2022 - DEVELOPMENTS IN AFGHANISTAN: CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES, AND LESSONS LEARNED

Ahmet YILDIZ (Turkey) - PRELIMINARY DRAFT REPORT

18 May 2022

In August 2021, Allied and partners’ engagement in Afghanistan came to a sudden end, culminating in one of the largest airlift evacuation efforts in history. While the 20-year engagement by Allies and their partners in Afghanistan successfully prevented new terrorist attacks against Allies originating from the country, their broader nation-building efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. 

Unfortunately, post-NATO Afghanistan has been mired in spiralling economic turmoil, which has sparked a broader humanitarian crisis in which more than half of the population finds itself facing acute food insecurity. In addition, the Taliban leadership in Kabul have increasingly been returning to form by reimposing draconian restrictions across civil society. Further, the Taliban’s partnership with the Haqqani Network, a designated terrorist organisation, has raised concerns among experts that terrorist groups sheltering in the country, especially al Qaeda, may soon be able to reflourish and be capable of launching attacks from Afghan territory.

In support of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2021 resolution, Learning the Lessons of NATO’s Engagement in Afghanistan, this preliminary draft report reviews Allies’ engagement in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021 and draws attention to some of the challenges facing post-NATO Afghanistan, such as the economic and humanitarian crisis, new restrictions for women and girls, and a rising terrorist threat. This report assesses Allied engagement by outlining mission successes and failures, as well as reviews some of the initial lessons learned.

The final part is dedicated to Allied Parliamentary Assessments of Afghanistan and draws some broader recommendations for Allied parliamentarians. This preliminary draft report approves of the central findings of NATO’s lessons learned reviews and highlights the added value of stronger parliamentary oversight within the civil-military nexus in NATO missions and operations. Moreover, the report calls for a comparative approach in reviewing all crisis management operations.
 


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