AFGHANISTAN POST 2014;
AFGHANISTAN POST 2014; IMPERATIVES, DRIVERS AND SCENARIOS
1.Afghanistan has remained under challenging conditions since 1979 with major transitional periods almost every decade that badly affected the lives of its people. Firstly, war against former USSR, then an internal war, and lately a war along as well as against the US-led NATO forces, which has had its effects inside Afghanistan as well as neighbourhood, particularly Pakistan. Although the latest war (post 9/11) has been a result of actions taken by non-Afghan individuals and groups , main victims have been the people of Afghanistan. With another transition approaching in 2014 when majority of the US & NATO troops would leave Afghanistan, apprehensions and anxiety loom amongst Afghans as well as inhabitants of the region, as its effects would not be limited to the geographical boundaries of Afghanistan. Prudence implies understanding the current situation and taking proactive measures based on post 2014 likely scenarios i.e. after the drawdown of US & NATO troops.
2.Aim. Aim of this Paper is to analyze imperatives and identify drivers in order to develop likely post 2014 scenarios in Afghanistan.
Current Environment in Afghanistan
3.In order to identify relevant imperatives for security situation of post 2014 Afghanistan, it is important to understand the current environment. Placed at Annex A is the appraisal of current environment in Afghanistan. Salient conclusions are as follows:- a.Internal Security (IS) situation in Afghanistan is unstable. b.Afghan Government is factionalized and lacks competency.
c.Continuous foreign economic assistance is vital for sustaining Afghan Government functions. d.ANSF’s Capacity is critical to ‘control, maintain and improve’ IS situation in Afghanistan, particularly during drawdown and post-2014 time periods. e.Besides ANSF’s capacity, future of internal security in Afghanistan is also closely linked to future plan and role of Taliban. f.Success of Afghan Reconciliation Process is key to stability beyond 2014. An all-inclusive participation of internal stakeholders (including Taliban) in Afghan Elections, with consensus-based representation in ensuing central government, would be necessary for stable Afghan Govt. It would also determine post 2014 presence of US & NATO combat troops in Afghanistan. Imperatives
4.Abovementioned appraisal helps us infer following imperatives that can be divided in to three main groups: Political, Economic and Security:-
a.Political Imperatives. Political imperatives can be further divided into two major factors:-
(1)Legitimacy of Current Afghan Govt. Although current Govt does not have much time before next Presidential Elections in 2014, however their effectiveness and efficiency along with increased focus on reducing corruption, is extremely essential to provide requisite base for free & fair elections. Bringing Taliban and other armed groups into political process would only be possible through fair dialogue and true intentions of present Govt. Additionally, performance of President Karzai’s Govt would also be crucial for realization of financial assistance through ‘Tokyo Framework’.
(2)Afghan Reconciliation Process. The reconciliation process aims at an Afghan-led mechanism to bring all ethnic as well as armed groups into the political process. While majority of the stakeholders in this process are Afghans, many believe that Pakistan has a major role to play for success of the process. Additionally, some ethnic groups in Afghanistan also believe that bringing Taliban into political stream would enhance Pakistan’s influence into Afghanistan’s internal affairs. Major contentions between US-backed Afghan stance and Taliban include current Afghan Constitution and extent of US/NATO combat troops’ presence post 2014.