2012 Amerikaanse ooreenkoms oor Afghanistan - geskiedenis

2012 Amerikaanse ooreenkoms oor Afghanistan - geskiedenis

2012 Amerikaanse Afghanistan -ooreenkoms

Pakistan se grens

Die Verenigde State en die regering van Afghanistan onderteken die "Duurende strategiese vennootskapsooreenkoms tussen die Islamitiese Republiek Afghanistan en die Verenigde State van Amerika. Hierdie ooreenkoms het 'n langtermynooreenkoms vir die Verenigde State gebied om die regering van Afghanistan te help. Op 'n NAVO-beraad oor 21 Mei 2012, het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die NAVO stadig sou onttrek en die veiligheid van die onderneming na die Afghanistan -magte sou draai.



Sowjette stem in om uit Afghanistan terug te trek

Verteenwoordigers van die USSR, Afghanistan, die Verenigde State en Pakistan onderteken 'n ooreenkoms waarin gevra word dat die Sowjet -magte uit Afghanistan moet onttrek. In ruil vir die beëindiging van die betwiste Sowjet-besetting, het die Verenigde State ingestem om hul wapensteun vir die Afgaanse anti-Sowjet-faksies te beëindig, en Afghanistan en Pakistan het ooreengekom om nie in mekaar se sake in te meng nie.

In 1978 het 'n staatsgreep met 'n Sowjet-steun in Afghanistan 'n nuwe kommunistiese regering onder Nur Mohammad Taraki geïnstalleer. In 1979 het 'n tweede staatsgreep egter die regering van Taraki omvergewerp ten gunste van Hafizullah Amin, 'n Moslemleier wat minder gunstig was vir die Sowjets. In Desember 1979 het Sowjet-tenks en troepe Afghanistan binnegeval, en Amin is vermoor tydens 'n staatsgreep wat deur die Sowjet gesteun is. Babrak Karmal, 'n produk van die KGB, is in sy plek geïnstalleer.

Ten spyte van vroeë winste, het die Sowjet -leër onverwagte weerstand ondervind deur Moslem -guerrillas, wat 'n jihad, of ȁHeilige oorlog, ” teen die buitelandse ateïste. Gewapen deur die Verenigde State, Brittanje, China en verskeie Moslem -nasies, het die muhajadeen, of ȁHeilige krygers, ” het die Russe groot ongevalle toegedien. In die USSR het die Rooi Leër se versuim om die guerrilla's te onderdruk, en die hoë koste van die oorlog in Russiese lewens en hulpbronne, aansienlike onenigheid in die Kommunistiese Party en die Sowjet -samelewing veroorsaak. In April 1988, na jare se dooiepunt, onderteken die Sowjetleier Mikhail Gorbatsjof 'n vredesooreenkoms met Afghanistan. In Februarie 1989 verlaat die laaste Sowjet -soldaat Afghanistan, waar die burgeroorlog voortduur totdat die Taliban aan die einde van die negentigerjare die mag oorgeneem het.


Die VSA wou eens vrede in Afghanistan hê

Vir George W. Bush was die doel die vernietiging van al-Qaeda, die totale nederlaag van die Taliban en 'n 'stabiele en vrye en vreedsame' Afghanistan. Vir Barack Obama was dit 'n verswakte Taliban waarmee beredeneer kon word, maar geweld sou moes prysgee, vroue moet respekteer en die Afghaanse grondwet moet nakom. Vir Donald Trump was dit net 'n vermindering in geweld en 'n duidelike pad na die deur - die Afghanen sou self die res moes uitvind.

Gedurende byna twee dekades se oorlog in Afghanistan, het die Amerikaanse regering oorgegaan van 'n poging om die Taliban uit te roei, tot moedswillig met hulle te vergader, om openlik met hulle te onderhandel, voordat hulle uiteindelik 'n ooreenkoms met hulle onderteken. En op elke tydstip het die verwagtinge gedaal.

Die ooreenkoms wat die Verenigde State en die Taliban vandag onderteken het, is baie belangrik om te gebeur en is beskeie vir wat dit bevat. In wese strek dit uit 'n sewe dae lange wapenstilstand waarin Amerikaanse en Taliban-magte mekaar nie aanval nie, 'n beroep op die Afghanen doen om onder mekaar te praat en 'n plan vir 'n Amerikaanse onttrekking oor 14 maande op te stel. Die VSA gaan onmiddellik nêrens heen nie, en die Taliban is ook nie eens daar nie eens 'n volle skietstilstand. Implisiet in dit alles is die groter erkenning dat dit vir die VSA sal gaan om die lat te verlaag om vir Amerika uit Afghanistan te kom.

Administrasiebeamptes lyk self vasbeslote om die verwagtinge aan te hou. 'Ons kom nie tot 'n vredesooreenkoms nie,' het 'n senior amptenaar, op voorwaarde van anonimiteit, gesê in 'n briefing dae voordat die minister van buitelandse sake, Mike Pompeo, na Doha gegaan het vir die ondertekeningseremonie. 'Ons begin 'n bespreking oor 'n politieke skikking of 'n vredesooreenkoms ... Maar ons is aan die begin van hierdie proses.'

Die ooreenkoms spesifiseer dat die VSA binne 'n bietjie meer as 'n jaar al sy magte uit die land sal trek, mits die Taliban die ooreenkoms bereik. Tog het die Taliban dit reggekry om selfs twee belangrike Amerikaanse doelwitte wat nog oorbly, te ontwyk: Die groep verloën nie formeel al-Qaeda nie en erken nie die Afgaanse regering formeel nie, maar sê dat Al-Qaeda nie die Taliban-gebied kan gebruik om die VSA of sy bondgenote te bedreig nie en dat dit sal deelneem aan intra-Afghaanse vredesgesprekke. Vroue sal aan hierdie gesprekke deelneem, maar Pompeo het hierdie maand gesê dat dit aan Afgane is om te besluit hoe hul regte beskerm sal word-wat die eise van die Obama-era effektief van die agenda laat val. (Die Taliban, wat deurgaans geëis het dat die Verenigde State onmiddellik moet vertrek, het ook nie die doel bereik nie: die ooreenkoms lui dat die VSA binne 135 dae tot 8 600 troepe sal terugtrek - wat die getal troepe weer op die vlak sal bring wat hulle was Trump het sy amp aangeneem.)

Hierdie ooreenkoms kan die meer beperkte ambisies van die VSA in Afghanistan veranker, maar eintlik het die verlaging van die balk begin kort nadat die oorlog plaasgevind het, terwyl drie opeenvolgende presidente na oorwinning gesoek het en eerder geweld gevind het. Amerikaanse ambisies het in 2001 eintlik bedrieglik beskeie gelyk, want die oorlog was veronderstel om maklik te wees - 'n omverwerping van die Taliban -regering, wat dan Afghanistan bestuur, 'n bietjie humanitêre hulp en die verkiesing van 'n nuwe vriendelike regering om te verseker dat terroriste nie kon t gebruik die land om die Verenigde State aan te val. Maar teen 2006 het die Taliban 'n opstand begin, en Bush het sy presidentskap in 2008 beëindig deur nog duisende Amerikaanse troepe na die geveg te stuur. Teen daardie tyd was die onmiddellikste doel om 'basiese veiligheid te herstel' - ver van sy vroeëre hoop op ''n vrye en stabiele demokrasie'.

