8746
What Now for Afghanistan?
International

What Now for Afghanistan?

With the end of the war, the country faces an uncertain future. The war in Afghanistan – for America, the longest war in its history – has ended. In a small and quiet ceremony in the presence of dozens of handpicked Afghan and international officials – the United States and its NATO allies lowered the flag of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and replaced it with Operation Resolute Support (ORS), which aims to assist, advise and mentor the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in its fight against terrorism and a resurgent Taliban post 2014. The Taliban spokesperson characterized the end of the ISAF/NATO mission as an admission of defeat. That is hardly surprising, but still the questions are what did the war bring for Afghanistan and what might the future hold given growing insecurity, economic uncertainty, and political instability? Tamim Asey, former professor of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) wrote for The Diplomat.
There is no doubt that Afghanistan is a better place today, with higher standards of living, than it was under the brutal Taliban regime. Billions of dollars in foreign aid, technical assistance, and thousands of lives lost in this brutal war have paved the way for a more prosperous, yet still fragile Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have attended institutions of higher education, Afghanistan has a government, a parliament, a judiciary, a vibrant civil society, and a strong presence of women across the spectrum. It has established embassies in more than 140 countries and maintains diplomatic relations with almost every nation on earth. Afghanistan is no longer the isolated and sanctioned country it was under the Taliban.

  Serious Challenges
However, with the US/NATO withdrawal, the country now faces some certain challenges: a prolonged election, a double-digit dip in its economic growth rate, an uncertain national unity government arrangement, a growing proxy war between its neighbors, and a divided elite with a criminal economy. To overcome these challenges, the Afghan political and economic elite need to reach a fundamental consensus that business as usual – huge influxes of foreign aid, free security assistance, international political support, divided politics, regional proxy wars – cannot continue.
The first priority of Afghan statesmen and policymakers should be internal stability and unity. A divided, poor and fragile Afghanistan will never be taken seriously by its neighbors and international partners. The new government will have to forge a national consensus – likely through a loya jirga (grand assembly) – on the fight against terrorism, internal peace and stability, and the agenda for economic reform. Without an overarching national consensus on the three key areas of the fight against terrorism, the peace process, and a robust economic reform agenda, approaches to each of these issues will be only sporadic and piecemeal and the country will remain fragile.
The Afghan elite must rise above their quest for power and money, put aside ethnic difference, and avoid the fate of previous regimes. In the meantime, Afghanistan must make a choice between one of the following three paths on the international stage:

  US Partnership
A Strategic Partner for US/NATO in the Region: The new Afghan president recently signed the US Bilateral Security and NATO Status of Forces agreements, but Afghanistan’s security situation remains perilous and its economy in shambles. If Afghanistan is to remain a strategic partner for the United States and NATO – both parties will have to take radical action. The partnership comes at a cost paid in blood and treasure for Afghanistan.

  Islamic Future
A Future with the Region and the Islamic World: On the other hand, Afghanistan can pursue robust diplomacy and close ties with the region at the expense of its strategic partnership with the United States and NATO. This means asking for peace in exchange for the Durand Line and strategic depth for Pakistan, protecting Indian interests in Afghanistan, and balancing out the interests of Middle Eastern countries.

  Alliance With Neighbors
An Alliance with China, India and Russia: Many strategists and international relations experts believe that the future of Afghanistan lies with its three key powerful neighbors, China, India and Russia. They argue that these countries should reach to some sort of regional consensus to deal with Afghanistan’s security and economic dilemmas post 2014. But each of these countries has conflicting interests in Afghanistan, which is also a major source of instability for them. Although.
The political and economic future of Afghanistan is fragile and uncertain. The recent budget deficit, reliance on foreign military assistance, divided elite, high rates of corruption, and the growing insecurity and resurgence of Taliban are all credible threats to the future of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. For years to come Afghanistan will need international and regional economic, political and military support before it can stand on its own. But as much as the international community needs to continue their support, Afghanistan will have to prove itself an equal and credible ally of its partners, in whichever option it chooses.

 

Short URL : http://goo.gl/U9sBCN

You can also read ...

Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a...
China Calls Pentagon Report Pure Guesswork
China’s Defense Ministry has lodged a complaint with the...
Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala, India, on August 18.
Rescuers have used helicopters and boats to evacuate thousands...
A man mourns over the casket of one of the children killed in the strike.
The bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating...
Officials Worry Trump May Back Erik Prince’s Plan to Privatize War in Afghanistan
US President Donald Trump is increasingly venting frustration...
Xi to Visit North Korea Next Month
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Pyongyang next...
Elder Statesman Kofi Annan Dies
Former United Nations secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize...

Trending

Googleplus