Afghanistan: A Second Chance at Security?
While an upsurge of hostilities in the Middle East is the last thing that the world needs in the foreseeable future, mounting violence in Afghanistan caused by Sunni-Shia confrontations as well as the re-emergence of al-Qaeda operatives may be the last chance for the West to carry out damage control in the region and subsequently pave a way for a more peaceful Middle East. Such effort requires a strong multinational military intervention led by the United States’ renewed military commitment based on its principles of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW), political mandates upon Sunni-Shia Arab leaders to stop the Radical Islamist hostilities against their own people subsequently curtailing Islamist terrorist resurgence as well as diplomatic efforts between the West and major Arab leaders.
Sunni-Taliban and al-Qaeda led insurgencies
Existing Sunni-Taliban-led insurgencies in Afghanistan have risen due to the heavy focus on Shia factions in the running of the current Northern Alliance government in Afghanistan. This has resulted in the Taliban and the al-Qaeda terrorist organization taking hold amongst the population since being removed by the United States forces in 2001.
The Taliban is well-known for their extreme interpretation of Islamic Sharia Law which includes their ban to any form of communication and entertainment, oppression on women and children, and the enforcement of harsh judicial penalties. (pbs.org, 2006) The Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance however came about when Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in 1996. As a result al-Qaeda-trained fighters known as the 055 Brigade were integrated with the Taliban army between 1997 and 2001. (pbs.org, 2006) Both the Taliban and al-Qaeda organization are Sunni-based Radical Islamist groups and with heightened Sunni-Shia conflicts as well as more and more Afghans switching sides to the Taliban due to the lack of progress and opportunities in Afghanistan, the Sunni-led Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgencies have once again resurfaced.
The Taliban’s motivation for the escalations of hostilities is their frustrations for being ousted by the United States forces and on being denied recognition as the legal government of Afghanistan by the United Arab Emirates and later Saudi Arabia for failing to hand over bin Laden and al-Qaeda terrorists following the aftermath of September 11. (pbs.org, 2006) Subsequently, in 2002, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously established an arms embargo and the freezing of identifiable assets belonging to bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining Taliban. (globalpolicy.org, 2007)
The aforementioned events have prompted Taliban’s Radical Islamist sentiments to manifest into outrage when the Shia-based Northern Alliance party was given authority by the West to run Afghanistan as a country. As a result the Taliban began taking out their frustrations on Afghans that follow the secular governance of Western backed Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. In 2006, Taliban militants have been warning educators in Afghanistan that they will be killed if they continue to work for the government of President Karzai. About 20 teachers were killed and the numbers have increased extending beyond the rest of the Afghan population that support the Western backed Afghan government. (Straziuso, 2006)
Iraq’s Sunni-Shia Spill-over
Meanwhile, Sunni-Shia confrontations in Iraq have also spiraled out of control and fueled the political and cultural crisis in Afghanistan’s existing repressive environment. The controversial death punishment of Saddam Hussein ignited clashes between the Sunni-Shia population in Iraq which already had followers from the Sunni insurgency groups led by vengeful al-Qaeda followers of the dead terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. (BBC News, 2006) With coordination among these insurgent and terrorist groups, the Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants in Afghanistan and Iraq’s al-Qaeda operatives have been expanding and establishing exchanges in resources, information and command and control network to resume their unwarranted terrorist uprisings.
