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Eric James and Tim Jacoby

This chapter not only provides a general account of Afghanistan’s past but focuses on the history of the humanitarian-military relationship prior to the 2001 invasion. It uses the framework developed in Chapter 3 in analyzing the recent history of Afghanistan within the context of humanitarian-military relations. Three elements – technology, strategy and ethics – were established as historical drivers contributing to a close relationship between humanitarians and the military. This chapter traces five periods (from 1945-2001) which will be examined in light of these three elements.

in The military-humanitarian complex in Afghanistan
Eric James and Tim Jacoby

This chapter discusses key controversies and tensions which will serve as a foundation for the research questions of this book. The key underlying issue concerning this relationship is that humanitarians are faced with a choice of working closely with the military or keeping distance. This has been described as a relatively straightforward analysis as a case “for” and “against” close relations with the military or, put another way, “integrated” and “segregated” approaches depending on the degree of separation between organizations. These two approaches are adopted as a basic means for examining the key controversies in the humanitarian-military relationship. These positions are analyzed from a number of angles including ethical, management and political perspectives thus looking at issues such as human rights and security.

in The military-humanitarian complex in Afghanistan
Abstract only
Eric James and Tim Jacoby

This first chapter introduces the issues of Humanitarianism and conflict in Afghanistan. Five commonly held assumptions are presented and Afghanistan and its wider relevance are discussed. As a foundation, a number of key concepts are outlined and the book’s structure is presented.

in The military-humanitarian complex in Afghanistan
A historiography
Eric James and Tim Jacoby

The humanitarian and military spheres have never been as different as distinct as they might appear. In fact, the relationship between civilians and the military during and after war has been closely intertwined – in some cases, humanitarians and the military have been one and the same. To help explain how this relationship evolved over time, this chapter examines three closely interlinked stimuli – technology, strategy and ethics – which both created the need for humanitarians and prompted the military to undertake “humanitarian” tasks.

in The military-humanitarian complex in Afghanistan
Authors: Eric James and Tim Jacoby

Over recent years, the relationship between humanitarians and the military has become especially controversial. Concerns over inefficient and duplicated assistance programs and the compromised security of relief workers have been regularly highlighted. Many point to ongoing tensions and polarized positions that seem to leave NGOs a stark choice between “neutrality” and co-option. Using Afghanistan as a case study, this book analyses this apparent duality. It puts forward five basic arguments. First, the history of the relationship extends prior to the birth of modern humanitarianism. Second, inter-organizational friction is common between groups and it does not always have a detrimental impact. Third, working with the military does not necessarily create more dangerous situations for NGOs. Fourth, humanitarian principles are not a fixed set of propositions, but evolve according to temporal and situational context. Finally, humanitarians are generally not co-opted, but rather willingly take part in political-military endeavors. In all, it is suggested that NGOs tend to change their policies and actions depending on the context. The book thus transcends the simple “for” or “against” arguments, leading to a more refined understanding of the relationship between NGOs and the military.