Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

NATO Support and Prospects of Peace

It is imperative that the international community must not stop supporting Afghanistan at times when it is facing serious security challenges. There are fears that the country may once again fall in quagmire of instability and chaos if it is left alone to face these challenges. The support should be persistent, honest and most importantly must be in the area of training and assisting Afghan security forces so that they are able to defeat the enemies and secure the country for the future generations.
NATO can play an important role in this regard. It has been assisting Afghanistan and needs to do so until Afghan forces are able to stand on their own and can confront the challenges themselves. And it seems that it is committed to do so as it has promised to support Afghanistan till 2020. At the Warsaw Summit on Saturday, June 09, the NATO leaders, together with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, discussed the security situation in Afghanistan and the reform process carried out by the Afghan National Unity Government. They also took stock of the performance of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and laid out the way ahead for their continued support for Afghanistan. They pledged funding the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) through 2020.
Addressing a press briefing, NATO Secretary General, Stoltenberg, said, "We agreed to sustain our Resolute Support Mission beyond 2016, through a flexible, regional model… Afghan security forces are now responsible for security across the whole country, they are defending the Afghan people with dedication and courage; we continue to train, advice and assist them; but Afghanistan still faces serious instability and violence; so our continued political, military and financial engagement is of great importance." Stoltenberg also highlighted three key decisions made. "First, we agreed to sustain our Resolute Support Mission beyond 2016, through a flexible, regional model. Second, we received firm national commitments to continue funding Afghan security forces through 2020. And third, we reaffirmed our support for a long-term political partnership and practical cooperation with Afghanistan… So, our message is clear: Afghanistan does not stand alone; and we are committed for the long haul," he said.
Afghanistan now yearns to see the glory of peace and tranquility and for that it requires support. However, at the same time it requires highlighting its own role and responsibilities as well.
The people in the country have been seeking a period of stability wherein they get opportunities of development and progress. They have gone through the severest kind of agony and have experienced the worst possible kinds of economic, social and political crisis. There have been hopes lately that country would move towards prosperity, but these hopes are being challenged now in the ongoing period of transition. After many years of war and movement against terrorism, though there have been improvements, the administrative, development and security sectors still remain immature. It is really vital that these sectors should take long time for their improvement, but the level of the improvement so far made is not in accordance to the energy and resources being utilized.
One of the biggest hurdles in this regard has been the lack of transparency in the utilization of the resources, mostly provided as aid by the international community. The wave of corruption has uprooted the weak foundations of the development projects and possibilities of better outcomes have diminished to a great extent.
As far as the capacity of Afghan forces to guarantee secure life for Afghan people, there are grey patches. Unless there are speedy development in the capacity building, training and professionalism of Afghan forces, the eyebrows will remain tense as far as security arrangements are concerned. Furthermore, the political reconciliation with Taliban that is expected to find out some political solution to the issues in the country in order to lead to peace is also suffering from lack of clarity and commitment. On the other hand, Taliban have not shown their readiness for the peace process. In addition, the factions existing within Taliban also differ in their views regarding any peace deal and this makes the process difficult by introducing the intricacy as to whether which faction should be considered as the true representative to Taliban, and what should be done with the other factions who opt to go against any sort of peace process. In short, the security situation in Afghanistan is still not certain and future is very much ambiguous.
The impact of international assistance, though vital, will remain limited unless donors devise better mechanisms to monitor implementation, adequately address corruption and wastage of aid funds. In order to address the socio-political and security concerns appropriately there has to be immense effort made on the part of government and other authoritative institutions in the country. Above all, this effort should be directed towards the wellbeing of all the people of Afghanistan.