundamentally problematic, because it abstracts USAID’s increasing national security relevance in the post-9/11 period from a broader historical-geographical context. It achieves this by overselling the transformative capacity of                                                           3 Throughout this dissertation, dollar amounts are in USD, unless otherwise stated.  5  9/11. In the preface to The Colonial Present, Derek Gregory (2004, xiv-xv) calls on his readers to:   “resist those histories punctuated by sharp breaks from one period to another, with their homogenizing sense of Time – always in the singular – and those narratives that celebrate History – always with that imperial capital – as the unambiguous advance of Reason. History is always more complicated than that: always plural, always contested, and shot through with multiple temporalities and spatialities”.   Similarly, I argue that 9/11 did not mark an “epochal rupture” in USAID’s history. While the events of 9/11 undoubtedly spurred the regime in Washington to (re)discover the interconnections between development and security, in this dissertation, I show how USAID’s resurgence as an ambivalent practitioner of counterinsurgency has a “complex genealogy that [reaches] back into the colonial past” (Gregory 2004, 13). Following Walter Benjamin (1968, 261), this dissertation once again demonstrates the need for a conception of history “whose site is not homogenous, empty time, but time filled by the presence of the now”.   Tracking backwards and forwards from 9/11, this dissertation explores how USAID has long championed development as the key to securing the Afghan people from the threats posed by the forces of Cold War communism and contemporary Islamic extremism. Inasmuch as USAID has been forced to grapple with Afghanistan as an ongoing – and seemingly insurmountable – problem of development-security, the country served as a crucible where various techniques for pacifying restless populations have been developed, tested, and refined (McCoy 2009). Through an extended consideration of three case studies – the Helmand Valley Project (1946-1978), the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1980-1992), and the ongoing assault on the Afghan narco-economy (2001-present) – I trace the shifting contours of this development-security nexus over time and space.   Drawing on scholarship in post-colonial development studies, geo-political economy, and critical military geography, my own empirical research has been guided by four key questions:  6  1) How has development been practiced as a more humanitarian form of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan? 2) How has Afghanistan served as a laboratory of development theory and practice? 3) What new spaces have been produced through this entanglement of development and counterinsurgency? 4) And finally, are these new spaces productive or destructive of life?  Through these questions, I shine a spotlight on the interplay between violence and improvement that is inscribed in the workings of USAID’s various interventions in Afghanistan.  My dissertation advances three substantive claims. First, I show how USAID has historically attempted to transform Afghans into governable subjects through increasingly neoliberal forms of rural development. Second, I argue that these development practices were geographical. USAID assumed that the life-chances of rural Afghans could be improved by reconfiguring the spaces in which they lived and laboured. Third, while USAID framed these development practices as humane and therapeutic, I conclude that they were nonetheless undergirded by – and have provided a legitimating armature for – more destructive techniques of population management. Overall, my dissertation complicates conventional understandings of how restless populations are pacified by bringing into sharper focus the tensions and anxieties that animate USAID’s long history of trying to secure Afghanistan through development.  This introductory chapter lays out the theoretical and methodological framework for this dissertation. First, I argue that conventional, state-centric attempts to situate Afghanistan on a broader geopolitical chessboard have proven inadequate to the task of understanding USAID’s development interventions in the Afghan countryside. Second, I extend the academic literature on the development-security nexus by subjecting it to a geographical critique that triangulates the insights of postcolonialism, Marxism, and feminism. My aim here is twofold: to show how USAID has historically served as an arm of the American national-security state; and to theorize USAID’s development mission to Afghanistan as a form of governmental power that improves the lives of certain Afghans at the expense of others. Third, I detail the methodologies that I plan on mobilizing to answer my research questions. And finally, I outline the remaining chapters of this dissertation.  7  1.2 Playing the “Great Game”  It has by now become commonplace to speak of Afghanistan as a nation-state over which a so-called “Great Game” is being fought. The term is attributed to Captain Arthur Conolly, an officer of the British East India Company who, from 1823 to 1842, conducted a number of expeditions to Afghanistan. In a letter written to Major Henry Rawlinson, a newly appointed political agent based in Kandahar province, Conolly proclaimed: “You’ve a great game, a noble game before you”. In another passage, Conolly continued:   “if the British Government would only play the grand game, help Russia cordially to all that she has a right to expect – shake hands with Persia – get her all possible amends from Oosbergs – force the Bokhara Amir to be just to us, the Afghans, and the other Oosberg states, and his own kingdom – but why go on; you know my, at any rate in one sense, enlarged views. Inshallah! The expediency, nay, the necessity of them will be seen, and we shall play the noble part that the first Christian nations of the world ought to fill” (Brysac and Meyer 2006, 127).   According to the historian Malcolm Yapp (2001, 181), the meaning of Conolly’s letter was quite clear. Conolly “believed that Rawlinson, in his new post, had been given an opportunity to work for the regeneration or the advancement of the civilisation of Afghanistan” and it was therefore “a species of humanitarianism, not the frustration of the designs of Russia, which occupied Conolly’s thinking”.   The supposed “humanitarianism” of Conolly’s original formulation was lost in subsequent usages of the phrase. Not only was the geographical scope of the term extended to encompass Central Asia, its “noble, humanitarian associations” gradually gave way to an “uneasy adventurist quality similar to that which ‘imperialism’ was to possess in liberal formulations of the 1870s” (Yapp 2000, 182). This new meaning of the term was popularized in Rudyard Kipling’s novel, Kim. Kim tells the story of Kimball O’Hara – the orphaned son of an Irish soldier in the Indian army – who becomes entangled in a British Secret Service plot to foil a Russian attempt to fan the flames of insurgency in the northern regions of Punjab.    8  Kim has long provided grist for the mill of postcolonial literary critics, who have offered a number of different readings of the function that the concept of the “Great Game” serves in Kipling’s broader narrative. Edward Said (1994), for instance, posits the existence of two different “Great Games” in Kim, each one linked in its own way to a broader geopolitics of imperial counterinsurgency. On the one hand, there is the “precise political economy of control” that was championed by Kim’s commanding officer in the British Secret Service, Colonel Creighton, for whom the “greatest sin [was] ignorance”. According to Ian Baucom (1999), this particular “Great Game” was concerned primarily with mapping – or mathematizing – the Indian subcontinent. Over the course of the novel, Kim is gradually enlisted into this effort as an “imperial cartographer”. “Wherever he goes”, Baucom (1999, 93) argues, “he will at once extend the quadrant of colonial control and accelerate his own transformation into an imperial adding and measuring machine”. This was a fundamentally calculative enterprise, one that sought to “control the empire less by occupying it than by knowing it, classifying it, and rendering it visible” (Baucom 1999, 93; see also Richards 1993). Said juxtaposes Creighton’s totalizing cartographic ambitions with Kim’s inability to perceive the “Great Game” in all of its “complex patterns”. Instead, Kim enjoys intelligence service as a literal game from which he derives a certain boyish pleasure. What Said (1994, 138) distills from Kim, accordingly, is a theorization of the “Great Game” as “less like a story – linear, continuous, and temporal – and more like a playing field –many-dimensional, discontinuous, and spatial”.   These are complex and entangled arguments, a proper treatment of which is well beyond the scope of this dissertation. Baucom (1999), in particular, seeks to complicate Said’s – and Richard’s – reading of Kim “as a minor specimen of the tragic” by drawing attention to the profound fragility and anxiety of Colonel Creighton’s “precise political economy of control”: which, for Baucom, actually arises from the latter’s dependence on the pleasurable, immersive experiences foregrounded by Said (1994). Such anxieties, however, were lost on imperial officers such as Lord Curzon, later Viceroy of India, who sought to up-scale Creighton’s “precise political economy of control” to entire geographical regions. As he famously put it:  “Turkestan, Afghanistan, Transcaspia, Persia – to many, these words breathe only a sense of utter remoteness, or a memory of strange vicissitudes and of moribund romance. To me, I confress, 9  they are pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for the domination of the world” (Gregory 2004, 31).  While this was, as Gregory (2004, 31) notes, an “extraordinarily instrumental view of a land and its peoples”, it nonetheless provides an “accurate summary” of how the late 19th and early 20th century “geopolitical maneuverings” of imperial Britain and Russia “shaped the formation of the modern state of Afghanistan – a ‘purely accidental’ territory, Curzon called it – out of the shards of rival tribal fiefdoms and ethnic loyalties”.   Throughout the 20th century, Afghanistan continued to serve as a “playing field” upon which broader geopolitical struggles for power took place. This was particularly true of the Cold War that was waged between the US and the Soviet Union. Although this Cold War “Great Game” initially manifested itself in Afghanistan in the form of foreign assistance, technicians, and massive modernization projects (see Chapter 2), it eventually intensified into a full blown proxy war (see Chapter 3). Over time, Afghanistan was fundamentally transformed by the role that it was recruited to play during this Cold War “Great Game”. As Charles Hirschkind and Saba Mahmood (2002, 347) write: “The vast dissemination of arms, military training, the creation of a thriving drug trade with its attendant criminal activity, and all of this in circumstances of desperate poverty, has had a radical impact on the conditions of moral and political action for the people in the region” (Hirschkind and Mahmood 2002, 347).   It is also widely argued that the end of the Cold War did not bring the “Great Game” to a close, but rather, fundamentally transformed it. Gregory (2004, 45) suggests that the post-Cold War period witnessed the emergence of a “new ‘Great Game’ in which the stakes were those of political economy rather than ideology”. Gregory’s claim is exemplified by the late-20th century writings of Zbigniew Brzezinski (1997), who prophesied that Eurasia – with a particular emphasis on the Central Asian republics, including Afghanistan – would remain the “grand chessboard” upon which geopolitical and geoeconomic struggles for global primacy would be played. Similarly, Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid (2008, 30) argue that despite a century of geopolitical machinations, the “[Great Game] continues”: except now, “the number of players has exploded, those living on the chessboard have become involved, and the intensity of the violence and the threats it produces affect the entire globe”.  10   The persistence of this “Great Game” heuristic into the 21st century is important because it continues to license narrowly state-centric understandings of Afghanistan and its people. Here, the work of Barnett Rubin is particularly instructive. Rubin (1995) theorizes late 19th and early 20th century Afghanistan as a classic buffer state (see also Bayly 2014). Established as a modern nation-state in the aftermath of the two Anglo-Afghan wars, its geopolitical purpose was to separate – and by extension, secure – the territories controlled by the British and Russian empires. To ensure the stability of the Afghan nation-state, Britain supplied its local proxy – the Amir Abdul Rahman Khan – with the cash and weapons required to pacify any potential threats to this established order of things. Under the terms of this agreement, Khan was required to hand over control of Afghanistan’s foreign policy to his British benefactors. Otherwise, Khan was mostly left to his own devices.   Although Afghanistan remained a buffer state for most of the 20th century, the terms of its engagement with foreign superpowers shifted over time. During the 1950s, for instance, Afghanistan’s Prime Minister Daud leveraged the country’s geostrategic importance to extract increasing levels of foreign assistance from both the US and the USSR. Afghanistan, in Rubin’s (1992, 78) estimation, “became a sort of rentier or ‘allocation’ state, deriving over 40 percent of its revenue in every year since 1957 from ‘revenue accruing directly from abroad’”. These revenues, in turn, “made it possible for the state leadership to expand the apparatus under its control without bargaining with or being accountable to its citizens, who were not called upon to finance the state’s expansion with taxes derived from their own productive activity” (Rubin 1992, 78).   As the Cold War entered its twilight, however, Afghanistan gradually lost its importance as a buffer between Soviet and American interests. After the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, the US and the Soviet Union opened up lines of communication in an attempt to peacefully resolve a number of outstanding conflicts, including the proxy war in Afghanistan. As a result of these efforts, both the US and the Soviet Union agreed to help the United Nations transition Afghanistan away from Communist rule by brokering a cease-fire, ending the supply of arms to both sides, establishing an interim government, and engaging in reconstruction (Rubin 2013).  