There are serious concerns being raised over the international community’s military and political strategy in Afghanistan in the wake of a failed election, Gen. McChrystal’s calls for additional troops and intense consultation’s in the Obama camp. It seems the world has been left to wonder: what’s next?
In their article Peacekeeping without peace Pierre Shori and Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh call for wider consultations particularly with Europe and Afghanistan’s neighbors, in order to get a wider perspective. A rigourous analysis of all the shortcomings of the current strategy is also necessary in order to clearly define the roles of the different international actors in Afghanistan.
Shori and Tadjbakhsh assert that a major consequence of the troop surge requested by Gen. McChrystal would be to “further the divergence of roles” in the international community and to reinforce the widely held perception that the United States is calling all the shots and that NATO and the UN are just along for the ride without any real influence over decisions.
The authors analyze this issue in the wider perspective of peacekeeping missions, by asking three questions: Can political stability be achieved through the work of outside forces? Can the United Nations be effective in such a process? Should the “outsourcing” of stability-creation to regional-security organisations support such a role?
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Shori and Tadjbakhsh argue that the peace-building process in Afghanistan has been largely ineffective because it is not based on a legitimate peace agreement. Also, efforts at state-building have been hampered by the Taliban resurgence and three main institutional problems: first, an imbalance of resources and attention, second, while most states at the UN agreed with the intervention at first this unanimity has dissipated over time and finally, their is a dislocation between the short-term counter insurgency goal and long-term peacebuilding goal.
They conclude by iterating that the international community must now do two things: Firstly, the international presence in the country must be transformed from a heavily militarised to a civilian one. And secondly, decisions-making must be shifted from external or foreign-led to a locally owned process which Afghans and regional actors can buy-into and believe in.
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