In this study, Mr. Prakhar Sharma synthesizes quantitative and qualitative research (gathered between December 2006 and May 2010) to provide a succinct and informed perspective on the country’s key non-traditional sources of instability. The primary impediments to security in Afghanistan are the following: insurgency; rampant criminality (human trafficking, drug production and trade, and arms proliferation); ethnic/tribal feuds; and dubious local partnerships of the international community. Poor rule of law and governance, and demographic shifts also bear on security. As each of these issues is discussed, it becomes evident that they are all intertwined. Indeed, addressing one issue without taking account of its relationship to the others will hinder stabilization goals in Afghanistan.
As a 2009/2010 Visiting Fellow at Stimson, Mr. Sharma analyzed non-traditional security challenges in Afghanistan and their implications on the prospects for internal political dialogue and regional consensus. Local Contours of Security in Afghanistan is a result of over two years (2007-2009) of research inside the country that involved undertaking provincial- and district-based assessments by traveling across all Afghan regions, and designing perception surveys to support the livelihood and broader stabilization initiatives in Afghanistan.