11   Unfortunately, this plan never came to fruition. Instead, the insurgency against the Soviet client regime in Kabul escalated into a full-blown civil war. As Afghanistan descended into violence and anarchy, it began to take on characteristics typically associated with “failed” states (Rubin 1995). Such states are not only deemed to be incapable of meeting the basic needs of their citizens, but are also seen as sources of regional insecurity and, by extension, as threats to the international community. When the Taliban seized power in 1996, it was widely hoped that they would exert a stabilizing influence on the political climate in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Taliban chose not to build on inherited public institutions, and instead, strengthened certain elements of the state – specifically, its security and commercial components – while deliberately neglecting or side-stepping others. Thus, while Taliban-controlled Afghanistan could no longer be described as a “failed state”, it remained an “internally ruthless, totalitarian political entity, linked to a transnational shadow economy”, as well as “opposition and terrorist groups on a region-wide basis, including al-Qaeda” (Duffield 2007, 155). It had become, in other words, a “rogue state”.   Grand narratives of this sort – where one Great Game dissolves into another – are powerfully seductive, but as Gregory (2004) reminds us, they obscure as much as they reveal. As I have shown, the protagonists of such narratives are invariably states (and state actors). Lost from view are the “multiple, conditional, but none the less powerful agency of those whose destinies these foreign players sought to manipulate” (Gregory 2004, 45; see also Bayly 2014). To paraphrase Ann Stoler and David Bond (2006, 95), what is striking about much of the state-centric work that aims to situate Afghanistan on a global geopolitical chessboard is that it foregrounds the “macroscales of policy and strategy, security and design” while nonetheless remaining “unmoored to micromovements of peoples who are subject and scarred, beholden to and invested in these empires on the ground”. They tell us remarkably little about how such broader scale geopolitical machinations have historically “exerted an insistent presence” on the “intimate social ecologies” of the Afghan people; about how “structured imperial predicaments” at the macro scale manifest themselves in the intimate micromanagement of Afghan life (Stoler and Bond 2006, 93).   12  The shortcomings of such state-centric narratives were rendered visible for all to see as Operation Enduring Freedom ran its course. Initially, Operation Enduring Freedom was enabled through a series of geographical maneuvers that sought to fix the rhizomatic and capillary networks of transnational terrorism in which al-Qaeda was involved within the ostensibly bounded and coherent space of the Afghan nation-state (Gregory 2004). The objective of this exercise was to demonstrate that al-Qaeda could be defeated by conventional forms of military violence: specifically, the kind of high-technology, just-in-time warfare that was the end-result of the US military’s so-called “Revolution in Military Affairs” (Gregory 2004, 2010; see also Bell and Evans 2010). Although such “virtuous” forms of modern warfare initially served as the “operative dogma” of the global War on Terror, the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have “proven to be irresolvable through military dominance and technology savvy” (Bell 2011, 315; Der Derian 2009). The Bush administration thought that it could win the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq by simply “smoking” the terrorists out of their “holes” (Bell 2011, 315). What resulted instead was a “complex emergency”, characterised by widespread corruption, mounting violence, and a looming humanitarian catastrophe (Bell 2011, 315). As Colleen Bell (2011, 316) argues, “the very method that was expected to crush an insurgency actually helped to proliferate it”, exposing “not just the limits of superior firepower, but the inapplicability of the whole model of conventional warfare to concluding conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan”.   In order to combat these raging insurgencies, the US military required a doctrinal alternative to the Revolution in Military Affairs. The first indication of what this alternative might look like was signalled by the Department of Defense’s publication of Directive 3000.05 on 28 November, 2005. The Directive was noteworthy for mandating that so-called “stability operations” be “given priority comparable to combat operations and be explicitly addressed and integrated across all DoD activities, including doctrine, organizations, training, education, exercises, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and planning” (DoD 2005, 2). As Jennifer Morrison Taw (2010, 2012) points out, the Directive offered a very vague and all-encompassing definition of stability operations as any civilian or military intervention undertaken during times of peace or conflict to help establish and maintain the particular forms of order that are essential to advancing US interests and values across the globe. In the short term, stability operations conducted under conditions of conflict, emergency, and state failure would strive to secure local 13  populations, restore their access to basic services, and address pressing humanitarian needs. As envisioned by Directive 3000.05, however, the end-state goal of stability operations would be to “help develop indigenous capacity for securing essential services, a viable market economy, rule of law, democratic institutions, and a robust civil society” (DoD 2005, 2). While the DoD recognized that these were tasks that had traditionally been performed by non-military actors, it nonetheless justified Directive 3000.05 on the grounds that civilian institutions were at best, ill-suited to, and at worst, incapable of intervening effectively in environments wracked by violence and insecurity. It was therefore incumbent on the US military to seize the initiative and begin the difficult task of conducting preliminary stability operations in these so-called “non-permissive environments”. The expectation was that these initial interventions would eventually result in the creation and expansion of a “security bubble” in the theater of operations, thereby making it possible for the US military to cede many of its stabilization responsibilities to civilian actors and institutions.   Directive 3000.05 did not introduce the concept of stability operations to US military doctrine. Rather, the genealogy of stability operations stretches back to the earliest moments of American settler colonialism and imperialism. It is by now widely accepted that the US military has, throughout its long and bloody history, accumulated more experience in conducting stability operations than in waging conventional campaigns (Taw 2010, 2012). The US military has participated in a number of domestic and foreign conflicts – including the so-called “Indian Wars”, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the colonization of the Philippines, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, to name only a few examples – that, in one way or another, have served it as crucibles of counterinsurgency and stability operations (McCoy 2009). What has nonetheless remained constant throughout this long stretch of history is the US military’s continued obsession with both preserving and enhancing its ability to wage conventional forms of intra-state warfare. Stability operations, in other words, have historically taken a back seat to conventional ones.   In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, the situation began to shift. No longer constrained by a Manichean strategic vision that divided the world into two opposing geopolitical blocs led by nuclear-equipped superpowers, the US military gradually began to reconsider both its role in 14  the world more generally, as well as its historical approach to stability operations in particular. This new culture of experimentation was catalyzed in part by key figures in the Clinton Administration, such as the Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who “increasingly turned to the US military as a tool of foreign policy, broadening the scope of operations for which US troops were deployed, as well as deploying them much more frequently” (Taw 2010, 393). These policymakers believed that the US, as the world’s preeminent superpower, had a moral responsibility to spearhead the effort to protect human rights, promote democracy, pre-empt war, and resolve conflicts around the globe. The US military was uniquely qualified for this role because “there was no other organization that could be so readily deployed and sustained, that was so organized and efficient, that had such flexibility, and that could undertake such a wide range of missions, simultaneously, when necessary” (Taw 2010, 393). As a consequence, the US military found itself engaging in more stability operations than ever before. Between 1992 and 1998, it conducted 26 stability operations: 16 more than it had conducted in the period spanning 1960 to 1991 (Morrison Taw 2010, 393).   This uptick in in the number of stability operations being conducted by the US military was controversial. While “progressive” soldiers represented stability operations as the way of the future, their “traditionalist” colleagues argued that the US military’s ability to wage conventional warfare was being compromised (Taw 2010, 2012). In spite of these fundamental differences in opinion, both camps nonetheless understood stability operations as comprising a suite of activities and interventions that were “other than war”. What both camps shared, therefore, was an unwillingness to consider the planning, training for, and execution of stability operations as integral to the US military’s core mission of waging war. Given this particular context, it is unsurprising that it was the Revolution in Military Affairs – and not stability operations – that emerged as the dominant American approach to war-fighting at the end of the 20th century (Ryan 2014; Taw 2010, 2012). Instead of embracing the “personnel heavy, confusing slogging efforts that, with the exception of the Gulf War, had typified US deployments since the end of the Cold War, with civilians clogging the area of operations, mission creep, and ever changing end-states”, the US military instead opted for a “view of warfare as sleek, fast-paced, space-age combat between highly-trained, tech-laden professional soldiers and airmen” (Taw 2010, 395). Unfortunately for the US military, the mainstreaming of the Revolution in Military Affairs did 15  little to diffuse the tensions between the traditionalists and the progressives. Once it became apparent that the Revolution in Military Affairs was not delivering results in either Iraq or Afghanistan, the progressives seized their chance to offer up stability operations as an alternative model for countering insurgencies, resulting in the publication of Directive 3000.05. According to Taw (2010, 2012), Directive 3000.05 was revolutionary for two reasons. First, at no other time in the history of US military doctrine had stability operations been accorded a strategic and tactical value equal to that of offense and defense. Taw (2010, 388) describes this decision as the “armed forces’ most fundamental adjustment since the establishment of the Department of Defense in 1947, arguably more foundational than the 1987 Goldwater-Nichols reorganization”. Furthermore, the US military’s elevation of stability operations to a primary mission signalled an expansion of its mandate to include peacetime interventions. In recent years, commentators such as Taw (2012) and Jan Bachmann (2014) have pointed to a gradual militarization of peacetime – or Phase Zero – operations as a cause for concern. The publication of Directive 3000.05, therefore, not only legitimized a blurring of war and not-war, but also made it difficult to determine, to borrow Derek Gregory’s (2011, 248) turn of phrase, “where the battlespace begins and ends”. It effectively broadened, in other words, both the temporal and the geographical scope of military operations (for a discussion of war as “permanent”, “unending” or “everywhere”, see Duffield 2007; Gregory 2011; RETORT 2006).   By elevating stability operations to the status of offense and defense, Directive 3000.05 also opened the door for the US military to assert its dominance across the full spectrum of war and conflict. According to John Morrissey (2015), the US military began to conceive of offense, defense, stability, and civil support not as separate elements of any given overseas mission, but rather, as the four interconnected pillars of an overarching rubric for intervention that was termed “full spectrum operations”. The concept of “full spectrum operations” was meant to serve as a blueprint for constructing an “ambitious US global forward presence that promises not only neoliberal correction for some of the world’s most volatile yet economically pivotal spaces, but correction for the forms of liberal ‘underdevelopment’ seen as a threat to the ‘Western way of life’” (Morrissey 2015, 610). The US military envisioned this forward presence being advanced in concert with civilian institutions and actors. Accordingly, the US military worked alongside the State Department and USAID to establish a number of institutional mechanisms for 16  transforming this vision of interagency cooperation into reality. While Morrissey (2015, 613) acknowledges that the “gestation of ‘full spectrum operations’ goes back a long way in the US military”, he traces the origins of its most “modern day orientation” to August 2004. This was when the US military, frustrated by the difficulties of achieving political and economic stability in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, came together with the State Department to establish an Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). Housed in the State Department, the core mission of S/CRS was to “lead, coordinate, and institutionalize US Government civilian capacity to prevent or prepare for post-conflict situations, and to help stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict or civil strife, so they can reach a sustainable path toward peace, democracy, and a market economy” (Morrissey 2015, 613). On account of its institutional linkages with the State Department, USAID was also enrolled in this broader interagency effort. In 2005, USAID’s director, Andrew Natsios, testified to Congress that he had recently redefined the agency’s core missions in order to align them better with the new “whole of government effort to promote stabilization operations” (Ryan 2014, 52). USAID’s new stabilization-friendly missions included: “the promotion of transformational development (including building indigenous capacity for health care, education, and social and economic progress); strengthening fragile states; providing humanitarian relief; supporting geopolitical interests (‘through development work in countries of high-strategic importance’); and addressing global issues (including combating criminal activities, such as money laundering and trafficking in persons and narcotics)” (Ryan 2014, 52).   