Security and Development in Afghanistan after 2014, 6th annual ISDP-AMS Conference
The topic under discussion during the 6th annual ISDP-AMS conference, held December 6-8,2013, focused on the future prospects for Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of international forces at the end of 2014.When we met in December, there were three key questions on our minds: 1) Would Hamid Karzai sign a Bilateral Security Agreement with the US before the end of the year 2013 as the US had asked, or would this task fall to his successor (and the related question of whether the US would, in fact, withdraw all troops if the BSA were not signed); 2) Would the Afghan presidential elections scheduled for April 2014 produce a viable successor to Hamid Karzai?, and 3) Were the Afghan National Security Forces capable of shouldering the burden of preventing the Taliban and other insurgent groups from re-establishing themselves after the drawdown of the international forces? Some six months later, it appears that there will indeed be a peaceful transition of power to Hamid Karzai’s elected successor—although the election results have not yet been finalized—and that the task of signing the BSA will fall to him. The critical question of the readiness of the Afghan National Security Forces to provide for the country’s security remains unanswered, although some quite optimistic assessments were heard during the conference.
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