Obama het gelyktydig hulpbronne ingesamel - die getal troepe het gestyg van 31 000 aan die einde van die Bush -administrasie tot ongeveer 100 000 in 2010 - en die verwagtinge verlaag vir wat bereik kan word. Hy het gepraat oor die noodsaaklikheid om Al-Qaeda te "ontwrig, te ontmantel en te verslaan" en om terug te keer na Afghanistan. Ongeveer dieselfde tyd erken die minister van buitelandse sake, Hillary Clinton, dat die administrasie kontak met die Taliban voer, maar dring daarop aan dat enige onderhandelinge die volgende uitkomste vereis: "Opstandelinge moet afstand doen van geweld, Al-Qaeda laat vaar en die grondwet van Afghanistan nakom, insluitend die beskerming daarvan vir vroue en minderhede. As opstandelinge nie aan die rooi lyne kan voldoen nie, sal hulle voortdurend en onophoudelik aangeval word. ”

'Kyk, dit is Afghanistan,' het 'n anonieme Amerikaanse amptenaar gesê Die New York Times in 2012. “Gaan dit Switserland wees? Geen." Die koerant het destyds opgemerk dat die mantra rondom Washington 'goed genoeg Afghaanse' was, en dat die verwagtinge dat die sentrale regering in Kaboel selfs die hele gebied van Afghanistan eenvoudig sou beheer, verdamp het. Dan wou die nasionale veiligheidsadviseur Tom Donilon net ''n mate van stabiliteit' 'hê om te keer dat Al-Qaeda aanvalle begin, die Tye gerapporteer, maar selfs dit was ontwykend. Lawrence Nicholson, die nou afgetrede mariene luitenant-generaal wat in 2009-2010 'n troepestroom na die suidelike provinsie Helmand gelei het, het vir my gesê: 'Baie van die gebiede wat ons gestabiliseer en van Taliban verwyder het, het dadelik teruggegaan [na die Taliban-beheer ] nadat ons vertrek het ... Dit was soos om jou hand uit 'n emmer water te trek. "

Dus, toe Trump in die amp kom, was hy nie uniek in sy begeerte om te vertrek nie - en het toe die derde president in 'n ry geword wat besluit het om meer troepe te stuur. 'My oorspronklike instink was om uit te trek,' het hy in 2017 gesê, 'en histories hou ek daarvan om my instinkte te volg.' Maar: "Die gevolge van 'n vinnige uitgang is voorspelbaar en onaanvaarbaar." Hy het geen bevestigende rede vir die verblyf gegee nie, maar noem slegs die risiko's van vertrek. Die versekering van vroueregte was nie meer deel van die doelwit nie.

Dit het nog steeds Trump se gesant Zalmay Khalilzad meer as 'n jaar se onderhandelinge geneem om 'n ooreenkoms te bereik. Verlede herfs was die VSA en die Taliban op die punt om 'n ooreenkoms te onderteken toe Trump uittrek, met verwysing na die dood van 'n Amerikaanse soldaat in Kaboel. Hy het in 'n tweet onthul dat hy 'n buitengewone plan om die Taliban -verteenwoordigers saam met die Afgaanse president by Camp David te huisves, geskrap het binne 'n paar dae na die herdenking van die aanvalle op 11 September.

Hierdie keer is dit net Pompeo in Doha en minister van verdediging, Mark Esper, in Kaboel, hoewel Trump verlede week gesê het dat hy heeltemal bereid sou wees om die ooreenkoms self te onderteken. Die dood van twee Amerikaanse dienspligtiges in Afghanistan hierdie maand het nie die gesprekke in die wiele gery nie, nie tydens 'n Taliban -aanval nie, maar deur die hande van 'n Afgaan in uniform. Daardie mans het die getal Amerikaanse troepe wat vanjaar in Afghanistan gedood is, tot ses gebring - nou 2348 in die loop van die konflik. Ongeveer 43 000 Afghaanse burgerlikes is dood, volgens een skatting sterf Afganiese veiligheidsmagte vier jaar lank met ongeveer 9 000 per jaar tot 2018, toe het die Amerikaanse weermag gesê dat die ongevalle in 2019 hoër was, maar die statistieke ingedeel is.

Die senior administrasie -amptenaar wat die inligtingsessie oor die ooreenkoms voor die tyd gehou het, het '' 'n gesonde skeptisisme daaroor '' erken en selfs risiko's beklemtoon. 'Niemand sien 'n toenemende opbrengs op geweld in Afghanistan nie,' het die amptenaar gesê. 'Dit kan wees dat omstandighede nie afspeel soos ons dit wil hê nie. Maar ons glo wel dat dit die heel beste kans is. ”


Tien lesse wat die VSA uit die geskiedenis van Afghanistan moet leer

Afghanistan bied al te veel voorbeelde van die wysheid van Winston Churchill se woorde wat nie uit die geskiedenis leer nie, is gedoem om dit te herhaal. en raak vasgevang in die ongeluk van die Tweede Anglo-Afgaanse Oorlog (1878-80). Die Afgaanse Kommunistiese regering wat in 1978 tydens 'n militêre staatsgreep die bewind oorgeneem het, het blykbaar nie geleer uit die mislukte verwesterings- en hervormingseksperiment van koning Amanullah (1919-29) dat dit radikale veranderinge aangebring het en 'n wrede onderdrukking ondergaan het nie, wat vinnig 'n gewelddadige reaksie veroorsaak het. wat die nuwe regime bedreig het. Die Sowjetunie het sy militêre ingryping in Afghanistan aan die einde van 1979 optimisties beskou as 'n beperkte aksie met 'n kort tydshorison-aannames wat ongegrond was en waarvan 'n gebrek aan realisme duidelik sou blyk uit 'n oorsig van die Afghaanse geskiedenis. En dit lyk nie asof die Verenigde State en sy NAVO -bondgenote besin het oor lesse uit die Sowjet -besetting toe hulle na 9/11 die internasionale militêre ingryping in Afghanistan begin het nie, alhoewel, soos Bruce Riedel opgemerk het: & quotA -land veg selde dieselfde oorlog twee keer in een generasie, veral van teenoorgestelde kante. Tog beskryf dit in baie opsigte die Amerikaanse rol in Afghanistan vandag. & Quot

Afghanistan en sy internasionale vennote staan ​​nou voor 'n uitdagende proses van internasionale militêre onttrekking en oorgang na veiligheid, politieke, finansiële en ekonomiese sfere. Wat kan uit die geskiedenis van Afghanistan geleer word om hierdie proses in te lig en te help lei? In 'n onlangse referaat word parallelle en kontraste tussen verlede en hede uiteengesit, en 'n paar historiese temas en lesse wat relevant is vir die huidige oorgang en daarna, distilleer. Dit fokus op die verandering van die Sowjet-strategie en die militêre onttrekking daarvan uit Afghanistan (1986-89) en die daaropvolgende Sowjet-gesteunde Najibullah-regime (1989-92). Natuurlik moet alle lesse uit die geskiedenis versigtig toegepas word, met inagneming van die huidige situasie en groot verskille uit die verlede. Nietemin werp die bevindinge van die koerant lig op temas en lesse uit die geskiedenis van Afghanistan wat die huidige oorgangsbeplanning en die pad vorentoe kan inlig.

Eerstens is dit nodig om 'n paar mites en wanopvattings op te klaar. Afghanistan is 'n geografies goed gedefinieerde land, wie se grense gevorm is tydens 'n lang tydperk van konflikte en weerstand teen buitemagte, veral die Britse en Russiese Ryk. Die land dateer uit 1747 en het 'n baie langer geskiedenis as 'n aparte nasionale entiteit met kontinuïteit in die hede as die meeste van sy bure-soos Pakistan, wat in 1947 gestig is met kunsmatig afgebakende grense in twee afsonderlike dele, of die sentrale Asiatiese state aan die noord gevorm na die uitbreek van die USSR aan die einde van 1991. Anders as by sommige van sy bure, het Afghanistan nog nooit 'n beduidende afskeidingsbeweging gehad nie. En die periode 1933-73 toon aan dat die land stabiel en doeltreffend bestuur kan word. Die Afghaanse monargiale staat dring nie diep in op die platteland nie, en was ook nie ontwikkelend suksesvol nie, maar het wel die vrede behou en orde gehandhaaf, intern en ekstern as wettig beskou, redelike beheer oor sy grense behou, onafhanklike diplomasie uitgeoefen in 'n moeilike streek, en beperk en monitor die aktiwiteite van buitelanders binne die land-basiese staatsfunksies wat daaropvolgende Afghaanse regerings gesukkel het om te vervul.