So far, we have seen how proponents of stability – and by extension, full-spectrum – operations and the Revolution in Military Affairs advanced competing visions of how the US military should pre-empt and neutralize threats to America’s national security in the post-Cold War world. It would nonetheless be a mistake to understand this competition between the progressives and the traditionalists as zero sum. In fact, as implemented under the sign of full-spectrum thinking, stabilization activities were meant to complement the forms of high-technology warfare that have become the hallmark of the Revolution in Military Affairs. This complementarity was constantly stressed in military doctrine, which, according to Morrissey (2015, 615), “envisage[d] ‘full spectrum operations’ as a historic and revolutionary shift from an ‘either or’ view of non-lethal actions with combat operations to an inclusive doctrine that 17  emphasizes the essentiality of nonlethal actions with combat actions”. Morrissey’s (2015) claims are corroborated by Bachmann’s (2014, 131) critique of how the US military “polices” Africa, where he demonstrates that “killing terrorists and the refurbishment of schools are not in disagreement, but serve in their synthesis of welfare and coercion the same objective of social ordering through the concept of stabilization”. Furthermore, even staunch advocates of the Revolution in Military Affairs – including Donald Rumsfeld – acknowledged that it was essential for the US military to become proficient at conducting stability operations and waging irregular warfare if it wanted to have any hope at winning the global war on terror (Ryan 2014).  Stability operations doctrine not only complemented the Revolution in Military Affairs, but also shared its highly state-centric framings of the global war on terror. According to both Louise Moe (2016) and Bachmann (2014), stability operations are often executed in a “top-down” manner that prioritizes the ordering of fragile states, rather than domestic populations. One of the core assumptions of the US military’s stability operations doctrine is that states are the only legitimate sources of security. The implication here is that the institutions and structures of fragile states must be normalized before violence can be decreased. The extent to which state normalization has occurred, therefore, becomes the “fundamental measure of success in conflict transformation” (Department of the Army 2008, 2-12). What stability operations doctrine cannot account for, however, are the ways in which post-conflict state structures are often captured by forces whose relationships with local populations are highly antagonistic. This was precisely what happened during the US occupation of Afghanistan. As Mike Martin (2014) and Jonathan Goodhand (2000, 2004, 2005, 2009) have shown, one of the consequences of the occupation was to populate the Afghan state apparatus with unpopular warlords and tribal leaders who had previously been ousted by the Taliban due to their tendency to predate on local communities. Unsurprisingly, this compromised state apparatus went on to serve as a source of instability and insecurity in the countryside.  As the challenges confronting the occupying forces in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified from the mid-2000s onwards, it rapidly became clear to the US military that a top-down, state-centric approach to stabilization was inadequate to the task of “winning the hearts and minds” of local populations. In order to combat the insurgencies raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military 18  partook in a “rush to the intimate”, spurred in part by the revision of its “Counterinsurgency Field Manual” (FM 3-24) in December 2006 (Gregory 2008; Stoler and Bond 2006). From this point forward, the “operative dogma” of the broader War on Terror gradually shifted from conventional, enemy-centric forms of counterterrorism to culture- or population-centric modalities of counterinsurgency. What the US military rediscovered, in effect, was the kind of intimate, lived, and “all-enclosing” version of the “Great Game” that emerges out of Said’s (1993, 139) reading of Kim. Intimately familiar with the “local colors” and the “exotic details” of the populations amongst which they conducted counterinsurgency, colonial agents such as Kimball O’Hara served as one of the templates upon which the US military’s new culturally-informed “warrior intellectuals” – Thomas Ricks’ (2007) terminology – was modeled4.   Most genealogies of 21st century counterinsurgency argue that the US military first rediscovered population-centric warfare in Iraq, and not Afghanistan. It is widely assumed that FM 3-24 was revised in response to the deteriorating situation in Iraq. FM 3-24’s insights were subsequently stress-tested and refined in Iraq, which served the US military as a crucible of counterinsurgency thinking and practice (Gregory 2008a; McCoy 2009). Inspired by counterinsurgency’s “successes” in Iraq, the US military then imported it to Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration’s 2009 “surge” in troops (Chandrasekaran 2012).   The mainstreaming of counterinsurgency thinking in Afghanistan, in turn, precipitated a gradual shift in how it was framed as an object of power/knowledge. While talk of a new “Great Game” in Afghanistan continued to persist, another current of thought began to gain popularity amongst academics and policymakers alike. No longer was Afghanistan understood as a state that needed to be situated on a broader geopolitical chessboard. Nor was it exclusively represented as a failed or fragile state that needed to be “stabilized” through the prosecution of full spectrum operations. Instead, it became increasingly commonplace to speak of Afghanistan as an amalgamation of different populations that needed to be known and rendered legible before they could be governed and managed. The scale of analysis therefore shifted from the macroscale of                                                           4 Thomas Ricks himself was reportedly a huge fan of Kipling. When NPR asked him to recommend a number of “books that will help you understand Afghanistan”, it is no coincidence that one of his choices was another one of Kipling’s short stories, The Head of the District (NPR 2009). 19  geopolitics and state relations to that of the intimate, the village, the household, and the community (see also Cullather 2006). State-centric thinking, to put it differently, was deemed inimical to population-centric counterinsurgency.   This narrative, however, glosses over how Afghanistan served as a crucible of population-centric counterinsurgency long before 2009 – albeit one that has been conducted by civilian, rather than military actors. Counterinsurgency’s linkages to “traditionally civilian” forms of international engagement – such as development or humanitarianism – have been well documented (Bell 2011, 311). According to Bell (2011, 325), what is particularly unique about the US military’s revised counterinsurgency doctrine is that it “reformulates the objective of war from defeating of one’s enemies to securing a population, strategizing power to the level of society, and deepening links between military aims and civilian modes of intervention”. Although Bell (2011) usefully calls on her readers to consider how counterinsurgency entails a “restrategization of war through the civil realm” – to borrow Lisa Bhungalia’s (2015, 2312) wonderful turn of phrase – it is important to remember that this process is always anxious and incomplete. Although Bell (2011, 325-6) claims that traditional “enemy-centric” forms of warfare have increasingly been subordinated to “governance and reform”, all available empirical evidence suggests that killing remains of central importance to counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. Bell’s (2011, 325-6) eagerness to show how counterinsurgency builds on – instead of merely co-opting – development theories and practices ensures that military actors remain the primary protagonists of her study. While civilians are represented as a source of counterinsurgency knowledge and expertise, they are not seen as practitioners in their own right.  Bell is not the only scholar to focus their attention on the counterinsurgency practices of military actors. Patricia Owens’ (2015) recent investigation of how counterinsurgency manifests itself as armed social work in Afghanistan similarly occludes the role that civilian actors play in the effort to pacify rural populations. In contrast with Bell and Owens, I argue that the US military’s recent turn towards population- or culture-centric counterinsurgency in Afghanistan cannot be understood in isolation from USAID’s long history of trying to secure rural Afghans through development. These efforts are both related to, yet also fundamentally distinct from USAID’s enrollment in stability and full-spectrum operations. All too often, there has been a tendency in 20  the academic literature, as well as amongst policy makers, to conflate stability operations with both development and counterinsurgency. One common critique of stability operations that has been most forcefully advanced by Roger MacGinty (2012) is that they often take the form of “control-oriented” programs that are designed to address the short-term objectives of their military implementers, rather than the long-term felt needs of their ostensible beneficiaries. As we shall see in the next section of this chapter, academics who research the interconnections between development and security similarly theorize development as a conservative and control-oriented form of counterinsurgency that seeks to fix and contain the “underdeveloped” in place, both physically and socially (Duffield 2007). Christian Dennys (2012), however, argues that it is problematic to conflate development and stability operations in this manner. According to Dennys (2012, 7), ideal type development programs seek to “emancipate communities, broaden the horizons of a new generation, and allow people to live healthier and more productive lives”. In this sense, they prioritize change and transformation over stabilization and control. This is not to imply that development programs are always successful at unleashing transformative forces that are productive and beneficial. As Dennys (2012, 8) writes, “if they alter social and political dynamics too fast, they can lead to a backlash by conservative groups, or unrealistically increase expectations, leading to frustrations which can become violent”5. Regardless of whether the forces unleashed by development programming are productive or destructive, however, Dennys basic point is that they are not inherently stabilizing, and hence, should not be understood as such.   While Dennys is critical of the tendency to conflate stabilization and development, one might argue that he is guilty of a similar discursive maneuver. In Dennys eyes, counterinsurgency and development share a similar end-state goal: namely, the total transformation – or refashioning – of the target population or society. While this may be true of some counterinsurgency operations, it is less so for others. Much of the existing scholarship on counterinsurgency operations, in fact, suggests that they are often conducted in ways that exploit and reproduce certain existing social, cultural, political, and economic formations (Belcher 2014; Gregory 2008a; Owens 2015). While Dennys never arrives at a more nuanced understanding of counterinsurgency that accounts for its                                                           5 Very similar claims have been made by Vinay Gidwani (2008), whose study of agricultural development in Gujarat emphasizes developments power to surprise, to destabilize, and to incite violence and aggression.  21  different varieties – limited, full-spectrum, enemy-centric, population-centric, etc. – his theorization of development as a transformative and potentially destabilizing change process is worthy of further critical scrutiny. As we shall see in the next section of this chapter, USAID has, ever since its inception in 1961, sought to foster change and spur transformation in the so-called “developing” world. USAID, however, was not necessarily “aiming for standards of living”, to paraphrase one of its first administrators (Norris 2014). Instead, its target was the poor themselves. Through rural development interventions, USAID hoped to inculcate within the poor a burning desire for self-emancipation, self-actualization, and self-improvement.   1.3 USAID and the national security state  It is often suggested that the immediate post-Cold War period has been marked by a merging of development and security. According to Mark Duffield (2001), the emergence of such a “development-security nexus” was largely spurred by fundamental shifts in the contours of modern war. The phenomenon of modern globalization, Zygmunt Bauman (2001, 14) tells us, has induced a new type of war (see also Mbembe 2003). Whereas older forms of conflict were animated by traditional geopolitical concerns – primarily, territorial security – Bauman’s “globalization-induced wars” stem from conditions of chronic poverty, widespread inequality, and state failure. These “new” or “21st century wars” are waged in the “global borderlands”: peripheral spaces where many metropolitan actors and agencies believe that “characteristics of brutality, excess, and breakdown predominate” (Duffield 2001a, 309; Kaldor 2013; Munkler 2005). Their protagonists are not “professional armies”, but rather, a “volatile mix of para-state and non-state actors, including militias and guerrilla forces, whose alliances and allegiances are notoriously unstable” (Gregory 2010, 166). Heavily reliant upon the informal and criminal circuits of shadow globalization for sustenance, these “new wars” are often disavowed by metropolitan powers as “illegitimate” (Jung 2003). In contrast with the “virtuous” or “liberal” forms of high-technology violence being perfected by Western militaries – which were discussed in the previous section of this chapter – the “new wars” plaguing the “global borderlands” are said to lack ideas, ideals, interests, definite goals, or purposes (Der Derian 2009; Bell and Evans 2010; Evans 2010, 2011; Gregory 2010)6. Instead of killing to make life live, the “new wars” are                                                           6 For a highly useful comparison of these “two sorts of ‘new war’”, see Gregory (2010).  