|A scene from the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan|
|Learning the lesson of history?|
‘Lessons from Afghanistan’s History for the Current Transition and Beyond’ is a thought provoking paper produced by the MOD Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre makes interesting reading. The paper has noted that between 1933 to 1973, Afghanistan was stable and reasonably effectively governed, however, that stability was firmly anchored in the two pillars of traditional local governance and the Afghan state such as it was a weak centralized though weak state, both of which were gravely damaged after 1978.
Afghanistan history’s is littered with a series of chronic succession problems and associated conflict, the next presidential election, if successful, would be the first peaceful transfer of leadership since 1933 and only the fourth since 1747. The paper also notes that any expectations about the pace of any progress and reform should be modest and the dangers of overly ambitious reforms leading to violent reactions need to be recognized.
‘A new approach to understanding Afghanistan’s transition’ has been produced by the United States Institute for Peace also makes interesting reading. This paper by way of comparison with other countries who have passed though conflict, significant military intervention and a post conflict period of transition looks at Afghanistan and its preparedness for life after NATO. Amongst the key issues that this report flags up is the issue of foreign aid and its impact on Afghanistan.
|Another military withdrawal from Afghanistan|
As someone who has had relatives who have served a number of tours in Afghanistan and have come back in one piece I will (no doubt along with more than a few other people) be more than grateful when the last NATO soldier hops on the last plane and comes home. Following NATO’S withdrawal I have little doubt that what will follow will be a public redefinition of ‘success’ at least as it is applied to Afghanistan. Quite where that leaves the Afghans and Afghan women's rights whatever future they face with a still active Taliban, rampant corruption and a curtailing of foreign aid remains to be seen, but nowhere good I suspect.