Tweedens moet die verwagtinge oor die tempo van vordering beskeie gehou word. Of dit nou binnelands of ekstern gedrewe is, te ambisieuse hervormingspogings met onrealisties kort tydsraamwerke-veral die wat die gevestigde magsverhoudinge in die landelike gebiede versteur en godsdiens, kultuur en die rol van vroue beïnvloed-het gelei tot skerp huishoudelike reaksies wat die ontwikkeling, soms dekades lank, terugsit. .

Ten derde is die moontlikheid dat bure in Afghanistan 'n rol speel en rolle -wedywering ondermyn, die oorgang ondermyn. Geskiedkundige ervaring en die huidige situasie in Pakistan dui daarop dat daar 'n behoefte is om ten minste te beplan vir gebeurlikheidsbeplanning ten opsigte van Pakistan, byvoorbeeld om 'n betekenisvolle vredesooreenkoms met die Taliban te voorkom. Iran en in mindere mate ander streekslande kan ook kwessies ter sprake bring vir die oorgang. Meer algemeen toon die Sowjet -onttrekkingstydperk beide die probleme om 'n vreedsame oplossing vir 'n konflik tydens militêre onttrekking te kry, sowel as die nadelige gevolge van die versuim om dit te doen.

In die vierde plek word die geskiedenis van Afghanistan gekenmerk deur chroniese opvolgingsprobleme en gepaardgaande konflik. Daar was inderdaad nie sedert 1933, en slegs drie keer sedert 1747, 'n gladde opeenvolging van die een heerser na die ander nie. Van die agt leiers van Afganistan gedurende 1973-2001, het almal behalwe een gewelddadige sterftes gesterf of is hulle van die mag verwyder. Die geskiedenis beklemtoon dus die uitdagings verbonde aan die politieke oorgang van 2014 en beklemtoon die noodsaaklikheid van effektiewe verkiesingsvoorbereidings en 'n politieke strategie om die vooruitsigte vir gladde verkiesings te maksimeer. As dit suksesvol sou wees en nie gevolg word deur geweld na die verkiesing nie, sou die volgende presidentsverkiesing 'n ongekende vreedsame oordrag van regeringsleierskap in die onlangse geskiedenis van Afghanistan behels.

Ten vyfde toon die post-Sowjet-onttrekkingsperiode die potensiaal en beperkings van die Afghaanse veiligheidsmagte: dit is waarskynlik die beste waarop Kabul en ander groot stede vasgehou kan word. Inderdaad, daar kan meer risiko's verbonde wees aan die Afghaanse Nasionale Weermag tydens en na die huidige oorgang, aangesien groter etniese faksionalisering dele van die ANA vroeër as later kan fragmenteer of verlaat, terwyl die post-Sowjet-Afgaanse weermag redelik goed bymekaar gehou het tot naby die einde .

Die sesde, die Sowjet- en post-Sowjet-ervaring met die bewapening en die betaling van milisies dui daarop dat hierdie benadering gevaarlik is, wat die onstabiliteit in gevaar stel as gevolg van die afhanklikheid van betalings aan milisie-leiers en die verergering van griewe en konflikdrywers as gevolg van roofdiere van baie milisies. 'N "Politieke markplek" soos gesien in sommige Afrika-lande, waar gefaksionaliseerde en korttermynbeskerming gebruik word vir politieke en veiligheidsbestuur om verskillende etniese groepe en streeksbelange bymekaar te hou, en waar transaksies bereik kan word en gereeld heropen word, insluitend deur middel van geweld, is onstabiel en bied nie 'n goeie grondslag vir suksesvolle oorgang of volgehoue ​​politieke vooruitgang nie.

Die sewende, effektiewe Afghaanse leierskap, wat 'n nasionale agenda volg, was van kritieke belang vir die bereiking van positiewe uitkomste in tye van verandering en oorgang in Afghanistan, waaronder buitelandse militêre onttrekkings. Internasionale ervaring beklemtoon ook die belangrikheid van effektiewe nasionale leierskap tydens oorgange, soos beklemtoon in die 2011 Wêreldontwikkelingsverslag Konflik, veiligheid en ontwikkeling.

Agtste, Afghanistan was gedurende die grootste deel van sy geskiedenis afhanklik van eksterne ondersteuning in verskillende vorme, en die huidige oorgang en die daaropvolgende tydperk sal geen uitsondering wees nie. Hoewel hulp beslis kan en behoort te daal van die buitengewoon hoë vlakke wat die afgelope paar jaar gesien is, sou die skielike ophou of skielike terugslag van die steun 'n resep vir 'n ramp wees, soos veral in 1991-1992 plaasgevind het toe die Sowjetunie in sy laaste dae alle steun gestaak het. na die Najibullah -regime en dit stort vinnig in duie.

Negende, die Afghaanse ekonomie is tans in 'n baie beter toestand as gedurende die Sowjet- en post-Sowjet-tydperk, nadat die afgelope dekade herstel en vinnige groei beleef het, in teenstelling met die wydverspreide vernietiging van infrastruktuur en die landelike ekonomiese basis en groot verplasing van die bevolking gedurende die 1980's en vroeë 1990's. In die komende jare moet die destabiliserende gevolge van 'n diep ekonomiese inkrimping vermy word, wat afhang van die handhawing van politieke stabiliteit, vermyding van agteruitgang in veiligheid en die opbou van vertroue, sowel as geleidelike eerder as abrupte afname in internasionale hulp.

Ten slotte is dit ook belangrik om 'n paar duidelike lesse uit die geskiedenis nie te leer nie. Byvoorbeeld, die problematiese ervaring van Afghanistan oor die afgelope vyf dekades met verdelende, ideologies en etnies gedrewe politieke partye het politieke partye in die algemeen 'n anathema gemaak vir baie Afghanen. Maar effektiewe politieke partye is 'n noodsaaklike bestanddeel in suksesvolle demokrasieë regoor die wêreld, en 'n seinmislukking van die tydperk na 2001 was dat meer nasionaal georiënteerde politieke partye nie ontstaan ​​en ontwikkel het nie.

Kortom, 'n paar lesse uit die onstuimige geskiedenis van Afghanistan is waarskuwings en waarskuwingstemas oor wat verkeerd kan gaan. Dit weerspieël die werklikheid van die land se geskiedenis, en beide Afghanen en internasionale vennote moet met oop oë vorentoe beweeg, sodat probleme en risiko's beter bestuur en verminder kan word in die mate wat dit moontlik is. Afganistan, die streek en die wêreld kan beslis nie die rampspoedige geskiedenis van die negentigerjare herhaal nie-'n ergste uitkoms waarvan die gevolge en skadelike gevolge tot vandag toe nog steeds gevoel word. Alle partye moet sterk inspan om te verseker dat so 'n herhaling van die geskiedenis vermy word.

William Byrd is 'n besoekende senior kenner by die United States Institute of Peace. Die menings wat hier uitgespreek word, is sy eie.

