Increased Violence and Instability in Afghanistan
Increased violence and instability in Afghanistan resulting from the withdrawal of coalition combat forces and strengthening of the Taliban insurgency
Afghanistan is vulnerable to heightened violence and insecurity following the drawdown of coalition combat forces. The United States intends to keep 10,800 troops in Afghanistan after combat operations end in 2014 and will reduce to a small military presence at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul by 2016. Yet the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF), due to assume security responsibilities from the United States and the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), are lacking in logistics, intelligence gathering, and other capacities. Suicide bomb attacks by the Taliban have surged in recent months: according to some estimates, the number of attacks in Kabul alone has more than doubled since last year, with over eighty attacks in 2014.
Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential election resulted in political deadlock, requiring two rounds of voting and an international audit to address allegations of voter fraud. In early September, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brokered an agreement to form a national unity government led by Ashraf Ghani as president and Abdullah Abdullah as chief executive. Now Ghani and Abdullah are confronting the challenges of jointly governing a country that has seen an increase in Taliban-led violence since the campaign began last February.
The Afghan economy has been battered by uncertainty surrounding the 2014 elections and the future of international donor assistance. While the United States and its allies have pledged to provide ongoing support to Kabul, the transition to a peacetime economy could further destabilize Afghan society by inflating the budget deficit and increasing unemployment rates.
The United States has a vital interest in persevering the many political, economic, and security gains that have been achieved in Afghanistan since 2001. A resurgence of the Taliban insurgency could once again turn Afghanistan into a terrorist safe haven. Moreover, internal instability in Afghanistan could have larger regional ramifications as Pakistan, India, Iran, and Russia compete for influence in Kabul and among influential subnational actors.
- Afghanistan Index
- All the President’s Strongmen
Deedee Derksen, ForeignPolicy.com
December 8, 2014
- America, Don't Give Up on Afghanistan
Paul D. Miller, New Republic
November 30, 2014
- Afghan Forces on the Edge of Transition
Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies
November 18, 2014
- Expert View: Afghanistan
Michael Keating, Chatham House
- China's Afghanistan Challenge: Testing the Limits of Diplomacy
Dirk van der Kley, National Interest
October 29, 2014
- Final Report of European Union Election Assessment Team on Afghanistan
Election Assessment Team of the European Union
December 16, 2014
- Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the Afghanistan and the United States
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
September 30, 2014
- Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) Quarterly Report to Congress
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
July 30, 2014
- Statement by the President on Afghanistan
The White House
May 27, 2014
- United States and Afghanistan's Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement, November 2013
Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
November 20, 2013
- The Taliban in Afghanistan
Zachary Laub, CFR Backgrounder
- U.S. War in Afghanistan
- Behind the Numbers: Security, Stability, and the Afghan Economy
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, CFR.org blog "Development Channel"
December 1, 2014
- Viewing the U.S.–Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement Through a Gender Lens
Catherine Powell, CFR.org blog "Development Channel"
October 7, 2014
- Afghanistan After the Drawdown
Seth G. Jones and Keith Crane, CFR Council Special Report