Afghanistan: Outlook & way forward, Pts 1 & 2

Afghanistan: Outlook & way forward, Pts 1 & 2

Postby Oscar » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:23 pm

A bleak outlook for Afghanistan and a way forward: Part One

[ https://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=24855 ]

April 3, 2017 Ceasefire.ca

by Mathieu Potter, NPSIA [ http://carleton.ca/npsia/ ] Masters student and Rideau Institute Progressive Public Policy Intern

As conflict in Iraq and Syria captures the bulk of media attention, ongoing instability in Afghanistan has seemingly failed to generate much interest among the Western public. This is perhaps an indication of a broader ‘fatigue’ with Afghanistan’s ongoing and intractable conflict with insurgent groups like the Taliban. Despite a decade-long NATO-led and UN-sanctioned campaign to stabilize and develop Afghanistan, positive progress has largely been overshadowed by an apparently endless series of challenges and setbacks that continue to plague all major sectors of Afghan society.

“Some of the challenges identified [ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/e ... O_STU(2017)578033_EN.pdf ] in the Afghan security sector include issues of loyalty and high desertion rate, the level of corruption and the lack of full control over government militias, human rights violations and the lack of intelligence capabilities and gathering.

According to a recent report to the European Parliament [ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/e ... O_STU(2017)578033_EN.pdf ], Afghanistan’s security is degrading. The Taliban insurgency has made significant territorial gains, with estimates placing them in control of close to a fifth of the country. To make matters worse, the Islamic state in the Khorasan (ISK), an affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), emerged in 2015 and currently operates in Afghanistan’s eastern region in reported collusion with the Pakistani Taliban. While the ISK’s ambitions have been stymied by conflict with the Afghan Taliban and pro-government forces, the group (should claims of responsibility be taken seriously) has shown itself capable of inflicting serious casualties with an attack on Kabul’s main military hospital [ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/08/worl ... .html?_r=1 ]. As violence escalates, the brunt of the conflict is borne by Afghan civilians who, according to UNAMA [ https://unama.unmissions.org/sites/defa ... _final.pdf ], suffered their highest number of casualties in 2016 since reporting began in 2009.

“With all this politicking, it’s easy to see why Afghans and Afghanistan’s allies alike are frustrated and confused.

More . . .

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A bleak outlook for Afghanistan and a way forward: Part Two

[ https://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=24862 ]

April 7, 2017 Ceasefire.ca By Mathieu Potter

Acknowledging the precarious security situation in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Nicholson spoke before Senate officials in February of 2017 and requested several thousand additional troops for operations on Afghan soil [ https://theintercept.com/2017/03/15/tru ... calate-it/ ]. However, as the 30,000-soldier troop surge under then-President Barack Obama demonstrated, an increase in military force is at best a band-aid solution to Afghanistan’s instability and has proven insufficient to achieve sustainable peace. Moreover, a larger foreign presence has the very real potential to occasion an escalation of the conflict. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has stated that a troop surge is not the answer, and risks reinvigorating the Taliban’s narrative of the threat posed by foreign occupation.

“why it is anything other than a fantasy to suggest that 20,000 or even 30,000 troops in Afghanistan under Trump — as opposed to the 8,400 U.S. troops currently deployed there as part of a NATO support mission — will be able to achieve the victory denied to 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan under Obama in 2010? [ https://theintercept.com/2017/03/15/tru ... calate-it/ ]

The reality is that Afghanistan’s struggles with security, good governance, and economic development are the result of a web of interconnected factors. There is no quick fix solution to Afghanistan’s woes, but there are policy avenues that promise potential solutions to some of the more pressing issues.

First and foremost, an end to political infighting and the implementation of key reform initiatives are necessary if the central government in Kabul is to retain any shred of legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Afghans. While the international community, whose financial aid supports much of the NUG’s activities [ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/e ... O_STU(2017)578033_EN.pdf ], should increase its pressure on the Afghan President and the Chief Executive to agree to a constructive power-sharing relationship, political harmony cannot be imposed. Good governance will above all demand that Afghans in positions of power rise to the responsibilities of their offices and act in the interests of their nation.

“The postponement of political and electoral reform [ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/e ... O_STU(2017)578033_EN.pdf ] – along with the NUG’s very public displays of infighting – deprives the NUG of its authority and legitimacy among the Afghan people. There is evidence that popular discontent is growing.

More . . .
Oscar
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