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Afghanistan bied al te veel voorbeelde van die wysheid van Winston Churchill se woorde wat nie uit die geskiedenis leer nie, is gedoem om dit te herhaal. en raak vasgevang in die ongeluk van die Tweede Anglo-Afgaanse Oorlog (1878-80). Die Afgaanse Kommunistiese regering wat in 1978 tydens 'n militêre staatsgreep die bewind oorgeneem het, het blykbaar nie geleer uit die mislukte verwesterings- en hervormingseksperiment van koning Amanullah (1919-29) dat dit radikale veranderinge aangebring het en 'n wrede onderdrukking aangewend het nie, wat vinnig 'n gewelddadige reaksie veroorsaak het. wat die nuwe regime bedreig het. Die Sowjetunie het sy militêre ingryping in Afghanistan aan die einde van 1979 optimisties beskou as 'n beperkte aksie met 'n kort tydshorison-aannames wat ongegrond was en waarvan 'n gebrek aan realisme sou blyk uit 'n oorsig van die Afghaanse geskiedenis. En dit lyk nie asof die Verenigde State en sy NAVO -bondgenote besin het oor lesse uit die Sowjet -besetting toe hulle na 9/11 die internasionale militêre ingryping in Afghanistan begin het nie, alhoewel, soos Bruce Riedel opgemerk het: & quotA -land veg selde dieselfde oorlog twee keer in een generasie, veral van teenoorgestelde kante. Tog beskryf dit in baie opsigte die Amerikaanse rol in Afghanistan vandag. & Quot

Afghanistan en sy internasionale vennote staan ​​nou voor 'n uitdagende proses van internasionale militêre onttrekking en oorgang na veiligheid, politieke, finansiële en ekonomiese sfere. Wat kan u uit die geskiedenis van Afghanistan leer om hierdie proses in te lig en te help lei? In 'n onlangse referaat word parallelle en kontraste tussen verlede en hede uiteengesit, en 'n paar historiese temas en lesse wat relevant is vir die huidige oorgang en daarna, distilleer. Dit fokus op die verandering van die Sowjet-strategie en die militêre onttrekking daarvan uit Afghanistan (1986-89) en die daaropvolgende Sowjet-gesteunde Najibullah-regime (1989-92). Natuurlik moet alle lesse uit die geskiedenis versigtig toegepas word, met inagneming van die huidige situasie en groot verskille uit die verlede. Nietemin werp die bevindinge van die koerant lig op temas en lesse uit die geskiedenis van Afghanistan wat die huidige oorgangsbeplanning en die pad vorentoe kan inlig.

Eerstens is dit nodig om 'n paar mites en wanopvattings op te klaar. Afghanistan is 'n geografies goed gedefinieerde land, wie se grense gevorm is tydens 'n lang tydperk van konflikte en weerstand teen buitemagte, veral die Britse en Russiese Ryk. Die land dateer uit 1747 en het 'n baie langer geskiedenis as 'n duidelike nasionale entiteit met kontinuïteit in die hede as die meeste van sy bure-soos Pakistan, wat in 1947 gestig is met kunsmatig afgebakende grense in twee afsonderlike dele, of die sentrale Asiatiese state aan die noord gevorm na die uitbreek van die USSR aan die einde van 1991. Anders as by sommige van sy bure, het Afghanistan nog nooit 'n beduidende afskeidingsbeweging gehad nie. En die periode 1933-73 toon aan dat die land stabiel en doeltreffend bestuur kan word. Die Afghaanse monargistiese staat dring nie diep deur op die platteland nie, en dit was ook nie baie suksesvol in die ontwikkeling nie, maar dit behou wel die vrede en handhaaf orde, word intern en ekstern as wettig beskou, redelike beheer oor sy grense behou, onafhanklike diplomasie uitgeoefen in 'n moeilike streek, en beperk en monitor die aktiwiteite van buitelanders binne die land-basiese staatsfunksies wat daaropvolgende Afghaanse regerings gesukkel het om te vervul.

Tweedens moet die verwagtinge oor die tempo van vordering beskeie gehou word. Of dit nou binnelands of ekstern gedrewe is, te ambisieuse hervormingspogings met onrealisties kort tydsraamwerke-veral die wat die gevestigde magsverhoudinge in die landelike gebiede versteur en godsdiens, kultuur en die rol van vroue beïnvloed-het gelei tot skerp huishoudelike reaksies wat die ontwikkeling, soms dekades lank, terugsit. .

Ten derde is die moontlikheid dat bure in Afghanistan 'n rol speel en rolle -wedywerings die oorgang ondermyn, baie werklik. Geskiedkundige ervaring en die huidige situasie in Pakistan dui daarop dat daar 'n behoefte is om ten minste te beplan vir gebeurlikheidsbeplanning ten opsigte van Pakistan, byvoorbeeld om 'n betekenisvolle vredesooreenkoms met die Taliban te voorkom. Iran en in mindere mate ander streekslande kan ook kwessies ter sprake bring vir die oorgang. Meer algemeen toon die Sowjet -onttrekkingstydperk beide die probleme om 'n vreedsame oplossing vir 'n konflik tydens militêre onttrekking te kry, sowel as die nadelige gevolge van die versuim om dit te doen.

In die vierde plek word die geskiedenis van Afghanistan gekenmerk deur chroniese opvolgingsprobleme en gepaardgaande konflik. Daar was inderdaad nie sedert 1933, en slegs drie keer sedert 1747, 'n gladde opeenvolging van die een heerser na die ander nie. Van die agt leiers van Afganistan gedurende 1973-2001, het almal behalwe een gewelddadige sterftes gesterf of is hulle van die mag verwyder. Die geskiedenis beklemtoon dus die uitdagings verbonde aan die politieke oorgang van 2014 en beklemtoon die noodsaaklikheid van effektiewe verkiesingsvoorbereidings en 'n politieke strategie om die vooruitsigte vir gladde verkiesings te maksimeer. As dit suksesvol sou wees en nie gevolg word deur geweld na die verkiesing nie, sou die volgende presidentsverkiesing 'n ongekende vreedsame oordrag van regeringsleierskap in die onlangse geskiedenis van Afghanistan behels.

Ten vyfde toon die post-Sowjet-onttrekkingsperiode die potensiaal en beperkings van die Afghaanse veiligheidsmagte: dit is waarskynlik die beste waarop Kabul en ander groot stede vasgehou kan word. Inderdaad, daar kan meer risiko's verbonde wees aan die Afghaanse Nasionale Weermag tydens en na die huidige oorgang, aangesien groter etniese faksionalisering dele van die ANA vroeër as later kan fragmenteer of verlaat, terwyl die post-Sowjet-Afgaanse weermag redelik goed bymekaar gehou het tot naby die einde .

Die sesde, die Sowjet- en post-Sowjet-ervaring met die bewapening en die betaling van milisies dui daarop dat hierdie benadering gevaarlik is, wat die onstabiliteit in gevaar stel as gevolg van die afhanklikheid van betalings aan milisie-leiers en die verergering van griewe en konflikdrywers as gevolg van roofdiere van baie milisies. 'N "Politieke markplek" soos gesien in sommige Afrika-lande, waar gefaksionaliseerde en korttermynbeskerming gebruik word vir politieke en veiligheidsbestuur om verskillende etniese groepe en streeksbelange bymekaar te hou, en waar transaksies bereik kan word en gereeld heropen word, insluitend deur middel van geweld, is onstabiel en bied nie 'n goeie grondslag vir suksesvolle oorgang of volgehoue ​​politieke vooruitgang nie.

Die sewende, effektiewe Afghaanse leierskap, wat 'n nasionale agenda volg, was van kritieke belang vir die bereiking van positiewe uitkomste in tye van verandering en oorgang in Afghanistan, waaronder buitelandse militêre onttrekkings. Internasionale ervaring beklemtoon ook die belangrikheid van effektiewe nasionale leierskap tydens oorgange, soos beklemtoon in die 2011 Wêreldontwikkelingsverslag Konflik, veiligheid en ontwikkeling.

Agtste, Afghanistan was gedurende die grootste deel van sy geskiedenis afhanklik van eksterne ondersteuning in verskillende vorme, en die huidige oorgang en die daaropvolgende tydperk sal geen uitsondering wees nie. Hoewel hulp beslis kan en behoort te daal van die buitengewoon hoë vlakke wat die afgelope jare gesien is, sou die skielike ophou of skielike terugslag van die steun 'n resep vir 'n ramp wees, soos veral in 1991-1992 plaasgevind het toe die Sowjetunie in sy laaste dae alle steun gestaak het na die Najibullah -regime en dit stort vinnig in duie.