22  “waged for [their] own sake, and nourish those who wage [them]” (Dillon and Reid 2009; Gregory 2010, 167).   Many social scientists have been quite critical of the “new wars” thesis. Helen Dexter (2007), for instance, argues that Kaldor (2013) and Munkler’s (2005) re-discovery of the “new wars” is undergirded by Eurocentric assumptions about what constitutes “war” in the first place. One can theorize the “low-intensity conflicts” of the late 20th century as “new” only by discounting the “hot” conflicts that erupted in Cold War Algeria, Vietnam, Malaya, or Afghanistan – to name only a few examples – as something other than conventional forms of warfare. As Dexter (2007, 1062) points out, this narrative of novelty provides a “legitimizing discourse for contemporary strategic violence”. Specifically, it mobilizes an imaginative geography that distinguishes “our” wars – civilized and legal forms of policing that target only combatants – from “their” wars – barbaric and criminal moments of brutal violence that invariably result in the ethnic cleansing of civilian populations. In so doing, the “new wars” thesis “does not simply describe, but also invokes a powerful moral order” that enables the West to cloak its violence in the supposedly neutral language of policing (Dexter 2007, 1069).   Building on Dexter (2007, 1062), I argue that the “new wars” thesis does not merely validate a “military response when this might otherwise be difficult”, but has also “become the new ideological template” for the “current international security [regime]” within which USAID is ensconced (Chandler 2007, 484). Given the widespread – and highly problematic – understanding that “new wars” have recently flourished in dangerous conditions of underdevelopment, it is hardly surprising that conflict and violence have increasingly become “central concern[s]” within mainstream development theory and practice (Duffield 2001, 1). In order to ensure that “development and stability” prevail in the “global borderlands”, international organizations such as USAID are expected to be “aware of conflict and its effects and, where possible, gear their work towards conflict resolution and helping to rebuild war-torn societies in a way that will avert future violence” (Duffield 2001, 1). In this way, war and security are increasingly being incorporated into development theory, discourse, and practice (and vice versa). Duffield (2001, 2) analyses this “shift in aid policy towards conflict resolution and societal reconstruction” not “merely as a technical system of support and assistance, but as part 23  of an emerging system of global [liberal] governance”. Polyarchical, non-territorial, and networked, this “new” development-security nexus brings together governments, non-governmental organizations, military institutions, and private companies in order to effect a radical agenda of societal transformation in the global borderlands (Duffield 2001).  Although Duffield (2010, 54-5) acknowledges that development has served as a “technology of security” since the “dawn of industrial capitalism”, he nonetheless identifies two factors that are supposedly novel to the current post-Cold War conjuncture. First, the development-security nexus has played an increasingly central role in the global effort to constrain the ability of the poor and the marginalized to move and circulate. Second, the focus of the development-security nexus has shifted from states to their inhabitants. Duffield (2010, 55) argues that the “nature and implications of [this] contemporary development security nexus” can only be understood if “development and underdevelopment are reconceived biopolitically”. Drawing inspiration from Foucault’s (1988, 2003) work on biopolitics, Duffield tracks how aid policy is now focused on supporting, maintaining, and enhancing the life-chances of populations and communities abroad. Development practitioners, in particular, have become obsessed with determining the minimum level of need that must be fulfilled so that people can live.   Duffield situates this biopolitical turn in development theory and practice within a broader context of political economy. He considers it no coincidence that the threat posed by “underdevelopment” intensified – rather than dissipated – during the immediate post-Cold War period. Having totally exhausted all “viable systemic alternatives”, neoliberal capitalism became free to indulge its basic drive to exploit fresh opportunities for accumulation in the global borderlands through further rounds of enclosure and dispossession. In the process, it constantly evoked a “surplus population – that is, a population whose skills, status, or even existence are in excess of prevailing conditions and requirements” (Duffield 2007, 9). Confronted thusly by the global proliferation of such irrelevant and dangerous forms of life, the purpose of development increasingly became twofold. On the one hand, development was tasked with helping such populations achieve a state of sustainable homeostasis or self-reliance. On the other hand, development subjected these populations to a comprehensive spatial politics of containment that 24  maintained – rather than reduced – the destabilizing “life chance divide” that continues to bifurcate the “developed” world from its “underdeveloped” other (Duffield 2010, 57).  Duffield’s work has proved enormously influential amongst social scientists. The development-security nexus concept has been taken up, expanded upon, and reconfigured by a growing number of writers (Chandler 2007; Pupavac 2005; Stern and Ojendal 2010). If Marcus Power (2010) is to be believed, human geographers have been slower on the uptake. In Power’s (2010, 435) estimation, “the study of ‘development’ in Geography has conventionally been kept apart from other sub-disciplines like political or economic geography by a well-established division of labour which casts an engagement with the geographies of the non-Western world as ‘area studies’ or constructs development as a technical or managerialist domain, shorn of all politics”. Without a doubt, the field of critical development geography has, over the course of its long intellectual history, been much less parochial than Power seems willing to acknowledge. In recent years, however, there has been a noticeable upswing in the number of critical geographers who have been making important contributions to the study of the development-security nexus. Generally, their contributions have fallen into one of two categories. Critical geographers have excelled at shining a spotlight on the geopolitical discourses that legitimize the ongoing securitization of development (Mawdsley 2007; Mohan and Power 2010; Sharp 2013; Sharp et al. 2010, 2011; Slater 1993). They have also mapped the spatial practices that give the development-security nexus its concrete form (Fluri 2011; Lopez 2015; Reid-Henry 2011, 2013).   Until recently, this emerging body of geographical scholarship was largely silent on USAID’s entanglement in such spatial configurations of development power, knowledge, and practice. Geographers such as Jamey Essex (2013) and Lisa Bhungalia (2015), however, are beginning to explore the central role that USAID plays in safeguarding America’s national security interests abroad. From their work, I tease out two claims that will be critical for this dissertation. The first is that USAID came into existence as an arm of the American national security state. The second is that USAID has consequently become directly embroiled in major counterinsurgency campaigns, both during the Cold War, and in the colonial present. In what follows, I will flesh out these two claims by triangulating Essex and Bhungalia’s work with my own empirical research.  25   Essex (2013) traces the origins of USAID back to the ruins of the Second World War. Physically and economically devastated by approximately six years of “total” war, Europe called on the international community to help with the rebuilding efforts. On 2 April, 1948, the United States established the “Economic Cooperation Act” – more commonly known as the Marshall Plan – which assumed responsibility for stabilizing Europe, “not as a permanent program”, but rather, as an “emergency tool of assistance” (USAID 2002). The outlines of the Marshall Plan were first sketched out by President Truman’s Secretary of State, George Marshall, at Harvard University on 5 June, 1947. According to Marshall, it was only “logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace” (Marshall 1947). Although Marshall claimed that his Plan was “directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos”, in practice, it was undergirded by the logics of “mechanistic” anti-communism (Gibson 1986). Tellingly, Marshall envisioned its purpose as “the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist”. It is no coincidence that Marshall articulated his Plan only three months after President Truman called on Congress to “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation” by the forces of global Communism (Truman 1947). Marxists such as Jacques Charrière were also quick to criticize the Marshall Plan for having “no other fundamental principle than political goals, to the extent that this imperialist power considers its political security is placed in danger through the existence of too miserable populations” (qtd. in Judd 1948).  Although the Marshall Plan was an emergency measure, its consequences were long lasting. According to Essex (2013, 29-30), the Plan “shaped and enacted geopolitical and geoeconomic discourses that laid foundational components for American policy and strategy through the first three decades of the Cold War and that also helped shape the establishment and conduct of USAID as an institution”. These discourses, in turn, “envisioned national and global versions of sociospatial order predicated on American political, military, and economic hegemony and forms of class compromise that negated radical challenges to Fordist and Keynesian models of economic growth, labour management, and political legitimation” (Essex 2013, 30).  26   As part of this broader project, President Truman globalized the Marshall Plan through the establishment of what would eventually become known as the “Point IV” program. First outlined in January 1949 as part of Truman’s (1949) second Inaugural Address, Point IV was envisioned as a “bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas”. According to the President, more than half of humanity was living in “conditions approaching misery”. Plagued by inadequate access to food, ravaged by disease, and handicapped by primitive and stagnant forms of economic life, the poverty of these masses was deemed to be a “threat both to them and to more prosperous areas” (Truman 1949).   For the first time in history, however, humanity possessed “the knowledge and the skill to relieve the suffering of these people”. While the material resources at Truman’s (1949) disposal were “limited” – this despite the enormous flows of capital that were being channeled to Europe via the Marshall Plan – America’s “imponderable” stores of technical expertise were “constantly growing” and hence, “inexhaustible”. Given America’s pre-eminence “among nations in the development of industrial and scientific techniques”, Truman (1949) believed that it was uniquely qualified to help “peace-loving peoples” abroad “realize their aspirations for a better life” through the provision of technical assistance. Bequeathed with the gift of technical knowledge, the “free peoples of the world” would be able to produce, through their own efforts, “more food, more clothing, more materials for housing, and more mechanical power to lighten their burdens”. In contrast with older forms of imperialism, Truman (1949) promised that Point IV would generate economic benefits for all participant countries through “cooperation” and “democratic fair-dealing”. The economic interests of the US, in other words, would be fulfilled not through the domination and exploitation of colonies for profit, but rather, through international acts of philanthropy.   Although Point IV ostensibly symbolized America’s commitment to helping the “least fortunate members” of the “human family” achieve the “decent, satisfying life that is the right of all people”, Truman’s (1949) consistent deployment of qualifiers such as “free” or “peace-loving” betrayed the imaginative geographies that undergirded this emerging ensemble of militarized 27  techno-science. Unless they demonstrated a willingness to throw off the yoke of Communism, Point IV effectively abandoned populations living on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain to wallow in “conditions approaching misery” (Truman 1949). In order to administer and implement the Point IV concept, the US government established a “Technical Cooperation Administration” (TCA) in June 1950. Under the auspices of the TCA, American experts and advisors were dispatched to various countries around the globe where they implemented, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and local counterparts, a diversity of technical projects (Berger and Borer 2007). Afghanistan was no exception, and on 7 February, 1951, it agreed to cooperate with the “Government of the United States of America…in the interchange of technical knowledge and skills and in related activities designed to contribute to the balanced and integrated development of the economic resources and productive capacities of Afghanistan” (Department of State, 1951).   The barely veiled anti-communism of Point IV was rendered even more explicit in the “Special Message” that Truman delivered to Congress on 24 May, 1951, which called for the establishment of a “Mutual Security Program”. In this speech, he evoked a Manichean world divided into two diametrically opposed blocs of power:  “Our country has greater economic strength and larger potential military power than any other nation on earth. But we do not and we should not stand alone. We cannot maintain our civilization if the rest of the world is split up, subjugated, and organized against us by the Kremlin. This is a very real and terrible danger. But it can be overcome. To do so, we must work with the rest of the free world: we must join other free nations in common defense plans; we must concert our economic strength with theirs for the common good; and we must help other free countries to build the military and economic power needed to make impossible the communist dreams of world conquest” (Truman 1951).  