This mograph investigates culture and society in Afghanistan and recommends an operational approach leveraging a blend of formal and traditional institutions, working with the propensity of the Afghan system, and building capacity and legitimacy for GIRoA. It examines some commonly misunderstood concepts within Afghan culture such as qawm and tribe, and attempts to correct some of the misconceptions about Afghanistan as a 'tribal' society. It finds that Afghans draw their identity t from the tribe, but from the qawm-a more malleable and locally oriented system. The mograph also examines the intersection of traditional and formal Afghan institutions, Afghan culture, and ISAF intervention in four focus areas: governance and rule of law, security, development and ecomic growth, and ISAF organization. Afghanistan's chief characteristic is its physical and social complexity, including its variegated terrain, its diverse cultural tapestry, and the interplay between the two. This complex heterogeneity and fragmentation defies a mirror-imaged Western solution or even a singular, templated Afghan solution ostensibly exportable throughout Afghanistan. To manage the complexity of the Afghan system, the mograph recommends an agile, decentralized approach, synchronizing and synergizing efforts at the sub-provincial level, and maintaining an integrated, empowered, enduring presence in the districts. The decentralized approach will enhance counterinsurgency and nation-building efficacy in Afghanistan through a culturally savvy, locally focused, bottom-up system of transformation, setting conditions for qawm expansion as a way to defragment Afghanistan and Afghan society. This mograph will analyze research on the history and culture of Afghanistan and counterinsurgency as well as awareness of current military, interagency, and NGO operations with a particular emphasis on governance, rule of law, security, development, and ecomic capacity building. The author conducted interviews with military, interagency, and Afghan primary sources-field practitioners, and experts from academia. The author also drew upon personal experience in the field throughout Afghanistan, and his tes from successes and challenges in working with the Afghans and the Coalition. This mograph will explain some of the concepts and intricacies of Afghan culture that are vitally important for the Western counterinsurgent and nation-builder to understand. It will explain cultural patterns and traditional institutions that may be unfamiliar to the n-Afghan. The mograph will then investigate the intersection of Afghan culture with three focus areas-governance and rule of law, security, and development and ecomic growth-then explore ways to organize for effective counterinsurgency and nation-building. The conclusion provides a summary of cultural and operational lessons learned and recommendations looking forward.