Negende, die Afgaanse ekonomie is tans in 'n baie beter toestand as gedurende die Sowjet- en post-Sowjet-tydperk, nadat die afgelope dekade herstel en vinnige groei beleef het, in teenstelling met die wydverspreide vernietiging van infrastruktuur en die landelike ekonomiese basis en groot verplasing van die bevolking gedurende die 1980's en vroeë 1990's. In die komende jare moet die destabiliserende gevolge van 'n diep ekonomiese inkrimping vermy word, wat afhang van die handhawing van politieke stabiliteit, vermyding van agteruitgang in veiligheid en die opbou van vertroue, sowel as geleidelike eerder as abrupte afname in internasionale hulp.

Ten slotte is dit ook belangrik om 'n paar duidelike lesse uit die geskiedenis nie te leer nie. Byvoorbeeld, die problematiese ervaring van Afghanistan oor die afgelope vyf dekades met verdelende, ideologies en etnies gedrewe politieke partye het politieke partye in die algemeen 'n anathema gemaak vir baie Afghanen. Maar effektiewe politieke partye is 'n noodsaaklike bestanddeel in suksesvolle demokrasieë regoor die wêreld, en 'n seinmislukking van die tydperk na 2001 was dat meer nasionaal georiënteerde politieke partye nie ontstaan ​​en ontwikkel het nie.

Kortom, 'n paar lesse uit die onstuimige geskiedenis van Afghanistan is waarskuwings en waarskuwingstemas oor wat verkeerd kan gaan. Dit weerspieël die werklikheid van die land se geskiedenis, en beide Afghanen en internasionale vennote moet met oop oë vorentoe beweeg, sodat probleme en risiko's beter bestuur en versag kan word. Afganistan, die streek en die wêreld kan beslis nie die rampspoedige geskiedenis van die negentigerjare herhaal nie-'n ergste uitkoms waarvan die gevolge en skadelike gevolge tot vandag toe nog steeds gevoel word. Alle partye moet sterk inspan om te verseker dat so 'n herhaling van die geskiedenis vermy word.

William Byrd is 'n besoekende senior kenner by die United States Institute of Peace. Die menings wat hier uitgespreek word, is sy eie.


Beloftes, beloftes: Die Amerikaanse-Afghaanse strategiese vennootskap

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Die verrassingstoespraak van president Obama in Kaboel op 1 Mei was 'n politieke stunt gevul met die soort foute wat tipies is vir 'n veldtog, maar die werklike VS-Afghaanse strategiese vennootskapsooreenkoms wat hy onderteken het, terwyl daar iets van groter inhoud was.

'N Groot deel van die ooreenkoms weerspieël die taal en bedoeling van die vroeëre strategiese vennootskapsooreenkoms van 2005. Beide ooreenkomste was daarop gemik om die Afghanen van die Verenigde State gerus te stel, en om breë beginsels waarop die bilaterale verhouding berus, te verwoord. Albei is uitvoerende ooreenkomste wat nie die formele verdrag het wat deur die senaat bekragtig is nie. In so 'n mate is die ooreenkomste soos suikerspin: aangenaam, donsig, maar maklik uitmekaar geskeur. Dit kan verklaar waarom die Afghanen, met die ooreenkoms van 2005, die behoefte gehad het om verdere gerusstellings na te kom nadat Bush die amp verlaat het.

Volgens sommige berigte was die Afghanen op soek na 'n volwaardige onderlinge verdedigingsverdrag. So 'n verdrag sou die Verenigde State verplig het om 'n aanval op Afghanistan as 'n aanval op homself te behandel. As dit so is, is die Afghanen sekerlik teleurgesteld, maar hulle was ook onrealisties in hul hoop. Dit is moeilik om voor te stel dat Amerikaners 'n verdedigingsverdrag aanvaar wat Amerikaanse ingryping in Suid -Asië vir ewig verplig as die meeste nie meer ons werklike ingryping in Afghanistan verwelkom om 'n oorlog te voer wat deur twee presidente aangevoer is van lewensbelang nie. Die Afghanen het waarskynlik die sterkste uitdrukking van ondersteuning moontlik in die huidige Amerikaanse politieke klimaat.

Die kern van die langtermyn-verbintenis van die VSA tot Afghanistan in die nuwe ooreenkoms is die volgende: "Die Verenigde State noem Afghanistan 'n 'Groot Nie-NAVO-bondgenoot.' 1989 as 'n manier om die belangrikste strategiese vennote van Amerika te identifiseer sonder die lastige vereistes van 'n formele verdrag. Dit verleen 'n reeks voordele, insluitend deelname aan navorsings- en ontwikkelingsprojekte van die Amerikaanse ministerie van verdediging, voorkeurtoegang tot Amerikaanse militêre oorskotvoorrade, die gebruik van Amerikaanse lenings om wapenaankope te finansier en versnelde aansoeke vir uitvoer van ruimtetegnologie. Belangriker nog, die benaming het 'n sterk simboliese waarde: dit is 'n openbare bevestiging van 'n land se verbintenis met die Verenigde State, 'n wêreldwye kenteken van Amerikaanse goedkeuring. Although the designation does not technically carry a security guarantee or legally obligate the United States to come to the defense of a designee, the label of "ally" implies as much. Only 14 states and Taiwan have been given the MNNA status.

Critics may argue that MNNA status is merely symbolic, but symbols are important. Afghanistan is now in the same category as Japan, Australia, Israel, and Pakistan. And the agreement goes beyond the symbolic, stipulating that the United States will train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces "consistent with NATO standards and [will] promote interoperability with NATO forces." To cement relations between the newly-minted "allies," the Agreement commits the United States to negotiating a Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghanistan over the next year, and the administration is also initiating talks on a Status-of-Forces Agreement (SOFA) and a defense cooperation memorandum of understanding (the timing allows the Obama administration to delay decisions on difficult issues like detentions and night raids until after the election).

Collectively, these provisions communicate a relatively strong U.S. commitment to Afghan security and begin to undo the damage done by the Obama administration’s various and shifting deadlines for the Afghan mission. In a best-case scenario, in ten years or so the Afghan Army could become one of the key developing-world partners and force-multipliers for U.S. and Western military forces in contingency and peacekeeping operations. Afghanistan could become the next Bangladesh, providing the manpower for peacekeeping missions that Western nations are willing to fund but not man, in exchange for which the Afghans get valuable operational experience and funding. (The Agreement won’t, however, be a help in any future U.S.-Iran war, as it expressly prohibits the U.S. from using Afghan territory to attack another country. The clause, reflecting an understandable concern by the Afghans, may also complicate the U.S.’s ability to attack terrorist targets inside Pakistan).

Of course, these assurances only matter if Kabul defeats the Taliban insurgency, a topic on which the Agreement is oddly silent. The Agreement affirms the joint goal of defeating "al-Qaeda and its affiliates," the closest it comes to referring to the Taliban. There is vague language restating the long-standing reconciliation policy-that unspecified "individuals and entities" must sever ties with al-Qaeda, renounce violence, and accept the constitution-but fails to identify at whom the policy is aimed. The United States just pledged a decade’s worth of security cooperation to a country in the middle of a civil war, but managed to avoid talking about the civil war.

The silence is probably calculated to protect the Strategic Partnership in the event the Taliban join the government following a negotiated peace. Kabul and Washington can claim that the Agreement is not aimed at the Taliban, who therefore have nothing to fear from it. In other words, out of fear of what the Taliban might do in a hypothetical future scenario, the Americans and Afghans gave them a seat at the negotiating table in the Strategic Partnership talks, effectively rewarding them for their threat of continued violence. This is a poor negotiating strategy. Instead, the Agreement should have identified the Taliban, committed the parties explicitly to its defeat, and only then reiterated the reconciliation policy.

The Agreement has other weaknesses. For example, it commits Afghanistan to providing the United States with continued access to military facilities through 2014 "and beyond as may be agreed," needlessly requiring Kabul and Washington to re-negotiate access to Afghan facilities again in two years. The 2005 agreement contained no expiration date on American access to Afghan facilities (like Bagram and Kandahar air fields), a much simpler arrangement that still respected Afghan sovereignty under the obvious understanding that the Afghans could ask the United States to leave at any time.

