KABUL - The United Nations and Afghan lawmakers on Tuesday discounted a warning from the International Crisis Group (ICG) that the government in Kabul could collapse after the 2014 withdrawal of foreign troops.
"There is a real risk that the regime in Kabul could collapse upon NATO's withdrawal in 2014," Candace Rondeaux, the ICG senior Afghanistan analyst, warned in the report, titled Afghanistan: The Long, Hard Road to the 2014 Transition.
The Afghan army and police were overwhelmed and underprepared for transition, believes Rondeaux, who said another botched election and resultant unrest would push them to breaking point.
Asked for comments on the group's dark assessment, Ján Kubiš, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, told journalists in Kabul: "I don't think it will happen." He believed the country, stoutly supported by the world community, would successfully come out of the crisis.
During a recent UN Security Council session, the global fraternity recently reiterated its commitment to Afghanistan, despite its concerns at bad governance, corruption, insecurity and drug smuggling, the diplomat said.
Separately, the ""'Meshrano Jirga also spurned the report as far from reality. A senator from Daikundi province, Ali Akbar Jamshedi the ICG document had impinged on the Afghans' morale.
"Although the organisation asserts its independence, it's in no way autonomous. Linked to the US administration, the group has released the report to please the American authorities," the public representative observed.
Senator Gulalai Akbari from Badakhshan denounced the document as plain interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs. "Such reports that boost insurgents' morale should not be released." She urged the government to ask ICG to refrain from painting a grossly negative picture of the country.
First Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who chaired the session, remarked that the "baseless" report would add to the problems facing the country. He also urged the government to come with a strong reaction.
Also on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior accused the group of painting a diametrically opposite of the situation in Afghanistan. Ghulam Siddique Siddiqui said: "The authors have failed to strike a balance between perceptions and realities."
At a joint news conference with NATO's civilian spokesman Dominic Medley, Siddiqui said since the launch of the transition process, Afghan forces had been in control of the security situation and were growing in strength with each passing day.
For his part, Medley hoped the Afghan National Army (ANA) and police would be capable of securing their entire country by the end of 2014 and beyond. The capability of Afghan forces improved with each passing day, as proved by the transition process.
The global fraternity's commitment to Afghanistan had been very solid over the last 10 years, he said, promising the commitment would continue after 2014, when most foreign troops would leave the country.
A day earlier, President Hamid Karzai's spokesman denounced the report as an attempt at foreign interference in the upcoming elections. "We believe the report has particular political goals and agenda."
Aimal Faizi said the document sought to pave the ground for foreign meddling in the presidential ballot, due in 2014. The report contained no evidence that enabled its authors to justify their concerns, he added. (Pajhwok)