Drugs and the Afghanistan-Pakistan Tensions
In addition, insurgent fights are dependent upon the drug trafficking exports out of Afghanistan, which produces 90 percent of the world’s heroin supply. (Chossudovsky, 2004) According to Afghan sources and a United Nations report, active illegal drug traders in southern Afghanistan initiate al-Qaeda recruits from Pakistan’s madrassas (religious schools) to train new recruits in guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics, by using their influence against the border-sealing plan between Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Yousafzai; Moreau and Hosenball, 2006) The drug trade has also deteriorated diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ironically, while both states face threats of terrorism, they are divided by bitter cross-charges of failing to curb the growing Islamic insurgency that operates on both sides of the border. This tension has persisted despite a series of high-level meetings between President Karzai and senior Pakistani officials, as well as meetings between Karzai and Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf with President Bush at the White House in September 2006. (Abramowitz and De Young, 2006)
While the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists have been able to take advantage of the areas within Afghanistan and Pakistan for sanctuary, command and control as well as for regrouping and supply, Pakistani officials maintain that they have tried every possible means of reining in the fighters by sending army troops to the resistant border areas and negotiating agreements with tribal leaders who pledged to control armed Islamic groups to no avail. Pakistani officials have also insisted that Pakistan has no interest in harboring terrorist activities, as renewed turmoil would cause Afghan refugees to flee across the border consequently posing problems for Pakistan. (Constable, 2007)
Regardless of Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf’s promise to work with the international community in curtailing the reemergence of al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization stronghold within the Pakistan and the Afghanistan border has managed to recruit new members, taking advantage of these tensions and resuming its activities in these areas. Consequently, these hostilities have managed to trigger an all-out civil war by instigating local Sunni tribal factions and warlords against the Shia Northern Alliance, in addition to Shia militia clashes between the Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives.
Furthermore, the recent surge of United States military troops in Iraq did not help the widespread of Radical Islamist frustrations in the region. In fact the United States policy has provoked both the Sunni Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists to commit outrageous acts of killing and mass murdering anyone in Afghanistan affiliated with the Western backed Northern Alliance government or those that follow the secular Western lifestyle instead of the Islamic Sharia Law proclaimed by the Taliban. As a result widespread bloodshed has once again killed many innocent Afghan civilians to a point near genocidal levels and Afghan refugees once again scatter in the surrounding states for shelter. This renewed hostility and live scenario of mounting violence witness fierce battles raging in southern Afghanistan, insurgent attacks in the in the provinces surrounding Kabul and terrorist violence targeting urban centers.
Planning and Implementation of military intervention – key issues
Due to the tenaciously persistent and bloody nature of insurgent fighting in Afghanistan that had occurred from a spill-over effect of civil warring in Iraq and clashes in the surrounding areas as well as the challenges due to inadequate international commitment, military intervention in Afghanistan will have to take place from every aspect of international efforts, be it from the contribution of regional organizations, the cooperation of leaders in the Arab region with the Western policymakers as well as an additional ad hoc international coalition that can collaborate with North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) International Security Assistant Force’s (ISAF) efforts in military intervention as well as post-conflict reconstruction. The near genocidal nature of this crisis is alarming and disastrous to a large scale that powerful member states of the West will be remiss if they do not intervene. The ramification of such religious-based political frustrations against the West is an absolute potentiality for another massive terror attack against any member states of the West. Thus, any planning and implementation of military intervention should be based upon utilizing every avenue of multinational and regional efforts possible in order to halt all hostilities before the Radical Islamists become too cohesive and out of control to the effect of sparking the next World War.
On managing multinational forces, the United Nations, regional organizations, and an ad hoc coalition should be utilized and well coordinated. In all cases a clear mandate that defines the purpose, planning, and predictive time frame of the military operations is necessary, alongside an effective collaboration between the military commanders and the political leaders which will be undeniably required when coordinating Military Operations Other Than War principles between national command authorities in Afghanistan and policy decision makers at home. This joint effort should translate political objectives into explicit military missions that, in turn, should determine the composition and specific roles of the forces. Unified operational control of the multinational forces and systematic supervision of military ground activities with frequent feedback to the political leadership are vital elements in managing a renewed intervention in Afghanistan.
United Nations involvement will add to the importance of legitimacy of military intervention and will not be much of a stumbling block to military intervention in a case of genocidal escalation of innocent Afghans. Also United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) authorization originally authorized and implemented the International Security Assistance Forces, thus the United Nation’s involvement is important to the implementation of military intervention.
There is also a need to acknowledge that each arrangement for managing multinational forces presents diverse and difficult challenges. While the United Nations is clearly not a war-fighting organization; lacking a standing army and constraint by its Charter clauses on the use of force, (crf-usa.org, 2007) its management has helped organize and coordinate and produce much needed mandates in peacekeeping for the past 50 years.
