Did U.S. Aid ‘Win Hearts and Minds’ in Afghanistan?

Posted January 6, 2017 at 9:09am

Renard Sexton, a doctoral candidate in the politics department at New York University, writes in The Washington Post: “Over the past decade, U.S. military expeditions have increasingly used development aid to undermine popular support for insurgents and extremist groups, and pacify turbulent areas. But does this tool work in conflict zones like Afghanistan?”

“My new research published in the American Political Science Review provides evidence that aid spending by the U.S. military in Afghanistan in many cases produced violent backlash from insurgents against troops and civilians.”

“Aid distributed in districts under the control of coalition forces reduced violence. But aid distributed in contested districts of Afghanistan actually increased the level of violence carried out by insurgents against both civilians and the U.S. military.”