McNerney (2005-2006) cautioned that U.S. military and civilian personnel must remain attuned to their relationship-development efforts with local Afghans. He argued that it is necessary to have a comprehensive sense of “local power structures” so that the U.S. can accurately determine whether its empowering “good” or “bad” actors. Isaacson and Ball (2006) and Weinstein and Vaishnav (2006) emphasized this as well noting that a focus on short-term security gains at the expense of long term development of local and civilian resources can further weaken fragile states.
Perception is partly responsible for the increasing Afghan attacks on foreign NGO and UN agencies and their workers. Lindisfarne (2008) observed that the average income of an Afghan worker is thought to be approximately $400 annually (conclusive statistics are not currently available). Conversely, the researcher observed, foreign personnel based in Kabul have a pay between 60 to 300 times the amount of $400. As one might have guessed, this has engendered a great deal of frustration in the population, particularly as promised aid monies have fallen significantly short of what was promised (much of that money disappearing into private coffers), and the tensions have periodically spilled over into violence.
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