Similarly, the Agreement pledges the United States to "seek funds on a yearly basis" for Afghan assistance, a weak and unenforceable clause. The Agreement failed to commit the United States even to an aspirational target of financial aid to Afghanistan. For example, the United States could have promised to seek at least $2 billion per year for security assistance and $1 billion per year for civilian assistance, which would have afforded a small amount of protection for Afghan aid after 2014, when donor fatigue and Congressional inattention set in.

The most troubling aspect of the agreement, mirroring the overall weakness of the Obama administration’s Afghan policy, is the evident imbalance between the military and civilian aspects of U.S. engagement there. For years, the United States has invested massively in building up the Afghan Army and police but comparatively little in building the Afghan government. The result is a strong Afghan Army and a weak Afghan state, a highly unstable and dangerous combination. If the Afghan Army ever successfully defeats the Taliban, it could itself suddenly become the greatest threat to Afghan national security.

The new agreement only perpetuates this unhelpful dynamic. After several pages detailing U.S.-Afghan security cooperation and a decent section on economic assistance, it contains a brief, vague, throw-away section on governance. Afghanistan promises to improve itself, and the United States promises to help, with no details, no promise of new resources, and no promise of training up to international standards. The one or two solid ideas regarding governance in the agreement-that the U.S. will channel more of its aid through the Afghan government, and align its aid to Afghan priorities-may be unachievable precisely because the capacity of Afghan institutions continues to lag and suffer from endemic corruption. Compared to the detailed, specific, and increasingly dense U.S.-Afghan security partnership, the U.S.-Afghan governance partnership is almost non-existent. The United States risks replicating the same error in Afghanistan that characterized U.S. policy towards Pakistan for the last six decades.

Nonetheless, as a whole, the new U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership is a strong signal of enduring American commitment to help one of the world’s most failed states, and secure American interests in South Asia. After more than ten years of effort with halting progress and fragile, reversible gains, such commitment is welcome. The partnership is arguably one of Obama’s best achievements on Afghan policy (after the 2009 military surge), and showed some political courage considering the increasing unpopularity of the war among the American electorate, especially in his own political base. The very fact that there is a strategic partnership agreement will help to buy time for Obama, or his successor, to improve on its weaknesses in 2014 and beyond. That will go a long way to upholding America’s promise to the Afghans.

Dr. Paul D. Miller is an Assistant Professor of International Security Studies at the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs. The views expressed here are his own, and do not reflect those of the U.S. government.

President Obama’s surprise speech in Kabul on May 1 was a political stunt filled with the kind of mischaracterizations typical of a campaign, but the actual U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement that he signed while there was something of greater substance.

Much of the agreement echoed the language and intent of the earlier 2005 Strategic Partnership Agreement. Both agreements sought to reassure the Afghans of the United States’ staying power, and articulate broad principles on which the bilateral relationship rests. They are both "executive agreements," which lack the power of formal treaties ratified by the Senate. To that extent, the agreements are like cotton candy: pleasant, fluffy, but easily torn apart. That may explain why the Afghans, having the 2005 agreement in hand, felt the need to pursue further reassurances once Bush left office.

According to some reports, the Afghans were looking for a full-fledged mutual defense treaty. Such a treaty would have obligated the United States to treat an attack on Afghanistan as an attack on itself. If so, the Afghans are surely disappointed, but they were also unrealistic in their hopes. It is difficult to envision Americans accepting a defense treaty obligating American intervention in South Asia in perpetuity when most no longer welcome our actual intervention in Afghanistan to fight a war that two presidents have argued is vital to our national security. The Afghans probably got the strongest expression of support possible in the current U.S. political climate.

The crux of the long-term U.S. commitment to Afghanistan in the new agreement is this: "The Unites States shall designate Afghanistan a ‘Major Non-NATO Ally.’" The Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) designation was created by Congress in 1989 as a way of identifying America’s major strategic partners without the burdensome requirements of a formal treaty. It confers a range of benefits, including participation in U.S. Defense Department research and development projects, preferential access to U.S. military surplus supplies, the use of U.S. loans to finance weapons purchases, and expedited applications for space technology exports. More importantly, the designation has a powerful symbolic value: it is a public affirmation of a country’s affiliation with the United States, a global badge of American approval. Although the designation does not technically carry a security guarantee or legally obligate the United States to come to the defense of a designee, the label of "ally" implies as much. Only 14 states and Taiwan have been given the MNNA status.

Critics may argue that MNNA status is merely symbolic, but symbols are important. Afghanistan is now in the same category as Japan, Australia, Israel, and Pakistan. And the agreement goes beyond the symbolic, stipulating that the United States will train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces "consistent with NATO standards and [will] promote interoperability with NATO forces." To cement relations between the newly-minted "allies," the Agreement commits the United States to negotiating a Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghanistan over the next year, and the administration is also initiating talks on a Status-of-Forces Agreement (SOFA) and a defense cooperation memorandum of understanding (the timing allows the Obama administration to delay decisions on difficult issues like detentions and night raids until after the election).

Collectively, these provisions communicate a relatively strong U.S. commitment to Afghan security and begin to undo the damage done by the Obama administration’s various and shifting deadlines for the Afghan mission. In a best-case scenario, in ten years or so the Afghan Army could become one of the key developing-world partners and force-multipliers for U.S. and Western military forces in contingency and peacekeeping operations. Afghanistan could become the next Bangladesh, providing the manpower for peacekeeping missions that Western nations are willing to fund but not man, in exchange for which the Afghans get valuable operational experience and funding. (The Agreement won’t, however, be a help in any future U.S.-Iran war, as it expressly prohibits the U.S. from using Afghan territory to attack another country. The clause, reflecting an understandable concern by the Afghans, may also complicate the U.S.’s ability to attack terrorist targets inside Pakistan).

Of course, these assurances only matter if Kabul defeats the Taliban insurgency, a topic on which the Agreement is oddly silent. The Agreement affirms the joint goal of defeating "al-Qaeda and its affiliates," the closest it comes to referring to the Taliban. There is vague language restating the long-standing reconciliation policy-that unspecified "individuals and entities" must sever ties with al-Qaeda, renounce violence, and accept the constitution-but fails to identify at whom the policy is aimed. The United States just pledged a decade’s worth of security cooperation to a country in the middle of a civil war, but managed to avoid talking about the civil war.

The silence is probably calculated to protect the Strategic Partnership in the event the Taliban join the government following a negotiated peace. Kabul and Washington can claim that the Agreement is not aimed at the Taliban, who therefore have nothing to fear from it. In other words, out of fear of what the Taliban might do in a hypothetical future scenario, the Americans and Afghans gave them a seat at the negotiating table in the Strategic Partnership talks, effectively rewarding them for their threat of continued violence. This is a poor negotiating strategy. Instead, the Agreement should have identified the Taliban, committed the parties explicitly to its defeat, and only then reiterated the reconciliation policy.

The Agreement has other weaknesses. For example, it commits Afghanistan to providing the United States with continued access to military facilities through 2014 "and beyond as may be agreed," needlessly requiring Kabul and Washington to re-negotiate access to Afghan facilities again in two years. The 2005 agreement contained no expiration date on American access to Afghan facilities (like Bagram and Kandahar air fields), a much simpler arrangement that still respected Afghan sovereignty under the obvious understanding that the Afghans could ask the United States to leave at any time.

Similarly, the Agreement pledges the United States to "seek funds on a yearly basis" for Afghan assistance, a weak and unenforceable clause. The Agreement failed to commit the United States even to an aspirational target of financial aid to Afghanistan. For example, the United States could have promised to seek at least $2 billion per year for security assistance and $1 billion per year for civilian assistance, which would have afforded a small amount of protection for Afghan aid after 2014, when donor fatigue and Congressional inattention set in.


With Pact, U.S. Agrees to Help Afghans for Years to Come

KABUL, Afghanistan — After months of negotiations, the United States and Afghanistan completed drafts of a strategic partnership agreement on Sunday that pledges American support for Afghanistan for 10 years after the withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014.

The agreement, whose text was not released, represents an important moment when the United States begins the transition from being the predominant foreign force in Afghanistan to serving a more traditional role of supportive ally.

By broadly redefining the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, the deal builds on hard-won new understandings the two countries reached in recent weeks on the thorny issues of detainees and Special Operations raids. It covers social and economic development, institution building, regional cooperation and security.

The talks to reach the agreement were intense. At times they broke down altogether, primarily because of geopolitical frictions in the region from two powerful neighbors, Iran and Pakistan. Each country opposes long-term American ties with Afghanistan.

The American and Afghan negotiators have been working hard in recent days to complete the draft so that it could be signed before a NATO conference in Chicago on May 20. There, decisions are to be made on how much money and support will be provided to the Afghan security forces after 2014 and by whom.

Lacking certainty about a long-term American commitment to Afghanistan, some countries were holding back, waiting to see what the United States, the leader in shaping Afghan policy, would do. Western diplomats said Sunday that the allies would now be more willing to make commitments.

The agreement — sweeping by design, with few details to bog down negotiators — puts down in writing for the first time the nature of the relationship the United States will have with Afghanistan once the bulk of American troops go home. It is meant to reassure the Afghan people that the United States will not abandon them, to warn the Taliban not to assume that they can wait out the West, and to send a message to Pakistan, which American officials believe has been hedging its bets in the belief that an American departure would leave the Taliban in charge.

“This is the proof in the pudding that we intend to be there,” one United States official said Sunday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The agreement came despite a series of setbacks in Afghan-American relations, including the burning of Korans, the massacre of 16 civilians attributed to a lone Army sergeant, and the appearance of grisly photos of American soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan insurgents.

“In the midst of all these meteor strikes, we were able to still sit down across the table and get these documents agreed to,” one NATO official noted. Many Afghans, including some who are ambivalent about the American presence, believe that the country’s survival is tied to having such an agreement with Washington. They say it will make clear to the Taliban and to regional powers that the Americans will not walk away the way they did in the 1990s after the Soviets were pushed out of the country.

A loya jirga, or traditional council, convened by President Hamid Karzai last fall strongly urged the government to sign a long-term agreement with the United States.

The draft agreement was initialed by Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, and Rangin Spanta, the Afghan national security adviser, at a meeting of the Afghan national security council on Sunday. It will now be sent to Mr. Karzai and to the Afghan Parliament for review and approval, and also to President Obama and the White House. It will become final when signed by the two presidents, according to American and Afghan officials.

Beeld

Western diplomats in Kabul said the agreement was an important marker and a positive one, both because it would help persuade other Western countries to continue to support Afghanistan and because it will signal all sides, including the Taliban, that they will not have a free hand to manipulate the country after 2014.

“The Iranians don’t like it because it shows the U.S. is going to be here for a long time,” said a European diplomat here who noted that the Taliban would not like it for the same reason. “This is important because they cannot tell their soldiers now just to sit it out and wait for 2014.”

The Taliban responded to the draft agreement within minutes, issuing a detailed statement condemning it as a giveaway to the Americans.

The goals of the agreement for the Americans, the Taliban statement said, are: “First goal: securing routes to the Central Asian and Caspian oil fields. Second goal: prevention of a movement in favor of a true Islamic government. Third goal: Bringing secularism and liberalism to Afghanistan. Fourth goal: establishing an army hostile to Islam that protects Western interests. Fifth goal: Continuous threats to Islamic countries in the region and the prevention of political and military ties between them and Afghanistan.”

In many respects the strategic partnership agreement is more symbolic than substantive. It does not lay out specific dollar amounts of aid or name programs that the Americans will support the financing must be authorized and appropriated by Congress from year to year.

Nor does it lay out specifically what the American military and security presence will be after 2014 or what role it will play. A more detailed security agreement is to come later, perhaps in the next year, Western diplomats said, once it becomes clear how much support European nations will give to the Afghan security forces.

Even so, the United States expects to make substantial contributions toward the cost of Afghanistan’s security forces beyond 2014. A total figure for the United States of $2.7 billion a year has been discussed, and it could easily be more there would most likely be aid for civilian programs as well.

That would be a steep reduction from the amount the United States now spends here, which has been $110 billion to $120 billion a year since the “surge” in American troop levels began in 2010, according to the Congressional Research Service.

For the partnership to work, the Afghan government must follow through with political reforms, particularly in fighting corruption, said Brian Katulis, a national security expert at the Center for American Progress. “VSA taxpayers have seen tens of millions of their dollars wasted by a corrupt and ineffective Afghan government over the past decade,” Mr. Katulis said. “Any transition plan needs to demand more responsibility from our Afghan partners.”

Officials declined Sunday to release the text of the draft strategic partnership deal or comment on it in detail. “Until the agreement is finalized, we’re not in a position to discuss the elements it contains,” said Gavin Sundwall, the American Embassy spokesman in Kabul.

“Our goal is an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity and that contributes to the shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist allies,” he said. “We believe the agreement supports that goal.”

The talks on the agreement were delayed repeatedly over the delicate issues of night raids by American troops and the American operation of detention facilities. Ultimately, negotiators agreed to prepare detailed side agreements on those two issues. In March the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding shifting responsibility for all detention facilities in the country to the Afghans, and earlier this month they handed final authority over night raids to Afghan security forces, who are now carrying out all raids unless American assistance is requested.

With those two issues resolved, the strategic partnership was completed quickly.


U.S. Relations With Afghanistan

The United States established diplomatic ties with Afghanistan in 1935. Afghanistan remains an important partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism, working with us to eliminate al-Qa’ida, ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), and their affiliates in Afghanistan. In order to strengthen Afghanistan’s capabilities as a partner, and to improve the lives of the Afghan people, we continue to invest U.S. resources to help Afghanistan improve its security, governance, institutions, and economy. Our strong bilateral partnership is guided by the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States signed in May 2012, which outlines respective economic and political commitments, as well as by the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) signed in September 2014, which outlines mutual security understandings. In July 2012, following the entry into force of the SPA, the United States designated Afghanistan a Major Non-NATO Ally. The South Asia Strategy announced in August 2017 outlined conditions for a political process between the Taliban and the Afghan government that could lead to a peace settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan. The Strategy for Central Asia, announced in February 2020, envisioned expanding and maintaining support for stability in Afghanistan, as well as strengthening connectivity between Central Asia and Afghanistan.

U.S. Security Support for Afghanistan

The United States military has been engaged in Afghanistan since shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. In 2003, NATO assumed leadership of the United Nations-mandated International Security Assistance Force Mission (ISAF). At its height, ISAF included more than 130,000 troops from 51 NATO and partner nations. ISAF forces fought alongside the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) as the international community worked to improve ANDSF capabilities. U.S. force levels peaked at roughly 100,000 in 2011, and began to decrease through 2014, as the ANDSF gained strength. There have been more than 2,400 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001, and over 20,000 U.S. service members have been wounded in action. U.S. casualties in Afghanistan peaked at 499 in 2010 and dropped sharply to an average of about 17 per year after January 2015, when Afghan forces assumed full responsibility for combat operations against the Taliban.

ISAF officially ended on December 31, 2014, with the ANDSF taking over full responsibility for security in Afghanistan on January 1, 2015, when the United States and NATO formally ended their combat role in Afghanistan and transitioned to a new mission. On January 1, 2015, NATO launched the Resolute Support Mission (RSM), a non-combat mission focused on providing training, advice, and assistance support to the ANDSF. In addition to the United States, there are 38 NATO Ally and partner nations contributing troops to RSM and helping Afghan forces become more effective, professional, and sustainable. The BSA and a NATO Status of Forces Agreement signed in September 2014 provide the legal basis for U.S. and NATO forces to remain in Afghanistan.

