A Washigton Post article from several months ago highlights some of the lessons learned in building infrastructure for the Afghan National Security Forces: In helping Afghanistan build up its security forces, U.S. is trimming the frills. Then NTM-A Commanding General, LTG Caldwell, saw construction that made him cringe — but this construction was likely started 2 or 3 years ago before any lessons learned could be applied.
That raises an interesting dichotomy: We can’t trust the ANSF with pedestal porcelain sinks and air conditioning but we can trust them with helicopters, a pilot school, up-armored humvees, a mobile strike force, and computers. Maybe working more on the basics such as reading, weapons safety, and training them to drive would reduce the demand for flight medics, vehicle recovery techniques, and doctors.
Next time we rebuild a country, many more lessons will be available but we’ll probably reinvent the wheel anyway.