Management by regional organizations on the other hand is potentially promising, but to date both the political willingness and military capabilities are lacking, except in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In 2006, Southern Afghanistan had faced one of the deadliest violence in the country however NATO troops battled resurgent militants with Operation Medusa to destroy Taliban forces numbering more than 1000 in Panjwaye and Zhari Districts of Kandahar Province; areas where the Taliban had almost complete control of the region. (USINFO, 2006)
Since the North Atlantic alliance possesses a highly capable command and planning structure albeit being a slow process, continued regional organizations involvement will be the major force in confronting the existing challenges especially on the lack of military manpower in combating terrorism in Afghanistan and subsequently in the Middle East region.
An international ad hoc coalition of willing member states will be useful in the area of support as it is based on political willingness which lends an indefinite commitment to the crisis. However, ad hoc coalitions are also known to extend beyond peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and non coercive military support; thus in the case of Afghanistan, an international ad hoc coalition will be most useful as reinforcement to the main military intervention efforts by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as well as United States-led Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW).
The option of major single-nation intervention should remain open for any of the major Western states to volunteer contribution, and in the case of Afghanistan, the United States efforts in toppling the Taliban in 2001 should act as a reminder that past United States-led success should motivate the United States and its powerful allies to renew their military commitment in order to motivate other states to contribute troops and resources and act concertedly.
Moreover, the United States has made a long-term commitment to help Afghanistan rebuild itself after years of war, by providing resources and expertise to Afghanistan in a variety of areas, including humanitarian assistance, capacity-building, security needs, and infrastructure projects. In addition, the United States also supports the Afghan government in its efforts to establish a framework for a vibrant civil society, one that emphasizes democratic principles through a rule of law and creates accountable and transparent forms of government. It also remains committed to helping Afghans realize their vision for a country that is stable, democratic, and economically successful, as well as for the protection of women’s rights, human rights, and religious tolerance. (whitehouse.gov, 2005) Abandoning these efforts would prove to be a waste of substantial efforts on the United States part and detrimental to regional and global security.
Interveners in Afghanistan should also learn from previous efforts that contribute to the effective use of multinational military forces in dealing with this deadly conflict. One important thing to note is that in retrospect of past conflicts and current hostilities from Lebanon-Israel to Palestine and Iraq, it is undeniable that decisions to use force will continue to be extraordinarily difficult for national leaders both individually and collectively. However this burden can be lightened somewhat by increasing the coalition states’ confidence in the ability of the international community to manage the use of force effectively. This requires a new outlook on the use of force and the adoption of specific mechanisms to address the many shortcomings of previous military interventions namely the Kosovo War and the Invasion of Iraq. The utilization of the United States principles of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) versus traditional war fighting and modifications to the areas of management arrangement for the various conflict managers will be required for a renewed military intervention.
Three Vital Areas
The major obstacles and challenges of this renewed crisis have to be properly addressed by the appropriate strategies utilized in the corresponding multinational military forces, political peacemaking tools and reconstruction efforts to their specific tasks; placing emphasis on the number and composition based on the mission and the situation they are likely to encounter. Despite adequate numbers and equipment, intervention is likely to be effective only if operations are adequately staffed and supported in the areas of command and control, intelligence, and logistics.
Command and control is the vital link between the leadership and the troops. It encompasses the analysis, planning, decision making, and communications necessary to direct military operations. Unified efforts between policymakers on the domestic front at home and on the military front should be made more transparent for an effective command and control. Regardless of politics relating to the differences in principles and the political environments of politicians versus the military, military operations will likely be haphazard and indecisive if there were no compromise on operational decisions and objectives between the two groups. It is a difficult and challenging task to establish a unified command arrangement, but if it is not clear who is in charge, and how each group can compromise on certain areas in order to come to an agreement on policy and ground decisions, ineffective operations are likely to result.
Intelligence work is also of crucial stake as military operations are blind without timely and accurate information. Afghanistan’s renewed Sunni-Shia crisis is intertwined with terrorism. This added challenge demands much intelligence work in identifying the life support of terrorism, locating terrorist sanctuaries and understanding the nature of Radical Islamist terrorism. Therefore, the initial planning for any military intervention must include provisions for intelligence support from several national sources not only pertaining to objectives and specific physical locations but psychological motivations and influences as well. The United States National Strategy For Combating Terrorism lays out a thorough guideline to confronting terrorist threats today (Bush, 2002) however it is lacking in facts pertaining to understanding the nature of Islamist Radical terrorism and this is where intelligence work is most valuable.
