Interesting article by Tom Brouns reposted by Mark Sedra.
Rather than a population-centric approach, I recommend a perception-centric approach. That is, all actions undertaken should build a growing perception that success is inevitable for the growing Afghan government. Efforts to curb corruption and enhance legitimacy, transparency, and responsibility are critical to this approach. International development efforts also support this approach, especially if they can somehow be portrayed as the result of efforts and decisions by Afghan leaders. However, the perception-centric approach must also be fully integrated in the military effort – to include policy (think detention and solatia payments), planning (are we seizing terrain or are we demonstrating Afghan capability?) and tactical operations (going beyond mitigation). Former RC South Commander MG Ton van Loon stated, "Every course of action that is likely to antagonize the population should be removed from consideration." To take this a step further, courses of action should be designed from the outset to increase popular support for their government.