Spurred in part by the outbreak of the Korean War in the summer of 1950, Washington established a “Mutual Security Agency” (MSA) on 31 October, 1951 in order to bring America’s military assistance programs together with the economic aid being provided to “underdeveloped areas” under the umbrella of Point IV (Berger and Borer 2007; Truman 1951). The MSA was to serve as the front line of defence against the combined threats of communist military attack on the one hand, and its “allies of starvation and sickness” on the other (Truman 1951). Here we can 28  begin to see some of the ways in which the dual imperatives of development and security were becoming entangled under the aegis of Cold War geopolitics.   Initially, the MSA and the TCA were distinct foreign assistance institutions. On 1 August, 1953, however, they were both transferred into an autonomous “Foreign Operations Administration” (FOA) (Glick 1953). Tasked with consolidating economic and technical assistance on a global basis, the FOA was later incorporated into the State Department’s “International Cooperation Administration” (ICA). Although the ICA’s mandate to administer aid for “economic, political, and social development purposes” was both “vast and far reaching”, its ties to the State Department meant that it had “no authority over military aid and only partial control over agricultural surpluses and food aid” (Essex 2013, 31; USAID 2002). These limitations made it difficult for the ICA to find solid footing in an operating environment that was being increasingly shaped by national security concerns. Around this point in time, both the State Department and the US military increasingly began to view economic and technical assistance “as an arm of military and political security” (Lowenthal 1986, 16). This, in turn, meant that the ICA had to start justifying its development programming on geopolitical grounds.   As the stakes intensified for the ICA, so too did levels of public scrutiny. According to Essex (2013, 31), “several congressionally commissioned reports highlighted failures and gaps in American aid programs”, while quasi-fictional accounts of the diplomatic and strategic missteps plaguing America’s Cold War abroad brought the “perils of incompetent and poorly planned development and military assistance” into sharper public focus. By 1960, public and Congressional support for America’s ineffective and fragmented foreign assistance institutions had dwindled precipitously (Norris 2014; USAID 2002). In response to this growing dissatisfaction, the incoming Kennedy administration pledged to make significant changes to America’s foreign aid programs.   The cornerstone of the Kennedy administration’s reorganization effort was the Foreign Assistance Act (Duffy 1991). Unveiled in March 1961, the Act was Kennedy’s attempt to consolidate and centralize the fragmented multiplicity of foreign assistance programs into one overarching agency. In contrast with its predecessors, this “United States Agency for 29  International Development” would adopt a more “comprehensive approach to managing aid, built around country-based strategies and long-term development planning” (Essex 2013, 32). Kennedy’s plan catalyzed a vigorous debate over foreign aid reform that centered on “traditional arguments of thrift, economy, and ingratitude” (Duffy 1991, 17). The public at large was generally opposed to foreign aid, with some citizen groups representing it as an expensive “give-away” that the United States could ill afford. Others – particularly, Congressmen from the South and the Midwest – worried that foreign assistance would be provided to America’s economic competitors abroad (Essex 2013).  Supporters of foreign aid reform, in contrast, justified it on geopolitical grounds. In his remarks to the House of Representatives, Kennedy argued that the United States, as an upstanding member of the international community, an emerging economic powerhouse, and a bastion of freedom, was obligated to provide foreign assistance on moral, economic, and political grounds. According to Kennedy (1961):  “To fail to meet [these] obligations now would be disastrous; and, in the long run, more expensive. For widespread poverty and chaos lead to a collapse of existing political and social structures which would inevitably invite the advance of totalitarianism into every weak and unstable area. Thus our own security would be endangered and our prosperity imperiled. A program of assistance to the underdeveloped nations must continue because the Nation’s interest and the cause of political freedom require it”.  Kennedy clearly framed the Act in fundamentally geopolitical terms. Tapping into an intensifying climate of geopolitical fear on Capitol Hill, proponents of the Act identified an “aid gap” between the United States and the Soviet Union that had to be closed in order to check Communist aggression in the Third World. This politically astute strategy proved impossible for opponents of the Act to overcome and in August 1961, the bill was handily ratified by both the House and the Senate (Essex 2013). As a result, the Kennedy administration was given the green light to establish USAID, which began operations in November 1961.   This history of USAID has necessarily been crude and truncated, but it shows that the agency – and each of its institutional predecessors – was conceived as an arm of the American national 30  security state7. This is not to suggest that USAID and the American national security state can simply be reduced one to the other. As we will see, an institution like USAID is animated by a diversity of different logics, and hence, its relationship with the other arms of the American national security state will always be tense, anxious, and ambivalent (see also Bhungalia 2010, 2012; Essex 2013). Instead, I draw attention to USAID’s historical entanglement with the American national security state in order to challenge the notion that the development-security nexus is largely a product of the immediate post-Cold War period. Indeed, from the outset, USAID administrators were under no illusions regarding the role that the agency was expected to play in the intensifying Cold War. As David Bell, the agency’s administrator from 1962 to 1966, put it, “fundamentally, A.I.D’s purpose is national security” (qtd. in Norris 2014). For Bell, this meant working towards a “world of independent nations capable of making economic and social progress through free institutions”. “Economically”, Bell continued, “we’re not aiming for standards of living”, but rather, for “internal dynamics, self-sustaining growth”.   USAID figured predominantly in Bell’s worldview as the positive, generative, and therapeutic arm of the American national security state. The expectation was that USAID would help the world’s poorest populations derive concrete material benefits from America’s single-minded pursuit of its national security interests abroad. In this sense, Bell’s conception of the interconnections between development and national security stands in stark contrast with Duffield’s. Whereas Bell framed development as a catalyst of growth, accumulation, and self-improvement in the so-called “Third World”, for Duffield, it serves as a locus of disciplinary (bio)power whose primary concern is with violently fixing potentially insurgent populations within an extended archipelago of highly securitized spaces. It is tempting to assume that these two different understandings of how development begets national security are fundamentally incompatible. Recent empirical research in geography, however, shows that they often informed USAID’s missions abroad in equal measure.                                                            7 The origin of the American “national security state” is often traced back to passing of the National Security Act of 1947 (Nelson 2009). This piece of legislation led to the establishment of the first “National Security Council” whose membership would include representatives from the Departments of State, Army, and Navy (Nelson 2009). Its task was to synchronize America’s military and foreign policies, while simultaneously coordinating an “intrusive intelligence agency and internal domestic surveillance” (Nelson 2009, 267). Over time, the Council would go on to form the core of a broader “national security state”. Under its watchful eye, “the perceived need for security from the nation’s enemies, known or unknown, [influenced] every part of national life” (Nelson 2009, 265).  31   Nowhere is this better exemplified than USAID’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Under pressure to develop a “civilian economic and social component to the counterinsurgency effort in Vietnam”, USAID spearheaded the “other” war for rural “hearts and minds” through two distinct, yet related suites of spatial interventions (Phillips 2008). In order to pacify insurgent South Vietnam, USAID produced spaces that were designed to physically and psychologically separate rural populations from National Liberation Front fighters. In these loci of counterinsurgency and modernization, USAID advisors were given free rein to create a “favourable environment” of “legitimate social revolution” – “friendly to the [government of South Vietnam] and poisonous to the [National Liberation Front]” – in which the Vietnamese people could “begin to effect their own destiny” (French and Puritano 1996, 3; Porter and Unger 1966, 50). This archipelago of counterinsurgency spaces was secured through a policing effort that sought to assay and manage the diverse flows of bodies, commodities, and capital constantly traversing the countryside of South Vietnam. To this end, USAID advisors provided the South Vietnamese police forces with training and technical assistance in the areas of resource denial, population control, prison management, and neutralization.   It is beyond the scope of this introduction to explore how the interplay between rural development and police training worked in practice (see Attewell 2015). But, it is necessary to note that for many commentators, the Vietnam War functions as a sort of proto-9/11, a radical break-point or rupture in USAID’s institutional history whose afterlives haunt everything that the agency has done since. USAID personnel who cut their teeth in Cold War Vietnam would go on to shape agency’s mission to post-9/11 Afghanistan (Phillips 2008). More significantly, USAID’s direct involvement in the “other” war for Vietnamese “hearts and minds” remains exemplary of the ways in which violence and destruction serve as the necessary prerequisites of development. Elsewhere, I show how USAID, over the course of the Vietnam War, became increasingly implicated in the assassination, administrative detention, and torture of suspected National Liberation Front insurgents (Attewell 2015). This “will to destroy life” proved highly controversial amongst domestic lawmakers, who were alarmed by the “inhumane” steps that USAID had taken to “win” over Vietnamese “hearts and minds” (Willenson 1974). As a result of this crisis of legitimacy, domestic lawmakers passed significant revisions to USAID’s parent 32  legislation in 1973. Under the terms of the revised Foreign Assistance Act, USAID was no longer legally permitted to support what George Orwell (1936) once called the “dirty work of Empire”. Instead, development assistance from this point forward would be geared solely towards improving the life-chances of the world’s “poorest majority”.   As I show in the third chapter of this dissertation, these legal restrictions did not prevent USAID from practicing development as a form of insurgency in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Nor did they discourage USAID from waging counterinsurgency by proxy in the various theatres of the global War on Terror. Indeed, critical human geographers are beginning to focus their attention on USAID’s ongoing entanglement in contemporary counterinsurgencies. Bhungalia’s (2015) work, for instance, traces how counterinsurgency practices are being mobilized by USAID in contemporary occupied Palestine through humanitarian and development interventions. She argues that the “various NGOs and development contractors through which USAID operates are simultaneously tasked with dividing, surveilling, and policing the Palestinian population on behalf of the US state to which they are contracted” (Bhungalia 2015, 2313). These actors, to put it differently, are refashioned by USAID into civilian counterinsurgency practitioners. Cloaked by the mantle of development and humanitarianism, these civilian counterinsurgents have helped the US national security apparatus proliferate itself throughout the occupied territories of Palestine, facilitating, in turn, the development of ever more sophisticated and fine grained modalities of control, policing, and disciplinary power.   While USAID’s mission to Afghanistan shares some common ground with its activities in Palestine – particularly its reliance on proxies such as non-governmental organizations and contractors – this does not mean that Bhungalia’s ideas can be applied neatly to Operation Enduring Freedom. As Bhungalia (2015, 2311) herself notes, “the economy of calculations made in Palestine is different from the calculations that inform military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Yemen”. But if there is a thread that runs through all of these different moments of articulation, it is that USAID’s development interventions in contexts such as Vietnam, Palestine, or Afghanistan have generally been concerned with the government and management of restless rural populations. USAID, to put it differently, has historically practiced development as a form of governmentality. The next section of this chapter will sketch out the theoretical 33  contours of this governmentality by bringing Duffield’s work on the development-security nexus into conversation with critical development geography.   