Planting the Seeds
The best solutions will always remain homegrown ones. A good example is neighboring Tanzania, where the founding father, the late Julius K. Nyerere, created a brand of socialism called Ujamaa. While it might have failed from an economic viewpoint, Ujamaa (collective socialism but with a distinctly Tanzanian flavor), united the country like few African states have - including my own, Kenya.
The fact that Nyerere tried shows there's life and ability to think and innovate. That remains the best way forward. No foreign government can fully appreciate the local viewpoint, as has been shown with the USA's misunderstanding and total misreading of the Arab-Jewish conflict throughout their involvement in the Middle East. All that's left behind is civil war (e.g. in Somalia, Iraq and now Afghanistan).
From a community development viewpoint, partnership goes a far longer way than imposing one's beliefs. The starting point is to listen, and this is an active process that doesn't allow the listener to speak. What do the locals want? What do they consider their core challenges? What do they value most and likewise hate? What are their myths and legends all about? Minus knowledge of these and more, no understanding can be got.
Where on earth, and through history, have conquests ever produced anything other than resentment from locals? The story's underlying premise is true. Allow the Afghans, on behalf of any other local people groupings, to actively influence and decide their futures. Only partner with them.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost