As drawdown of foreign troops is triggered off and the transition of security responsibility from international forces to Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is set in motion, concerns inside and outside Afghanistan begin to rise about the consequences of apparently premature steps. On Tuesday, July 19, 2011, security responsibility for the eastern city of Mehtarlam was handed to Afghan forces.
Mehtarlam is the second area, after Bamyan, where the transition has taken place. In addition to Afghans, outside observers have also voiced concerns about what they call as a hasty disengagement by international community.
On Tuesday July 19, 2011, Indian foreign minister, SM Krishna, said, "We have impressed upon the US and other countries that it is a necessity for them to continue to stay in Afghanistan, depending upon the comfort level of the government of Afghanistan." Krishna told the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to New Delhi "It is necessary for the United States to factor in Afghanistan's ground realities."
The concerns are raised by Afghan people and outsiders at the time when insurgent groups have intensified their attacks and serial and target killing aimed at prominent anti-Taliban figures on the rise. On the very first evening of transition, Jan Mohammad Khan, Karzai's advisor and former governor of central Uruzgan province, Mohammad HashamWatanwal, a member of the Wolesi Jirga, were killed in the assault in his residence in Kabul this week.
People now in Afghanistan believe that these incidents at the heart of the country show the fragility of security situation and weaknesses of ANSF, and this could run into a total breakdown if there is not any clear picture of the endgame before international forces complete the drawdown.
The question that comes up here is will international community respond to these legitimate concerns raised inside and outside Afghanistan and what guarantees will they be leaving behind to make sure that Afghanistan will be able to move its democratic process forward? What compounds the problem is the fact that Afghan political elites are fragmented and there is no consensus on a way forward. The government is in a treacherous wrestling with the parliament at this critical time. This political instability could precipitate the security collapse if the situation is not turned around.