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Institute of Advanced Study

Mr James Page

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at St Aidan's College, Durham University (October - December 2013 & January - March 2014)

Mr James Page is the Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Assistance Mission Afghanistan (UNAMA). Mr Page has experience in International Relations, Political Affairs, Diplomacy, and has been undertaking work on the front line with the United Nations Assistance Mission with a focus on Security Sector Reform, as a Political Affairs Officer with the lead for the Security Sector Reform.

Portfolio at UNAMA, this includes issues such as counter-insurgency, counter terror, army and police development, as well as ministry development matters and substantive involvement, including policy formation and shaping.

The research project looks at academic and policy debates over the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (‘drones’) in Afghanistan and connected operations in Pakistan. In particular, it seeks to explore the impact of their use in two connected but distinctive operations, which are conceptualised in distinctive fashions. The UN mandate authorising International Stabilisation and Assistance Force (ISAF) operations exists within a ‘counter insurgency’ framework (COIN), whilst US military and CIA operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan are framed within a ‘counter-terror’ (CT) discourse that is at odds with a good deal of counter-insurgency discourse, given its emphasis on threat-reduction of terrorist attacks against the US, as opposed to state building and ‘hearts and minds’ winning within COIN. Exploring the operational impacts of these competing framings of drone use offers a chance to explore and clarify a neglected but potentially crucial aspect of the drones debate. The research therefore focuses on public policy issues and draws on James Page’s personal experience as a UN official in Kabul working on security issues.