Afghanistan Post-2014: Scenarios After the International Military Disengagement
19 June 2014
Scenarios After the International
President Obama has recently announced his long-awaited decision about the American military presence in Afghanistan after the end of ISAF. 9.800 American soldiers will remain in the country in 2015 and a few thousands troops from other NATO members will be part of the new NATO mission (Resolute Support). In 2016 the American troops will be reduced by a half and the following year the U.S. will withdraw the remaining soldiers. European countries will apparently do nearly the same. In the meantime the new afghan president, elected in June, is expected to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. and then the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) with NATO. Both will allow an international military presence in Afghanistan after ISAF’s departure. It is hard to predict if this light military commitment will be suitable to preserve the current situation in Afghanistan and hold back the Taliban insurgency. The process of Transition began in 2010, aimed at training and preparing the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF) to lead military operations in all the provinces by the end of 2014, although in part successful, cannot ensure a good security environment. Thus, the future of Afghanistan in the coming years is still uncertain. This ISPI study tries to shed some light on this uncertainty. The overall aim of the project is to offer an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan and to consider the possible scenarios after the end of ISAF mission, focusing on some relevant aspects. First of all, starting from the essential challenge to the stability in Afghanistan, it offers an assessment of the
Taliban insurgency. Second, it deals with the major consequences for NATO of the end of ISAF and a failing Afghanistan. Third, it looks at the Security Sector Reform carried out in Afghanistan and the concerns about the ANSF’s ability to cope with security in the light of the international military disengagement. Fourth, it explores the effects of withdrawal on humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan. And finally, it looks at the regional context assessing the impact of NATO’s departure on Central Asia security architecture in general and on Uzbekistan in particular.
This paper offers an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan through the lens of the Taliban insurgency. As the ISAF presence decreases, the onus will shift to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to secure the country and continue the fight against the insurgents still battling the Afghan government.
ISAF’s combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghan soil, ending a 13-year war against an unbeatable insurgency. The new NATO military mission should begin on January 2015. This is likely to have deep implications for NATO’s role in Afghanistan.
With the complete withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan in 2016 Kabul will face a sensitive and dangerous period of its transition. Focusing on the state of the security sector reform (SSR) process this policy brief argues that international forces, even if less influential, still act as a crucial buffer between armed parties competing for political power.
Afghanistan is again preparing for change. Most international forces are about to leave the country by end of 2014, Afghans expects to have a new President over the summer and there are signals of a major reduction in international assistance for the coming years.
The upcoming withdrawal of the NATO/ISAF military forces from the region is spreading serious concerns in Central Asia, because the Afghanistan's permanent condition of instability is perceived as the main source of threats to the regional security architecture.