A Stable Afghanistan? Training Soldiers is Not Enough

A Stable Afghanistan?Humanitarian Aid Delivered to Afghan Village. Creator: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

Western governments look like they are turning their back on Afghanistan after a decade of aid and assistance but this is a dangerous approach, as history shows.

One year before the official withdrawal of western troops from Afghanistan - Washington DC, Berlin, and London seem already to 'be done' with that part of the world. Many Afghans fear they will once again be forgotten. When I was in Afghanistan, in March this year, many Afghans told me that the achievements made in the last decade are at risk.

Some of them remember what happened following the Russian defeat in Afghanistan, in 1989. The United States successfully supported Afghan Mujahedeen in their fight against the Soviet Army by supplying weapons. But once the Russians were gone, the famous US Congressman Charlie Wilson – who was the mastermind behind American support for the Mujahedeen – could not even get enough votes in Congress for money to support Afghan schools.

According to Wilson, the US walked away from Afghanistan and created a power vacuum. Although the situation in 2014 seems to be different– at various international conferences, western governments committed to assistance for the years ahead—it would appear that the west is not seriously considering leveraging its influence to ensure that the critical commitments the Afghan government has made in these formative past years have a chance to survive. [...]

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