1.4 USAID as governmentality  Duffield’s work on the development-security nexus owes a huge intellectual debt to what is now known as the “post-development” school of thought. A useful definition of “post-development” is offered by Gillian Hart (2001, 654), who argues that the term has come to encompass a diversity of inter-disciplinary writings that, while differentiated along multiple epistemological axes, are nonetheless “united by antagonism to Development as a normalizing, deeply destructive discursive formation emanating from the ‘west’”. For post-development scholars such as Arturo Escobar (1995), the notion of capital-D development is fundamentally compromised by its historical ties to modern discourses of reason and science, which tend to reduce social questions to technical problems to be solved by experts in rational decision making and management: namely, development professionals (Gidwani 2002). Accordingly, post-development scholars firmly reject the notion that capital-d Development can be reformed, and instead, place their faith in the grassroots social movements that began to emerge in the post-Cold War period.   Duffield draws inspiration from the post-development school of thought in two ways. First, he theorizes the development-security nexus as a “dazzling, all-encompassing, and totalizing spatial form” of biopower (Coleman and Grove 2009, 491). Second, he promulgates a strident discourse of anti-development that valorizes above all else a politics of resistance based on the “solidarity of the governed” (Duffield 2007, 234). While there is much to admire about Duffield’s emancipatory politics, his work reproduces many of the same problems that previously plagued postdevelopment scholarship. A geographical critique might draw attention to the “rather crude, top-down conceptions of power” that run through much of Duffield’s work, which often fails to touch down and engage with the tense, partial, and uneven ways in which development articulates with security in the global borderlands (Hart 2001, 654). Much like the postdevelopment scholars that preceded him, Duffield has also “arrived at the surprisingly simplistic conclusion that to move beyond development orthodoxy is to hoist the banner of anti-34  development” (Gidwani 2002, 6). Duffield’s work glosses over the inherent ambivalence of development theory and practice. Hence, Duffield cannot speak to the ways in which development “may transform (or carry the promise of transforming) places in liberatory ways, while in other cases, it may tighten the noose of existing unfreedoms or oppression” (Gidwani 2002, 6).   This dissertation seeks to move beyond Duffield’s path-breaking, yet problematic critique by instead theorizing the development-security nexus as a form of governmentality. In Hart’s (2004, 92) eyes, the concept of governmentality allows for a “far more precise diagnosis” of the “rationalities of [development], the forms of knowledge and expertise they construct, and the specific and contingent assemblages of practices, materials, agents, and techniques through which these rationalities operate to produce governable subjects”. While there is a well-established scholarly tradition of studying how governmentality works in advanced liberal democracies, these studies are often limited by their “striking Eurocentrism”, as well as by their tendency to deliberately obscure the messiness and precarity of everyday forms of rule (Ferguson and Gupta 2002; Li 1999). For critical geographers and other spatially-inclined social scientists keen on provincializing such debates, development has served as a productive vehicle for exploring how governmental power is exercised in (post)colonial contexts. Much of this work distinguishes between how development projects are conceived and how they are actually accomplished in practice (Hart 2004). In so doing, it illustrates how governmentality is itself a conjunctural enterprise that is always precarious and hence, prone to crisis (Hart 2004). Michael Watt’s (2003) seminal exploration of development and governmentality is exemplary in this regard. His ethnography of the various “economies of violence” at work in the Niger Delta shows how development is leveraged by various local actors to produce an interlocking palimpsest of what he calls “governable spaces”.   Critical development geography continued along this intellectual trajectory throughout the 2000s. By 2010, the continued relevance of this line of inquiry indicated to Jim Glassman (2010, 2) that critical development geography had “long since moved well beyond Escobar”. To support this claim, Glassman (2010) draws attention to Joel Wainwright (2008) and Vinay Gidwani’s (2008) recent analyses of the weaknesses and contradictions that characterize specifically capitalist 35  modes of development in (post)colonial contexts. While both Wainwright and Gidwani are critical of mainstream development theory and practice, they nonetheless recognize the “impossibility of not trying (or desiring) to develop” (Glassman 2010, 2). In Wainwright’s (2008, 9) view, what is required is not the “facile negation” of development that is advanced by Escobar and his successors (for example, Duffield), but rather, a specifically postcolonial Marxist critique that examines “its power, its sway, as an aporetical totality”: or, perhaps more accurately, a specifically postcolonial Marxist critique of development as a form of governmentality. This is precisely what is offered in the recent work of Tania Li (2007) and Vinay Gidwani (2008). Bringing Duffield into conversation with Li and Gidwani will help me arrive at a more nuanced understanding of how USAID has historically brought development and security together in the Afghan countryside.   Drawing inspiration from Li (2007), I argue that USAID’s development interventions in Afghanistan are as much about improving the life chances of surplus populations as they are about containing them in a resilient state of homeostatic self-reliance. They are animated, in other words, by what Li (2007) calls a “will to improve”. Ever since USAID – or, the TCA, as it was then known – first arrived in Afghanistan in 1951, it implemented “programs that set out to improve the condition of the population in a deliberate manner” (Li 2007, 1). Such programs left an indelible mark on the livelihoods and identities of rural Afghans. They were implemented by a benevolent cadre of trustees – technicians, experts, professionals – whose objective was not to dominate rural Afghans, but rather, to optimize their capacity for action, and to direct it towards self-improvement.   Li (2007) situates the “will to improve” in the grid of power relations that Foucault named “government”. According to Foucault (2007, 133), the essential issue of government was to introduce “economy” – that is to say, “the proper way of managing individuals, goods, and wealth” – into political thought and practice (see also Prakash 1999). In Foucault’s (2007, 133) words, “to govern a state will thus mean the application of economy, the establishment of an economy, at the level of the state as a whole, that is to say [exercising] supervision and control over its inhabitants, wealth, and the conduct of all and each, as attentive as that of a father’s over his households and goods”. This art of government was unleashed by the emergence of 36  population as a discrete object of both analysis and intervention. Populations were determined to possess “[their] own regularities”: a death rate, an incidence of disease, a cycle of scarcity, etc. (Foucault 2007, 141). As populations became the target of various governmental schemes to better their health, what resulted was a “complex” that sought to regulate how individuals related to various “things”: wealth, resources, territory, customs, habits, accidents, epidemics, and death, to name only a few examples (Foucault 2007, 134).  USAID’s development mission to Afghanistan was similarly governmental. USAID argued that the true constraint to the development of Afghanistan was rural Afghans themselves. Dismayed by their traditional attitudes and subsistence practices, USAID sought to improve their conduct “by calculated means” (Li 2007, 5). Given that it has never been possible for USAID to “coerce every individual and regulate their actions in minute detail”, it has instead operated by “educating desires and configuring habits, aspirations, and beliefs” (Li 2007, 5). To paraphrase David Scott (1995), USAID “[set] conditions, artificially so arranging things that [Afghans], following their own self-interest, will do as they ought”: namely, improve themselves. This desire to “create a spirit of self-help” is one of the general leitmotifs that runs through much of USAID’s development activities in Afghanistan. By “installing” in rural Afghans a will and an ambition to work for higher standards of living, USAID believed that it could provide them with a “foundation for self-perpetuating economic and social progress” (Galloway 1959; Haq 1959). Initially, USAID adopted a piecemeal approach to helping rural Afghans help themselves, centered on “practical demonstrations” and “extension programs”. Gradually, however, it realized that change would have to be “total”, “comprising all aspects of life at the same time” (Galloway 1959). “The will to improve the condition” of the Afghan people, in other words, became “expansive” (Li 2007).   What did this look like in practice? As Gidwani (2008) reminds us, every project of rule requires some kind of machinery through which it realizes itself. USAID’s mission to Afghanistan was operationalized not only over, but also through space. This was a two-part process. First, USAID’s trustees distributed themselves territorially throughout rural Afghanistan, entering into ongoing relations with target populations in order to lay down the groundwork for long-term development interventions. Through these channels of contact, USAID unleashed a “multiplicity 37  of forces to reassemble matter in space and summon particular sorts of ‘conducts’” from rural Afghans (Gidwani 2008, 129).   In this dissertation, I show how the contours of USAID’s “will to improve” Afghanistan have shifted over time. More specifically, I argue that it has gradually become oriented towards the market. Following Essex (2013), I trace the origins of this shift back to the fallout from the Vietnam War. In the early 1970s, it was widely believed that USAID had underperformed in Vietnam because it had become too bloated to function properly. At the height of the Vietnam War, USAID’s staffing levels had reached an all-time high, with the agency employing over 18,000 personnel globally. Of this figure, almost 5,100 (approximately 28 percent of its total staff) had been deployed to Vietnam. Congress, accordingly, called on USAID to reduce the overall size of its foreign service corps by transferring some of its employees to other government agencies (Essex 2013, 49). This was not, as Essex (2013, 49) points out, a simple exercise of “bureaucratic weight-shifting”. Rather, this process speaks to the ways in which market logics began to “trump” military strength as the “primary ordering mechanism for the state system” (Essex 2013, 3). By the mid-1970s, such geoeconomic discourses began to reorient USAID towards “greater participation with and reliance on market mechanisms and the private sector” (Essex 2013, 49-51).   It is tempting to theorize these shifts in development theory and practice as yet another example of how the “ideational project of neoliberalism was folded into (more or less) coherent programmes of socioeconomic and state transformation” from the early 1970s onwards (Peck 2008, 3). Neoliberalism is now generally understood as a “theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade” (Harvey 2003; 2005, 2). As many have pointed out, neoliberalism is not a coherent project that emerged into the world fully formed (Mirowski and Plehwe 2008; Peck 2008, 2010). Like USAID, its origins can be traced back to the immediate post-World War II period. According to Peck (2008, 4), neoliberalism was never defined by a “pristine moment of mountaintop clarity” but rather, was a “transnational, reactionary, and messy hybrid right from the start”. The neoliberal ideational project came into 38  being as a reactionary critique of non-market forms of governmental practice. Neoliberals such as Hayek framed Nazism as the natural outcome of socialist and Keynesian political-economy. Their “visceral distaste” for welfare-statism propelled a broad attempt to restore and maintain some form of market rule. Like the 19th century champions of laissez-faire who preceded them, neoliberals were united by a shared belief in the importance of free trade, labour market flexibility, and social state retrenchment. Neoliberals, however, “expressly sought to transcend the ‘naive ideology’ of laissez-faire in favour of a ‘positive’ conception of the state as the guarantor of a competitive order” (Peck 2008, 7). They recognized that in a context such as war-torn Europe, “the restoration and maintenance of market rule would call for some form of state engagement” (Peck 2008, 14-5). The state had to be made to work for – and not against – the market. Where the different neoliberal factions diverged was in their unique approaches to the “distinctively post-laissez-faire question of appropriate forms and fields of state intervention in the socioeconomic sphere” (Peck 2008, 7). The immediate challenge facing them, therefore, was to “determine a set of tightly constrained, yet positive, functions for the state, as the foundation for a designed market order” (Peck 2008, 14-15)8.   Once these initial efforts bore fruit in domestic contexts, neoliberals were then free to turn their attention towards resuscitating market orders the world over. USAID undoubtedly played an instrumental role in helping the American national security state construct such a “restless landscape of actually existing neoliberalism” abroad (Peck 2008, 33). These “New Directions” in foreign aid were first signalled by President Nixon in a special message that he delivered to Congress in 1969. In stark contrast to the optimistic sense of exceptionalism that pervaded Point IV, Nixon argued that no single government possessed the resources necessary to single-handedly improve the life prospects of the world’s poorest majority. Accordingly, it was imperative that USAID enlist the “energies of private enterprise, here and abroad, in the cause of                                                           8 Neoliberalism’s concern with delineating a new art of market-oriented government has been the subject of much lively debate within economic geography. Geographers such as Wendy Larner (2003) and Robert Fairbanks (2012) have advocated theorizing processes of neoliberalism and neoliberalization through the Foucauldian lens of governmentality. Clive Barnett (2006), in contrast, has been skeptical of these efforts, noting that “neither the story of neoliberalism-as-hegemony or of neoliberalism-as-governmentality can account for the forms of receptivity, pro-activity, and generativity that might help to explain how the rhythms of the everyday are able to produce effects on macro-scale processes and vice-versa” (12). While I am broadly sympathetic with Barnett’s (2006) concerns, I believe that they can be addressed in part by moving away from the top-down and all-encompassing theoretical frameworks that he criticizes towards the more partial and contingent understandings of governmentality that figure prominently in the work of post-colonial development scholars, such as Li (2007, 2014) and Gidwani (2008). 