14 June 2011 - NATO PA DELEGATION ON REQUIREMENTS AND CHALLENGES OF SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION IN AFGHANISTAN
Transition to Afghan lead responsibility for security by the end of 2014 is a realistic and achievable prospect, but will require expanding security gains, reinvesting dividends, and supporting the expansion of governance and development in the country. This was one of the key conclusions of the visit of a delegation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) to Afghanistan on 8-11 June 2011. During its visit to Kabul and Kandahar provinces, the 5-member delegation, led by Hugh Bayley (United Kingdom), Vice-President of the NATO PA and Chairman of the Economics and Security Committee, met with senior ISAF and Afghan officials, as well as other representatives of the international community, to discuss the prospects and challenges of transition in Afghanistan.
July 20 will mark the official start of transition, with the transfer of 7 locations to lead Afghan security responsibility. These include 3 provinces – Bamyan, Panjshayr, and
First and foremost, consolidating and expanding gains in the security field will be essential to the success of transition. In meetings with ISAF officials and a visit to Regional Command-South, the delegation heard of the coalition’s focus on interdicting supply lines and targeting insurgent leadership, although the impact of operations conducted in the winter of 2010 would only be felt in the summer of 2011, ISAF officials warned. Insurgent sanctuaries in
The ability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to lead operations was the key to transition, ISAF officials stressed, and “revolutionary changes” were being achieved in building up, training and equipping the ANSF with a stated goal of 352,000 ANSF personnel by mid 2012, including 195,000 Afghan National Army (ANA) and 157,000 Afghan National Police (ANP) personnel.
Mindful that governments were already looking to reduce their military footprint in
Gains in the security field also needed to be supported by further efforts in support of governance and development. NATO officials reported progress in several areas, including provincial and district level governance. Meeting with the district governor in Dand district in
However, as NATO and
It would be unrealistic to expect the ANSF to sustain themselves without external support by the end of 2014, NATO and Afghan officials stressed. Support for the ANSF would therefore need to continue beyond 2014. The training role performed by NTM-A and the EU Police Mission (EUPOL) in
In the fields of governance and development, setting realistic objectives for the transition period was also essential. NATO would focus on “smart support” for governance and development, the delegation heard, but it could not take responsibility for the future of
The delegation stressed the need to address other potential risks connected with transition. The end of President Karzai’s mandate in 2014 would no doubt raise difficult questions of succession at a sensitive time that will coincide with the end of the process of transition. Accountability and democratic control of the ANSF were essential to counter the risk of
Continued support for the development of central institutions, including the Afghan Parliament, remained essential, the delegation stressed. Both members of the delegation and Afghan parliamentarians expressed an interest in strengthening the existing partnership between the Afghan Parliament and the NATO PA. Meetings with members of the Wolesi and Meshrano Jirga highlighted ongoing tensions between the legislative and executive branches over the confirmation of officials, the Special Elections Tribunal and the planned convocation of a traditional Loya Jirga.
Afghan and international officials all stressed the importance of ongoing efforts to achieve political reconciliation, including by securing
The delegation was composed as follows:
- Hugh Bayley (
- Jan Alrid Ellingsen (
- Helge Adam Moller (
- Jeppe Kofod (
- Didier Boulaud (
A detailed report of this visit will be available shortly. Information from the visit will feed into the NATO PA’s discussions on
These drafts will be updated and presented for adoption at the Assembly’s annual session in
The NATO PA delegation with Dand district governor Nazik and RC-South Commanders
Hugh Bayley (UK) with the Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Abdul Raouf Ibrahim