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Research Report

Afghanistan 2011-2014 and beyond:: from support operations to sustainable peace

Luis Peral
Co-edited by Ashley J. Tellis
Masood Aziz
Zuhra Bahman
James Dobbins
Gilles Dorronsoro
Etienne de Durand
Eva Gross
Ali Ahmed Jalali
Said Jawad
Martin Kobler
Clare Lockhart
Bettina Muscheidt
Luis Peral
Shannon Scribner
Barbara J. Stapleton
Caroline Wadhams
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2011
Pages: 68
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 5-9)
    Luis Peral

    The EUISS and Carnegie co-organised a two-day expert meeting in Washington D.C. on the transfer of security responsibilities from NATO to the government of Afghanistan and on the impact that the concomitant cutback of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops may have on the ground. The discussion also focused on productive ways of transforming what is fundamentally a US military-led security operation into an internationally-led civilian peacebuilding operation.

    The group of experts was composed primarily of Afghans, Americans and Europeans, making for a rather unusual combination of perspectives. The keynote speeches delivered by the NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Operations, the...

  2. (pp. 10-12)
    Martin Kobler

    In the general framework of where we stand in 2011 there is consensus on two points. First, the strong desire on the part of the international community to show that military commitment is not unlimited: if you look at the Dutch or many other countries’ parliamentarians, you see there is a desire to get out of Afghanistan militarily.

    Second, there is no military solution to the conflict. There is a split between mid-level commanders and the Quetta Shura, but despite this there will be no military solution if there is no action on the political level. 2011 is indeed an...

  3. (pp. 13-29)

    The failure of the Bonn Accords to produce a viable peace plan was further exacerbated by the absence of a cohesive long-term post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation strategy in Afghanistan. A narrow focus on fighting terrorism created numerous limitations for political approaches aimed at reaching out to reconcilable elements that later managed to regroup and launch the insurgency. There has been no clarity about whom to talk to, what political cost is acceptable in order to achieve peace and what kind of an end state is envisioned. Attempts by different Afghan and foreign actors to engage the insurgents lack transparency, as...

  4. (pp. 30-41)

    It is important to remember that Afghanistan has been going through a transition for the past decade; a transition from the Taliban rule to a democracy and from war to peace. For me the biggest indicator of the success of the transition so far is the transformation of my situation: from having only eight years of education confined to my home a decade ago, to being able to get an education and articulate my thoughts now. While changes such as better access to education and work, the opportunity to participate in the public sphere as well as better communication and...

  5. (pp. 42-52)

    Whenever we talk about Afghanistan, we must always keep these figures in mind: since the ousting of the Taliban, 90% of international assistance has gone to security. Of the remaining 10-12%, 70% has gone outside the government. No wonder that the state is weak and that we lack governance, institutions and capacity. The numbers are clear. There is no need for us to bang our heads against the wall and ask why.

    In 2007 the United States Geological Survey (USGS) announced the discovery of large mineral reserves, significant in both size and nature. This could be a game-changer. Suddenly a...

  6. (pp. 53-58)

    To start addressing the question of the role of Afghanistan’s neighbours, I first want to point out that we have a serious crisis developing in the next few years. The Afghan state is unable to control its border; thus arms and groups can cross where and when they want in many places along the border. With the withdrawal of international forces starting this summer, we have, potentially, a situation comparable to the 1990s, where every country chooses its champion. If we do not change the regional dynamics, Afghanistan’s neighbours will use their proxies to assert their influence and, as a...