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Enforcing Legitimacy: Perspectives on the Relationship between Intervening Armed Forces and the Local Population in Afghanistan
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Bolstering local perceptions of legitimacy in armed intervention has emerged as an important feature of increasingly complex international peace and statebuilding efforts. Yet, previous research has only begun to explore what local legitimacy entails to those involved in, and affected by, armed intervention. This dissertation advances an understanding of local legitimacy as a perception-based, relational phenomenon. Through this lens, it examines armed intervention in Afghanistan (2001-2014). In particular, this dissertation studies how the relationship between Afghan citizens and intervening armed forces interacts with, and shapes, perspectives on local legitimacy held by the main 'interveners' and those 'intervened upon'. This dissertation consists of an introduction, which situates the study in a wider context, and four essays. Beginning with the organizational perspectives of the main intervening actors in Afghanistan, Essay I finds that the UN and NATO initially conceptualized problems of local legitimacy as principally the consequence of a fragile Afghan state, and not as failings of the intervention. When negative dimensions of intervention became increasingly recognized, principal responsibility for the legitimacy process shifted away from intervening authorities and onto the Afghan state. Similarly, Essay II shows how key U.S. military doctrine, over time, reconceptualized the formal duty of intervening forces in the local legitimacy process, ultimately considering it contingent on, and subordinate to, the will and capabilities of host-state authorities and the local population. Turning thereafter to firsthand accounts from the field, Essay III and Essay IV together contrast personal perspectives on the intervention held by U.S. Army Officers and Afghan citizens. Essay III finds that personal experiences of noncombat contact with Afghans reinforced the Officers' sense of duty toward the local population. Conversely, Essay IV suggests that the local legitimacy of intervening forces became increasingly contested among Afghans, due largely to the perceived intensification of foreign intrusion on 'everyday' life. Taken together, the findings of this dissertation lay the foundation for the development of a new concept, the host-citizen contract. In so doing, it provides a social contract framework to better understand the complex dynamics of local legitimacy in Afghanistan, and beyond.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of Peace and Conflict Research , 2015. , 55 p.
Series
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 106
Keyword [en]
armed intervention, local legitimacy, Afghanistan, intervening armed forces, military, local population, perceptions, soldiers, ISAF, noncombat contact, peace operations, peacekeeping, military doctrine, contact theory, fieldwork
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-263061ISBN: 978-91-506-2489-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-263061DiVA: diva2:864145
Public defence
2015-12-12, Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-11-16 Created: 2015-09-24 Last updated: 2015-11-25
List of papers
1. International quest for local legitimacy in Afghanistan: A tower of Babel?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>International quest for local legitimacy in Afghanistan: A tower of Babel?
2013 (English)In: Small Wars & Insurgencies, ISSN 0959-2318, E-ISSN 1743-9558, Vol. 24, no 2, 349-369 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With continuing challenges facing the international presence in Afghanistan, the need to secure local legitimacy, or ‘winning heart and minds’ of the local population is gaining increasing foothold in contemporary policy-making and academic debate on international intervention. However, knowledge of how international actors in the field understand local legitimacy remains limited. The purpose of this article is to take a first cut at examining how the two leading actors of international intervention – the UN and NATO – frame the issue of local legitimacy in Afghanistan, and to evaluate the potential impact of these findings on the prospects of inter-organizational coordination in the field. Based on a qualitative comparative analysis of statements issued in UN SC Resolutions, SC Debates, and S-G Reports (2001–2011) and NATO Declarations and Opinions (2003–2011), the study finds that the UN and NATO frame the issue of local legitimacy in surprisingly similar ways. However, the framing appears problematic in terms of how it depicts the relationship between the international presence and the Afghan state and its people. To illustrate, both the UN and NATO tend to externalize the issue of local legitimacy by linking it to the strength of the Afghan state rather than to the quality and effectiveness of international assistance and furthermore do not explicitly recognize Afghan civilians to have any autonomous influence on the level of local legitimacy. Instead, civilians are only portrayed to affect the level of legitimacy indirectly as the victims of insurgent or coalition attacks. The results of the study thus indicate a lack of awareness and self-criticism within the international intervention apparatus towards the potential pitfalls of international assistance, and it signals a lack of attention paid to the agency of local Afghans, which stands the risk of jeopardizing prospects for international civil–military coordination with Afghan stakeholders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2013
Keyword
local legitimacy, international assistance, Afghanistan, UN, NATO, inter-organizational coordination
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-212918 (URN)10.1080/09592318.2013.778021 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-12-16 Created: 2013-12-16 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. The Ambiguous Host-Citizen Contract: An Evolving Notion of Duty in the U.S. Military Quest for Local Legitimacy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Ambiguous Host-Citizen Contract: An Evolving Notion of Duty in the U.S. Military Quest for Local Legitimacy
2015 (English)In: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, ISSN 1057-610X, E-ISSN 1521-0731, Vol. 38, no 10, 864-884 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article explores how the recent quest for local legitimacy in Iraq and Afghanistan has shaped the U.S. military notion of duty toward host citizens. It argues that military duty is conceptualized as a “host-citizen contract.” Based on a qualitative comparison of the 2006 and 2014 versions of FM3-24, the U.S. counterinsurgency field manual, it finds that U.S. forces are obligated to suppress insurgents, build host-nation agency, and protect the host population in exchange for legitimacy. The article's main finding is that the notion of legitimacy has changed in ways that fundamentally limit the scope of duty and justify a breach of contract should the host nation fail to comply.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Taylor & Francis, 2015
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-248063 (URN)10.1080/1057610X.2015.1049855 (DOI)000359838100004 ()
Available from: 2015-03-26 Created: 2015-03-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Exploring Noncombat Contact and the Sense of Soldierly Duty in Afghanistan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Noncombat Contact and the Sense of Soldierly Duty in Afghanistan
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
armed intervention, Afghanistan, U.S. Armed Forces, local population, military duty, soldiers, intervening forces, noncombat contact, contact hypothesis, peacekeeping, peace operations
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265111 (URN)
Available from: 2015-10-22 Created: 2015-10-22 Last updated: 2015-11-25
4. Enforced Hospitality: Local Perceptions of the Legitimacy of International Forces in Afghanistan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enforced Hospitality: Local Perceptions of the Legitimacy of International Forces in Afghanistan
2014 (English)In: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968X, Vol. 16, no 4, 425-448 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While local mission legitimacy has prompted intense political and academic attention in the context of peace operations, our grasp of how host citizens understand the legitimacy of international troops remains limited. This article explores how Afghan citizens perceive the legitimacy of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops. A qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with citizens in Kabul deepens our understanding of how ideational and security-related concerns interact and shape local perceptions of legitimacy through two oppositional discursive frames: a liberation frame and an occupation frame. The findings suggest that local mission legitimacy builds on the perceived will and capacity of ISAF troops to help and protect Afghans in ways that are in accordance with Afghan, most notably Islamic, ways of life. The article concludes that ISAF troops are widely perceived to have failed on both ideational and security-based grounds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014
Keyword
legitimacy, local perceptions, ISAF, Afghanistan, international forces, local population, frames, fieldwork
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-248052 (URN)10.1080/13698249.2014.984383 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-03-26 Created: 2015-03-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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