Last month’s decision by President Obama to extend the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is an important step in securing the substantial American investment there. This extension—which is and should be temporary—is crucial to allow the Afghan government and security forces to build their capacity to maintain stability on the ground.
As I have written before, security and stability in Afghanistan is critical for Afghan women and girls to expand upon the gains they have made since the fall of the Taliban. The United States should continue its support of Afghan women through agencies like the U.S. State Department and USAID, in addition to security assistance.
However, other regional support for Afghanistan would also be beneficial in promoting Afghanistan’s security, development, and economic growth—therefore ensuring that Afghan women and girls can maintain and build upon the gains they’ve made
In a recent CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum, Senior Fellow Alyssa Ayres argues that India could be a useful partner in promoting Afghan stability. Already, “India is the fifth-largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan with over $2 billion in pledged support,” she writes, “India constructed the Afghan parliament building, part of the interprovince Ring Road, electrical lines, and the Salma Dam, among others. India has also trained Afghan civil servants in Indian academies. The Confederation of Indian Industry has trained more than one thousand Afghans in carpentry, plumbing, and welding. The Self-Employed Women’s Association of India—a women’s trade union—has educated more than three thousand Afghan women in microenterprise.”
For more on India’s capabilities to advance security, stability, and growth in Afghanistan, read “Why the United States Should Work With India to Stabilize Afghanistan.”