Afghanistan faces a major milestone in 2014: the withdrawal of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops by the end of the year.
ISAF’s combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghan soil, ending a 13-year war against an unbeatable insurgency.
The new NATO military mission - which will be formalized through the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by the next president of Afghanistan (successor to Hamid Karzai) - should begin on January 2015. This is likely to have deep implications for NATO’s role in Afghanistan.
NATO forces remaining in Afghanistan from 2015 in order to make an enduring contribution to stability, could be about 8,000 to 12,000 advisors/trainers and counterterrorism and special forces, largely from the US; and, as declared by President Obama, the US plans to withdraw the last American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 when there would be only a reduced force able to protect the embassy in Kabul and to support Afghans in security work.
This transition process is marked by interconnected dynamics:
•on the one hand, a decrease in territory under the control of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) has been recorded;
•on the other, the reduction of ISAF troops led to a lack in security conditions, because of the increased operational capabilities of Armed Opposition Groups (AOG) and decreased ANSF capability (fewer direct actions against ISAF-NATO forces and an increase of attacks against the ANSF have been seen);
•finally, the Afghan state-building process has not been achieved, leaving the country without primary infrastructure for development. The Afghan government is currently powerless, unable to maintain stability within the country and economically dependent on the international community: in brief it is not far from substantial failure.