Military planners and commanders need to understand the political and economic context of the conflict as well as the tactical situation. Nevertheless, intelligence support has been a major weakness for most multinational military operations most prominent in the context of the United States Invasion of Iraq. This stems largely from an inherent reluctance to share intelligence because of concern for the protection of the sources and methods by which it was acquired and developed and perhaps for all the wrong reasons in committing to the operation in the first place. The United States commitment in Iraq for instance was questioned by the international community based on blood versus treasure; its national interests of securing oil resource as well as purported pursuits of democracy. (Smock, 2003) United States intelligence support for the Invasion of Iraq was flawed pointing to the presence of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism links to al-Qaeda terrorists; both not evident in the findings of the 9-11 Commission report. (9-11commission.gov, 2004)
Finally, military operations cannot be conducted without a range of logistical support and resources which include airlift, sealift, and expeditionary units and service support troops. Providing logistical support for multinational forces can be difficult because of multinational differences in equipment and procedures as outlined by Benjamin S. Lambeth’s Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Analysis. Lambeth cites the ongoing technological advances of the United States in war fighting and trust upon informational operations as reasons why coalition partners and allies are not able to catch up with comparable weapons systems, (Lambeth, 2001) however this is not necessarily true as powerful Western nations and its allies often conduct bilateral and multilateral military exercises and with concerted objectives in mind will most likely have inter-operable resources that will complement each others’ capabilities and tasks.
Intervention: Specific Tasks
The United States
The United States should lead the command and control of the multinational military intervention by calling upon a coalition of Western states and allies to volunteer military forces in addition to the existing North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in the region. The United States should also pave the way for additional support from an international ad hoc coalition of forces in addition to a renewed United States involvement by utilizing its principles of Military Operations Other Than War’s (MOOTW) Principal Missions and Collateral Activities, in distinguishing where direct military intervention should take place specifically in confronting al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as security assistance in dealing with civil war factions. This is to help secure Afghanistan’s environment with the emphasis for a larger Special Forces and Civil Affairs team to be stationed in major Afghan cities where the use of military force as a conflict management tool should be employed specifically so that peacekeepers and humanitarian aid workers can effectively do their jobs.
The principles of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) will be useful in Afghanistan as the objective is to avoid the outbreak of war due to the escalation of hostilities by the Sunni-Shia crisis as well as to promote peace in Afghanistan and subsequently the Greater Middle East region. The Special Operation Forces Principle missions in carrying out a forceful military intervention will be the deterrent factor of war and when combined with its Collateral Activities in coalition support operations, humanitarian, and security assistance efforts, (Joint Publication 3-07) is hoped to balance the negative image of conventional warring. This will allow military intervention as a form of rescue to take place with less hindrance from the public stereotypical outcry against the military’s capability of ‘breaking and killing’ as well as a systematic whole approach in assisting Afghanistan after the cessation of hostilities.
Also, Military Operations Other Than War’s (MOOTW) psychological operations (PSYOP) is a tool that will help interveners achieve legitimacy on their military intervention’s use of force. PSYOP transform the beliefs and images of warring and military actions through a “planned, systematic process of conveying messages to and influencing selected target groups.” (Joint Publication 3-07) These messages are aimed toward promoting positive messages behind inflicted actions in order to bring about desirable attitudes and favorable perceptions toward the renewed military intervention by United States forces and its joint coalition with NATO and other international participation.
The United Nations
Within the United Nations, the main role of the Security Council is to provide the ultimate source of legitimacy for multilateral military operations by making authoritative decisions on when, where, and for what purpose multinational forces are used. The United Nation’s other role involves managing peacekeeping operations under the secretary-general in conjunction with his diplomatic role in conflict resolution. While the efficacy of the United Nations in conducting these operations is debatable, it is without doubt that the United Nations has gained considerable experience over the past 50 years and its involvement lends valid consent on the legality and legitimacy of peacekeeping operations and the use of force for self-defense. Where United Nations peacekeeping efforts fail to keep the peace, the international ad hoc coalition forces should step in and be able to contribute in areas especially where the use of military forces during conflict or crisis calls for.
