Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00

Central Asia and the Afghanistan Security Dilemma: Amelioration, Retrograde, or Status Quo? Central Asia’s Role in Regional Security Regarding Afghanistan after 2014

Written by  Timothy A. Krambs
The regional security of Central Asia hinges on the level of stability within Afghanistan and its foreign relations with its neighbors. Afghanistan is not only pivotal in the maintenance of regional security, but is also crucial to the region’s economic and political development. As Ashraf Ghani, chairman of the Afghan transition commission, stated, “The region needs to make a choice, a stable Afghanistan … is absolutely essential.” However, there is looming doubt as to the ability of Afghan forces to be able to defend the state against domestic and external insurgent movements and to sustain the progress in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency that the U.S.-backed, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan has established under UN mandates since the United States initiated military action against the Taliban in 2001. The year 2014 is the deadline that has been set for ISAF troops to withdraw from the war-torn country and hand over the responsibility for ensuring security in the nation to the Afghan Security Forces. Currently the U.S. and NATO forces are transitioning from a mission of combat to one of support. The participants of the “Bonn+10” conference identified 2011 as the dividing point “From Transition to the Transformation Decade,” during which the burden on the international community to assist Afghanistan in maintaining peace and continuing to develop its governmental reforms should gradually diminish. Several important questions require informed and insightful responses: During this “Transformation decade,” what will the security picture in Afghanistan look like? Who will supplant the U.S. forces and complement the Afghan security forces to establish the necessary stability in Afghanistan to allow further economic and political development in the country and the region?