39  economic development” (Nixon 1969). For Nixon, private enterprise was not only one of the most effective engines of development, it was also necessary to maintain the USAID program in a time of increasing austerity. This turn towards the market would eventually be enshrined in the Nixon administration’s 1973 revision to the Foreign Assistance Act. In addition to gearing development assistance towards meeting the “basic needs” of the world’s “poorest majority”, these revisions also encouraged USAID to assume more of a managerial role within an expanding assemblage of development actors, including private contractors, non-governmental organizations, international financial institutions, other bi- and multilateral agencies, and even the beneficiaries of aid themselves (Essex 2013).   Throughout the 1970s, USAID was under enormous pressure to endorse economic liberalization and other market-oriented policy reforms as the “only acceptable path to development and rubric for aid programming” (Essex 2013, 69). Essex (2013, 53) argues that the “increasing insistence that USAID promote institutional and political restructuring to facilitate liberalization and other market-oriented policy reforms in developing states became so dominant by the late 1980s” that it catalyzed a “fundamental rethinking of how it made and enacted development strategies”.   As it turns out, USAID was not the only arm of the American national security state that began to embrace some of the key tenets of neoliberal thought in the post-Vietnam period. Indeed, the expectation that USAID would gradually orient its overseas development programming towards markets and the private sector was paralleled by a substantive shift in how the US military was envisioning its broader mission to stabilize insecurity in a post-Vietnam world, particularly in the regions of the Middle East and Central Asia. MacGinty (2012, 28) argues that the US military’s conception of “stabilization” has historically been driven not only by “ideas of control”, but also by a desire to “create compliant, market-friendly any-states that do not threaten the international order”. This is exemplified by the US military’s establishment of Central Command – or, CENTCOM – in 1983. From the very beginning, the raison d’être of CENTCOM was to ensure the “military-economic securitization” of the Middle East and Central Asia (Morrissey 2014, 15). CENTCOM’s activities were guided by the notion that the achievement of a substantive geopolitical forward presence in the Central Region – through mechanisms such as military manoeuvres and exercises, war games, prepositional programmes, basing agreements, 40  infrastructural improvement schemes, and the development of access and logistics sites – was an essential prerequisite to securing America’s geoeconomic interests more broadly. According to Morrissey (2015a, 2), CENTCOM “has perennially likened itself as the ‘Guardian of the Gulf’, tasked with safeguarding the free market global economy”. At the heart of CENTCOM’s securitization discourse lies the notion that military regulation and oversight is necessary to enable markets, open up commercial opportunities, and ensure the smooth circulation of resources in the “geopolitically precarious, yet geoeconomically pivotal space of the Central Region” (Morrissey 2015a, 8).   On the face of things, one might argue that there has been a certain degree of synchronization between the post-Vietnam War mandates of USAID and the US military. Both institutions were tasked with fulfilling a broader “military-economic security mission” that has historically involved “entangled geopolitical and geoeconomic visions” (Essex 2013; Morrissey 2014, 17). USAID would establish enabling environments for neoliberalism overseas through development interventions, while the US military would supply the forward geopolitical presence necessary to secure and safeguard these efforts. These synergies at the level of strategy and doctrine, however, were not realized overnight. “Keeping the global economy open” may have been “central to CENTCOM’s grand strategy from the beginning”, but as Morrissey acknowledges, the first deployment of CENTCOM forces to this effect did not occur until 1987, when Kuwaiti oil tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz were reflagged with American ensigns during the so-called Tanker War (Morrissey 2015a, 2, 6). USAID’s turn towards neoliberalism not only proved to be similarly protracted, but also quite fraught as well. As both James Ferguson (2010, 183) and Li (2014) remind us, “invention in the domain of governmental techniques is rarely something worked up out of whole cloth”. What my research shows is that USAID’s development mission to Afghanistan has evolved through a partial, uneven, and improvisatory process of grafting, whereby newer elements (market-oriented policies) were imperfectly sutured onto older forms of governmentality (the “total” approach to rural development) (Li 2014). What resulted was not a singular, undisputed, and undifferentiated vision of development theory and practice, but rather, a hybridized, contested, and contradictory amalgamation of Keynesian, neoclassical, and (neo)liberal logics.   41  I trace this process of grafting in my dissertation. From chapter 3 onwards, I show how USAID became increasingly obsessed with transforming rural Afghanistan into an “enabling environment” for market-oriented agricultural production. These “enabling environments” were produced through a diversity of mundane space- and scale-making practices, taking many different concrete forms: agricultural training centres, model villages, demonstration farms, experimental bazaars, agroeconomic clusters, area-based development schemes, and the like. In these spaces, USAID introduced rural Afghans to modern agricultural inputs and technologies; trained them in the latest agricultural best practices; and honed their entrepreneurial capabilities. USAID’s ultimate goal was to help rural Afghans transform themselves from subsistence farmers who “needed to be protected from the full force of market discipline” into “entrepreneurial subjects “deemed fit to be governed in a [neoliberal] manner” (Li 2014, 38).   Historically, the core assumption that guides these market-oriented forms of development governmentality is that all Afghans, no matter their ethnicity, class, or gender, are equally capable of acting – and being governed – as rational economic subjects. This assumption, however, has not always been borne out. Certain segments of the Afghan population have benefitted disproportionately from USAID’s rural development interventions, while others, unfortunately, have been left behind, or even worse, ignored. Rural development in Afghanistan, to put it differently, has historically fostered certain lives at the expense of others. In the final theoretical section of this introduction, I will expand on this claim in greater detail.  1.5 USAID and the geographies of uneven development  A common criticism of USAID’s rural development programming in Afghanistan is that it fails to account for the ways in which local populations remain deeply divided along classed and gendered fault lines. Consequently, it tends to exacerbate already existing geographies of uneven development.   In the Afghan countryside, differential class relations often manifest themselves through uneven land tenure regimes. Rural Afghans access the means of agricultural production – chiefly, land – through a diversity of mechanisms, including individual private ownership, sharecropping 42  arrangements, and lease-holding agreements. Much to the detriment of sharecroppers, tenants, and itinerant labourers, USAID has historically oriented its rural development interventions in Afghanistan towards individual landowners. Whenever possible, USAID has preferred to distribute technical assistance through so-called “progressive farmers”, who are generally blessed with access to land, capital, and credit, as well as a propensity towards innovation and local leadership. On occasion, USAID has even prevented land-poor Afghans from participating in rural development initiatives. As we shall see in chapter 4, USAID’s refusal to tailor its rural development initiatives to the different classes of farmers was especially problematic from 2009 onwards, when it became embroiled in the civil-military effort to stabilize southern Afghanistan through counternarcotics programming.   Second, USAID’s “will to improve” the condition of Afghan populations has always been gendered. Feminist geographers have long argued that development programs both shape – and in turn, are shaped by – the gender politics practiced by target populations (Casolo and Doshi 2013; Fluri 2008, 2011; Radcliffe 2006; Sharp et al. 2003). As Deniz Kandiyoti (2007) notes, the battle lines that have been drawn over the politics of gender in Afghanistan have deep historical roots that stretch from the 19th century rule of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan all the way up to the contemporary counterinsurgency that continues to be waged in the Afghan countryside. Although this history tends to be represented as an ongoing three-way tug-of-war between meddling state forces, a conservative Islamic clergy, and a rural population keen on safeguarding its political-economic autonomy, this macro-scale framework tends to lose much of its explanatory power in contexts where “central governance apparatuses have restricted reach and the vast majority of women have little contact with state, market, and civil society organizations” (Kandiyoti 2007, 175). Instead, Kandiyoti (2007, 175-6) argues that “women’s life options are primarily conditioned by the fortunes of the communities and households in which their livelihoods and everyday lives are embedded” and therefore, it is “to these contexts that one must turn for a more realistic appraisal of the opportunities and constraints they face”.   According to Lina Abirafeh (2005), it was not until Kabul fell to the hardline Taliban on 27 September, 1996 that the international aid apparatus began to seriously engage with the problem of gender relations at the community or household level. From this point forward, women in 43  Afghanistan have shot to the top of development, media, and military agendas. Indeed, the invasion and occupation was partially justified on the grounds that the Taliban were inhumanely restricting the ability of Afghan women to participate in the political, economic, and cultural life of their communities. USAID, as a result, found itself under increasing pressure to “mainstream” gender into its development mission to Afghanistan.   Initially, many at USAID were resistant to this idea. A common complaint that reappeared in a number of the interviews I conducted was that gender relations in Afghanistan could not easily be ameliorated by technical assistance, and hence, lay outside of USAID’s mandate. These individuals represented “gender mainstreaming” as a policy imperative that had been inappropriately foisted on to USAID by the “Washington establishment”, as well as by “Hollywood celebrities” (Kingsley 25 November, 2012). Given USAID’s initial reluctance to intervene on gender relations at the household or community level, it is perhaps unsurprising that its efforts, as many feminist academics have pointed out, have been plagued by significant problems. Generally, it is argued that USAID fails to recognize how the gender politics in Afghanistan play out within a broader context of complex influences (Kandiyoti 2007). USAID’s half-hearted effort to mainstream gender into its development programming in Afghanistan is criticized on the grounds that it: deploys an instrumental and Eurocentric understanding of gender, resulting in the proliferation of women-only activities (Abirafeh 2005, 2009; Azerbaijani-Moghaddam 2006); that it adopts a highly technical approach to what is fundamentally a political problem (Abirafeh 2005, 2009; Kandiyoti 2007a); and perhaps most significantly for the purposes of this dissertation, that it is undergirded by a highly simplistic understanding of how rural Afghan women spatially navigate their own lifeworlds (Fluri 2009, 2011, 2012; Nguyen 2011), as well as the sphere of the economy (Davis 2005; Ganesh et al. 2013; Grace 2004).   Many of these criticisms are exemplified by USAID’s ongoing “alternative development” effort to wean Afghan farmers off of poppy cultivation. Although much of this alternative development programming was couched in gender neutral language that foregrounds the “rural poor” or “farmers” as the primary micro-agents of development, in practice, it is men that disproportionately benefit from the “will to improve”. This was especially true of alternative 44  development programs that championed marketization and commercial agriculture as the only legitimate pathway to a better life in the Afghan countryside. USAID and its implementing partners made no attempt to address the spatial and socio-cultural barriers that have historically prevented Afghan women from accessing land, labour, and markets. Instead, most alternative development programs effectively fixed women within the space of their households. Implementers of these alternative development programs uncritically accepted at face value the mainstream consensus that oppressive gender regimes effectively prevent Afghan women from making meaningful contributions to rural household economies. As a result, “women’s economic activities” were rarely integrated into broader marketization efforts, even when USAID ramped up the pressure on its implementing partners to better mainstream gender into their alternative development programs.   