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What next in Afghanistan?

04.03.2015 - Article

Germany remains one of Afghanistan’s most important partners. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission will be finished at the end of 2014. Germany will remain involved after that date - predominantly in civilian reconstruction.

In January 2015 the NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) commenced, focusing on providing training, advice and support for Afghanistan’s decision‑makers. With the conclusion of ISAF, the framework conditions for further development in Afghanistan have changed fundamentally. Afghanistan and the international community have therefore taken steps together to ensure that what has been achieved is not jeopardised. They have concluded international agreements in the past few years which assure the Afghan Government that its partners will continue to provide long‑term assistance.

Mutual obligations

Three major international conferences in 2011 and 2012 focused on the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan. At the conferences in

Participants in the Afghanistan Conference in Tokyo
Participants in the Afghanistan Conference in Tokyo© photothek / Th. Koehler

Bonn (December 2011), Chicago (May 2012) and Tokyo (July 2012), Afghanistan obtained clarity on the civilian and military support it could expect from the international community.

The International Afghanistan Conference in Tokyo on 8 July 2012 was the last of a series of three major conferences which focused on the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan. The conferences in Bonn (December 2011), Chicago (May 2012) and Tokyo gave Afghanistan clarity as to the extent of civilian and military support which the international community would continue to provide.

A new element in Tokyo was the Mutual Accountability Framework. With the aid of established targets and criteria, this Framework renders the reform steps undertaken by the Afghan Government verifiable. Above all, this applies to the fight against corruption and organised crime. These criteria must be met if the international community is to honour its commitment to continue assisting Afghanistan with civilian support measures in the decade after 2014. The progress of the reforms is regularly monitored through dialogue between the Afghan Government and the donor states. The last formal evaluation took place on 29 January 2014. This meeting revealed that Afghanistan is generally going in the right direction but needs to push harder to implement reforms.

Security situation

Germany and most other ISAF partners have begun reducing their troop numbers in Afghanistan. The security situation in many parts of the country is still unstable, and anti-government forces remain combat capable. However, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are becoming increasingly efficient and competent. They have assumed security responsibility. Until the end of 2014 they will be able to receive support and advice from the international forces.

Germany’s future role

Germany will continue to work hard to ensure the peaceful development of a democratic Afghanistan which offers a safe future for people of all ethnic groups and of both sexes. That is why the Federal Government is participating in the RSM advisory, training and support mission. The Afghan security forces have thus been receiving the long-term support they need since January 2015.

However, Germany’s future contribution will mainly still consist of

Laying the foundation stone for Zohra school for girls
Laying the foundation stone for Zohra school for girls© AA/Jahnke

helping Afghanistan to improve political, social and economic conditions. Germany has already pledged to support Afghanistan with an annual sum of up to 430 million euros, initially until 2016. These funds will be used for projects to improve people’s living conditions and promote good governance.

Moreover, Germany declared at the NATO Summit in Chicago back in May 2012 that from 2015 onwards it would provide an annual sum of around 150 million euros to help finance the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

A new consulate-general in Mazar-e-Sharif

A visible sign of the long‑term nature of our relations was the opening of a new consulate‑general in the northern Afghan city of Mazar‑e‑Sharif on 9 June 2013.

National reconciliation

Lasting peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved if the national reconciliation and peace process advances. However, that has not been possible to date. Yet one thing has become clear: There can only be a political solution in Afghanistan, not a military one. In this connection the rejection of international terrorism, the renunciation of violence and the recognition of the Afghan constitution – including its comprehensive protection of human rights – are not negotiable.

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