Showing posts with label civil-war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil-war. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Civil War in Afghanistan is More Likely

The fact that the U.S. (and its allies) are leaving Afghanistan by 2014 - if not sooner- is clear to the Afghans.  Many in the U.S. will highlight a "mission accomplished, I brought the troops home" moment (just in time for the Presidential elections).  Others are concerned about what happens when the stabilizing presence of ISAF goes away. ISAF has struggled to keep the Afghan government in line - trying its best to foster good governance, encourage development, diminish corruption, and build capability and capacity in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). ISAF's combat troops have also done much of the fighting which has kept the Taliban at bay.

However, once the majority of ISAFs forces and the aid money dries up several things will likely happen.  The Taliban will move into areas vacated by ISAF forces and not held effectively by the ANSF - reestablishing their "shadow government".  The Afghan government will  become more corrupt, ineffective, irresponsible and inefficient without ISAF looking over its shoulder - losing more legitimacy and the support of the population. Once the money flow dries up many of the government leaders and officials (who have siphoned off money for their Dubai bank accounts) will quietly leave the country for their overseas villas. Warlords and power brokers on the national and regional level will try to reassert their authority - many times using private militias that are currently being built up.

Probably most important is the likelihood of ethnic division and an outbreak of civil war.  While Karzai seems intent (at least publicly) on holding peace talks with the Taliban (a Pastun-based insurgency) the major opposition political party - the National Front for Afghanistan (NFA) - is very opposed to negotiations.  The NFA is comprised mostly of Tajiks, Harara, and Uzbeks.  A combination of factors and events could easily push the country into civil war.

Read a detailed analysis of this in "The Coming Civil War in Afghanistan", Foreign Policy, February 3, 2012.