So far, I have suggested that USAID has made certain Afghans live while simultaneously letting others die. But this framing is insufficient to account for how USAID has sought to secure Afghanistan through development, for it effectively rescripts violence as an unintended consequence of these efforts. In addition to being classed and gendered, USAID’s “will to improve” the condition of Afghan populations was also inherently violent. As Eyal Weizman (2012) cautions, we must always be aware of the stick that hides behind any carrot. Thus, while USAID tends to represent its development interventions in rural Afghanistan as productive, humanitarian, and therapeutic, I conclude that they are nonetheless undergirded by – and have provided a legitimating armature for – more destructive techniques of population management. According to Michel Foucault (2003), the fundamental contradiction of a form of (bio)power that takes as its object “the population” is that it must kill – or at the very least, let die – to make live. In order to secure and improve populations, threats to their survival must be extinguished. As demonstrated by Anderson (2010), Bhungalia (2012), and Gregory (2008a) – amongst others – no form of population management better exemplifies the potential lethality of biopolitics than counterinsurgency. In his exploration of the ways in which the US military attempted to pacify insurgent Baghdad in the mid-2000s, Gregory (2008a) suggests that an interplay between the “sovereign right to kill” and the “calculated administration of the right to life” is inscribed in the workings of counterinsurgency. Similarly, Bhungalia’s (2012, 256) “close analysis of emerging tactics of population control in Gaza” illustrates “neither a ‘pure’ politics of life or death”, but 45  rather, a “more complex management of the two”, which is “achieved through the modulation of crucial life-sustaining and life-eliminating flows into and out of the territory”.   Up until 1973, USAID’s development interventions in the so-called “Third World” were as lethal as they were productive. From 1962 to 1973, to name but one example, USAID provided “Public Safety” assistance to the government of South Vietnam, directly implicating the institution in the torture, administrative detention, and assassination of National Liberation Front insurgents carried out by local police forces (Attewell 2015). This practice was not idiosyncratic to USAID’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Police training, in fact, was a key component of USAID’s development missions to key Cold War client states, including the Philippines and Nicaragua (Kuzmarov 2012; McCoy 2009). USAID was eventually stripped of its police training mandate by the 1973 revisions to the Foreign Assistance Act: the same revisions, incidentally, that ostensibly reoriented USAID towards pro-poor and market-oriented forms of development theory and practice. Following Ben Anderson (2012), it would nonetheless be a mistake to assume that the 1973 revisions to the Foreign Assistance Act had effectively severed USAID’s connections with contemporary ways of abandoning, damaging, and destroying life. From 1973 onwards, it remained commonplace for USAID’s development interventions in Afghanistan to be characterized by an interplay between improvement and violence. In Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, USAID provided operational support to the mujahideen resistance through the construction of a transnational logistics network designed to channel much needed development and humanitarian assistance to rural populations. This long and bloody history continues to haunt USAID’s alternative development efforts in post-9/11 Afghanistan, which were meant to serve as a counterbalance to more destructive forms of population management, such as crop eradication and nexus targeting. It is precisely USAID’s simultaneous implication in these broader projects of violence and improvement that I hope to foreground in this dissertation.   1.6  The USAID complex   In order to translate this theoretical framework into an empirical research program, I eschew easy negations of development as a mere smokescreen for discipline, domination, and destruction. Such framings problematically suppress the “interactive” and “improvisational dimensions” of 46  development “encounters” (Pratt 2008, 8). Following Mary Louise Pratt (2008), I instead argue that USAID’s long-standing effort to secure Afghanistan through comprehensive programs of improvement is best researched from a “contact perspective”. Historically, Afghanistan has served not so much as a “buffer state” as a “contact zone”. While Pratt was writing about different times and places – Latin America and South Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively – she nonetheless offers a complex language through which to explore how USAID’s involvement in the effort to modernize Afghanistan has precipitated an extended and ongoing moment of contact between a diverse constellation of development-security practitioners, on the one hand, and rural Afghan populations, on other. Development in Afghanistan has produced spaces in which “peoples geographically and historically [came] into contact with each other and establish[ed] ongoing relations” (Pratt 2008, 8).   As a result of these encounters, both Americans and Afghans were “constituted in and by their relations to each other” (Pratt 2008, 8). Indeed, rural Afghans regularly responded to rural development interventions in ways that forced USAID and its implementing partners to modulate and rethink the methodologies, techniques, practices, strategies, and tactics they brought to bear upon the problem of insecurity. While these moments of encounter usually involved “conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict”, the asymmetrical relations of power linking Americans to Afghans were never straightforward, nor rigid. More often than not, the responsibility for carrying out programs of improvement was delegated to certain colonized subjects who previously benefitted from training and capacity building efforts. Like their American counterparts, these Afghans identified numerous deficiencies in the populations they were tasked with improving (Li 2007). As new programmers, their “support [became] technical, a matter of instructing people in the proper practice of politics” (Li 2007, 24-5). In so doing, they shared in the “will to improve”, and by extension, were themselves complicit in the gradual governmentalization of Afghanistan.  In order to explore this ongoing moment of contact, I focus my attention on the complex of actors, discourses, institutions, technologies, infrastructures, policies, programs, ideological statements, and regulatory frameworks that USAID has mobilized to secure the Afghan people from the threats posed by the forces of Cold War communism and contemporary Islamic 47  extremism. Although USAID has a long history of working with public- and private-sector implementing partners, the division of development labour has become progressively neoliberalized over time. As a result, USAID’s programs are now being implemented almost exclusively by a powerful “development-industrial complex”9 that now handles upwards of more than $12 billion worth of projects annually (Roberts 2014). In this sense, USAID itself has become nothing more than a glorified “distribution channel” for development capital (Roberts 2014, 6).    Sue Roberts (2014) has recently attempted to map the USAID complex. By combing through audits, contracts, and budgets, Roberts (2014, 15) motions towards some of the ways in which this complex “feeds and is nourished by spatializations” that invoke “far-flung spaces of need and intervention”, as well as agglomeration economies and material circulations that are much closer to “home”. Although this is important – and incredibly difficult – work, it nonetheless provides us with no sense of what the main players of this development-industrial complex actually do on a day-to-day basis.  My own research program historically and geographically extends Roberts’ (2014) work through a mixed method approach. I conducted approximately 3 months of research in Washington, D.C. It is important for me to note up front that my research program, for various security reasons, did not take me to Afghanistan. This, in turn, necessarily places confidence limits around the conclusions that I draw from my empirical research. This is not to apologize for the research that I did conduct. Rather, it is merely to acknowledge that my analysis of USAID’s rural development interventions in Afghanistan will always be somewhat distanced and disembodied.   Although my wide-angle view from the metropolis prevents me from fully recovering the thoughts and motives of the real people who activated – and disrupted – USAID’s development programs in rural Afghanistan, it nonetheless enables me to make other, no less powerful claims about imperialism as lived practice. In his 2013 study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s “landscapes of denial”, Andrew Friedman opines that the study of the material and cultural                                                           9 Following Nick Turse (2008), I henceforth use the term “complex” or “USAID complex” as a shorthand for this agglomeration of political-economic power. 48  spaces that give American empire its concrete form – such as “the fields of development and destruction caused by US counterinsurgency and modernization campaigns” – remained “dispersed”. While scholars had “forcefully described the varied and underappreciated ways that the United States most certainly claimed space at home and abroad – if not always directly ruled it – as a significant feature of its empire”, such lines of inquiry had tended not to understand themselves as a field (Friedman 2013, 13). Friedman (2013, 13), in contrast, stressed the necessity of “pursuing it as one”: “not only for the intimate and ingrained qualities of US imperial relations revealed through its inhabited settings around the world, but for the ways material spaces testify to the nature and endurance of US imperialism through time, a record of effects that tends to vanish within the single moment of imperial warfare, violence, or occupation that conventionally organizes so much of the study of US intervention abroad”.   In order to better understand the “stretched out and sequential connections” that have historically linked USAID to the “fields of development caused by US counterinsurgency and modernization campaigns” conducted in rural Afghanistan, I combined semi-structured interviews10 with a close reading of what I describe elsewhere as an “archive of the colonial present” (Attewell et al. 2012). My research program brought me face to face with the civilian and military professionals who, at one point in their career, had worked for – or with – the USAID complex in post-9/11 Afghanistan. These professionals do not occupy elite positions of power within the broader American national security apparatus. Rather, they are generally employed as middling and highly mobile “trustees” – in the sense described by Li (2007) – who forge, implement, and refine their “practices of expertise” while circulating throughout a “vast web of Empire” that stretches from Washington DC and its suburbs – Bethesda, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria – all the way to the foreign guesthouses and field sites that dot the countryside of rural Afghanistan. As Li (2007) notes, these are ambivalent figures: enthusiastic practitioners of development-security who nonetheless remain capable of critically reflecting on their experiences in the field. Following Ananya Roy’s (2012) injunction to render the familiar strange, I critically engage these ambivalent figures, appreciating both the breadth and the depth of their mundane forms of expert knowledge, as well as the sincerity of their desire to make Afghanistan better than it is, all the while refusing to take what they say at face value (Li 2007). In so doing, I illuminate the                                                           10 Throughout my dissertation, I cite these interviews not only by year, but also by month and date as well. 49  forms of power and knowledge through which they are constituted, as well as the ways in which they navigate a “complex terrain of complicity and resistance” in order to produce multi-scalar spaces of development-security work (Roy 2012, 37).  I conducted 15 semi-structured interviews with these actors. I established contact with these key informants through a combination of cold-calling and snowballing. Each interview lasted a minimum of one hour and was conducted in a variety of settings: the cafeteria of the Ronald Reagan Building, suburban office complexes, local cafes, and participants’ homes. Given my small sample size, these interviews were not meant to provide a comprehensive account of USAID’s development mission to post-9/11 Afghanistan. Instead, they helped shine a spotlight on the ways in which particular members of the USAID complex attempted to secure Afghanistan through development in specific times and places. Whenever possible, I encouraged my key informants to speak at length on USAID’s embroilment in the Afghan counternarcotics campaign. Not only did these interviews provide me with new insights into the workings of the USAID complex in Afghanistan, they also surprised me as an invaluable source of industry gossip.    I supplement these primary sources with close readings of four different “archives of the colonial present” (Attewell et al. 2012). The first archive is made up of documents that can be broadly be described as journalistic. It includes newspaper articles, blog posts, leaked documents, memoirs, and oral histories. I constructed this archive of documents over the course of my doctoral program. On a regular basis, I combed through various sources, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Registan, Danger Room, and the Afghan Analysts Network. I then identified relevant sources and sorted them into various Word documents, organized by subject. Finally, I analyzed, coded, and annotated these documents in order to extract points of relevance to my chosen case studies.   Academics have long been critical of the ways in which journalistic sources have been used for social science research. Ortiz et al (2005), for instance, argues that journalistic sources often do not meet “acceptable standards” for event analysis. If they are used improperly, they can “distort findings and misguide theorizing”. While I am sympathetic with Ortiz et al.’s (2005) concerns, 50  my dissertation instead approaches journalistic sources with a “humble understanding that, although not without its flaws, it remains a useful data source” (Earl et al. 2004). As I argue elsewhere, journalistic sources have an important role to play in radical critiques of the colonial