As of January 15, 2021, the United States has approximately 2,500 troops in Afghanistan engaged in two missions: 1) a bilateral counterterrorism mission in cooperation with Afghan forces and 2) participation in RSM. U.S. troops in Afghanistan serve alongside almost 8,000 troops from NATO allies and partners. U.S. forces continue to disrupt and degrade ISIS-K and al-Qa’ida activities in Afghanistan, through partnered operations with Afghan forces, as well as unilateral operations.

U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan

The United States is part of a coalition of more than 100 countries and organizations that provide both security and civilian assistance to Afghanistan. The United States and more than 30 other nations provide financial support to the ANDSF. The international community made almost $5 billion available for the ANDSF in 2019, with the United States providing the greatest share. NATO allies and operational partners pledged $379.9 million for 2020 in conjunction with the October 19, 2020, Afghan National Army Trust Fund plenary in Brussels.

Similarly, at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference, co-hosted by Finland, the United Nations, and Afghanistan, and hosted virtually through the United Nations platform from Geneva in November 2020, the United States pledged $300 million, with an additional $300 million available depending on meaningful progress in the peace process and on governance issues. Conference organizers announced $3.3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan. Afghanistan committed to taking tangible action to fight corruption, strengthen governance, and maintain and build upon the gains over the past 20 years.

The United States’ development assistance focuses on promoting peace, self-reliance, and stability including through programs to increase economic growth via an export-oriented trade strategy enhancing the capacity of civilian institutions, improving the performance of the justice system, and helping the government maintain and improve upon the gains made over the last decade in health, education, and women’s rights. The United States also provides support for Afghan civil society, promotes increased respect for human rights, helps to fight the illegal trade in narcotics, and continues to provide significant humanitarian support.

The United States supports efforts to improve Afghanistan’s business climate, including strengthening Afghanistan’s commercial, regulatory, and legal framework to attract foreign trade and investment, as well as to stimulate additional trade with the United States and regional partners through trade capacity development. Afghanistan signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States in 2004, which is the primary forum for bilateral trade and investment discussions between the two countries.

Political Relations

The United States remains committed to Afghanistan’s political stability, democratic governance, and productive bilateral and multilateral relations. Following the controversial 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan, the United States called for and financially supported the United Nations audit of the vote, and helped mediate a political agreement that resulted in the creation of the National Unity Government. After a three-year delay, the Afghan government held parliamentary elections in October 2018. Presidential elections were held in September 2019 and the incumbent, President Ashraf Ghani, was announced the winner in February 2020, following several months of election audits. The United States fully supports efforts to reform Afghanistan’s electoral institutions, strengthen its justice sector, and promote public accountability and transparency.

Afghanistan’s Membership in International Organizations

Afghanistan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Afghanistan also is a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and joined the World Trade Organization in 2016.

Bilateral Representation

Ambassador Ross Wilson became Chargé d’Affaires to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in January 2020 other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

Afghanistan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2341 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-483-6410). Ambassador Roya Rahmani has served as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States since December 2018.

More information about Afghanistan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:


US has withdrawn over half of its forces from Afghanistan

America’s longest war finally has an end in sight.

The US and the Taliban signed a peace deal Saturday that could see all American troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 2021, ending the conflict that began less than a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

President George W. Bush launched the invasion in pursuit of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, who was sheltered in Afghanistan’s mountains by the Taliban, a militant Islamist group.

Over the years, as the US helped to train Afghanistan’s military and build up the civilian government, the fighting left 2,309 US troops dead and 20,660 injured ⁠— and cost more than $2 trillion.

“We’ve had tremendous success in Afghanistan in the killing of terrorists, but it’s time after all these years to bring our people back home,” President Trump said at a news conference Saturday in Washington.

At a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the agreement, hashed out over months of negotiations.

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“I call on all Afghans to honestly work for peace and gather around the table for peace negotiations,” Baradar said.

• The US will draw down its forces to 8,600 troops from about 12,000, and close five bases, all by mid-July. Remaining troops will be withdrawn by May 2021.
• The Taliban will prevent militant groups from using Afghan soil to threaten the US and its allies.
• The Afghan government will release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security forces held by the Taliban.
• The US will work to remove Taliban members from sanctions.
• The Taliban and the Afghan government will start negotiating a comprehensive cease-fire in March.

“I could not be more supportive of this agreement,” said Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island), who served in Afghanistan from 2012-13. “I don’t want to see us send another generation of soldiers into a conflict that we should be winding down.”


U.S., Afghans agree on prisoner handover

REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Smoothing over what had been an acrimonious disagreement, U.S. and Afghan officials Friday signed an accord on the handing over of captured insurgent suspects to the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The custody quarrel over the detainees had been a key sticking point in months of efforts to negotiate a broad agreement governing the U.S. presence in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission winds down. During this year and next, Afghan forces are to take over increasing responsibilities for safeguarding the country.

Karzai had set a deadline of Friday for the handover of prisoners at the largest American-run detention facility to Afghan authorities. The agreement does not do that all at once, but sets a speedier timetable than the U.S. had originally sought.

U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, commander of the NATO force, called the pact "another example of the progress of transition, and our efforts to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists." Allen and the Afghan defense minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, signed the pact at a ceremony in the capital.

More than 3,000 suspected insurgents are held at the detention center at Parwan, north of Kabul. The facility was the source of the Islamic texts that were burned -- accidentally, U.S. officials said -- in a trash incinerator at the adjoining Bagram air base, setting off more than a week of deadly riots.

The Koran-burning incident appeared to give Karzai greater leverage in demanding a handover of the facility. He said publicly that the episode would never have occurred if the Parwan detention center had been under Afghan control.


Herlewing van die Taliban

Beginning in 2005, violence climbed as the Taliban reasserted its presence with new tactics modeled on those being used by insurgents in Iraq. Whereas early in the war the Taliban had focused on battling U.S. and NATO forces in open combat—a strategy that largely failed to inflict significant damage—their adoption of the use of suicide bombings and buried bombs, known as IEDs ( improvised explosive devices), began to cause heavy casualties. Between January 2005 and August 2006, Afghanistan endured 64 suicide attacks—a tactic that had been virtually unknown in the country’s history before then. At first the attacks caused relatively few casualties, but as training and the availability of high-powered explosives increased, the death toll began to climb: in one particularly vicious attack in November 2007, at least 70 people—many of them children—were killed as a parliamentary delegation visited the northern town of Baghlan. Less than a year later, a bombing at the Indian embassy in Kabul killed more than 50 the Afghan government accused elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service of complicity in the attack, a charge Pakistan denied.

The Taliban’s resurgence corresponded with a rise in anti-American and anti-Western sentiment among Afghans. Those feelings were nurtured by the sluggish pace of reconstruction, allegations of prisoner abuse at U.S. detention facilities, widespread corruption in the Afghan government, and civilian casualties caused by U.S. and NATO bombings. In May 2006 a U.S. military vehicle crashed and killed several Afghans, an event that sparked violent anti-American riots in Kabul—the worst since the war began. Later that year NATO took command of the war across the country American officials said that the United States would play a lesser role and that the face of the war would become increasingly international. This shift reflected the greater need for U.S. troops and resources in Iraq, where sectarian warfare was reaching alarming levels. By contrast, the war in Afghanistan was still regarded in Washington as a relative success.

For commanders on the ground in Afghanistan, however, it was apparent that the Taliban intended to escalate its campaign, launching more frequent attacks and intensifying its fund-raising from wealthy individuals and groups in the Persian Gulf. Another source of money was Afghanistan’s resurgent opium industry. International pressure had forced the Taliban to curb poppy cultivation during their final year in power, but after their removal in 2001 the opium industry made a comeback, with revenues in some areas of the country benefiting the insurgency. Western-backed campaigns to eliminate poppy cultivation or to encourage farmers to grow other crops had little discernible impact Afghanistan soon became the supplier of over 90 percent of the world’s opium.


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