On the issue of impartiality, it is undeniably legitimate to maintain fairness in military interventions especially where religious and ethnic clashes are concerned. However in the case of escalating civil war in Afghanistan which implicates the threat of terrorism, ethnic cleansing will have to be dealt with promptly and severely. International intervention in such matters should be backed up by the United Nations’ authority on the use of force to successfully prompt insurgents to end such hostilities with an ultimatum from the international community. Such clear rules of engagement can go a long way in deterring abuse by the belligerents.
As such, comprehensive contingency planning for the use of military forces should be undertaken by the United Nations in conjunction with regional organizations and coalitions. This planning should cover deterrence, persuasion, humanitarian relief, and peacekeeping operations. The United Nations should also manage peacekeeping operations involving observers and peacekeeping forces in both the deterrence and peacekeeping phases and additional support by the regional organization or ad hoc coalition should manage military operations aimed at compelling hostilities. Contingency planning should also account for transitions in managing operations from coalitions or other organizations to the United Nations or vice versa.
Regional Organizations – NATO’s ISAF
Multinational forces of regional organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should participate in discussing ways to reduce the level of violence in the Afghanistan mainly because regional organizations have the responsibility for collective security within their charter and in doing so should develop appropriate political-military interfaces to manage multinational military operations. The NATO North Atlantic Council has been a very useful model. (nato.int, 2002) Within regional multinational force involvement, a military headquarters and staff should be established to coalesce with other single-nation interveners such as the United States’ leadership or other Western states’ commitment for all parties to respond in a concerted manner.
Because of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) capabilities and combat readiness, they should shoulder the larger load of military operations alongside single-nation state interveners. While regional states members bordering areas of conflict usually have a better understanding than more distant nations of the problem and its cultural context their involvement, in the case of Afghanistan this is not recommended since the Sunni-Shia conflict takes too much toll on religious and ethnic sentiments for surrounding states to intervene militarily without being prejudiced or partial. Also, other than NATO, most regional organizations are not always willing to intervene militarily in conflicts, and therefore neither appropriately structured to manage military operations much less have the necessary resources.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in which Afghanistan authorized via the United Nations Security Council has been an active international stabilization force since December 2001. As of October 2006, ISAF personnel consists of about 32,000 personnel from 34 nations and rigorously command the south and east of Afghanistan. (Gallis, 2006) When NATO assumed control of all of Afghanistan from the United States military in 2006, the plan was for NATO to take over responsibility for Afghanistan and for the United States military to gradually scale back its commitment. However that has not happened. A NATO conference in late 2006 had failed to win the requested number of troops from member countries. Some countries, such as Germany and France, have refused to send a significant number of soldiers to the troubled south or east, where most of the fighting takes place. (Meyer, 2006) The United States will have to step in once again in order for NATO and other member nations to resume interest and consequently increase troop and resource commitments in the near future.
Ad hoc International Coalition for Support
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) intervention along with additional commitment by willing member states for security enforcement as well as an ad hoc international coalition in carrying out military and logistical support for military interventions will be an international joint cooperation in Afghanistan. The main challenge with a joint cooperation is overcoming the reluctance of Western state leaders to take military action especially on the issue of ethnic clashes and religion. The truth is that not many states are willing to invest their political capital in risky and controversial international interventions that are bound with uncertain outcomes. The alarming rate of innocent civilian deaths and genocidal acts of hostilities sprung from the clashes between the Sunni-Shia groups as well as al-Qaeda members would be the foremost compelling factor for the international community to intervene because these out of control acts threaten the major security interests of these leading nations. The hope is for substantial military involvement by the international community to come forward and extend help beyond peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations.
With the manpower and resources extended from the international community, a persistent yet forceful employment of military intervention is aimed at achieving success. Such use of force would substantially raise the costs to the al-Qaeda terrorist groups that grossly violate human rights. Furthermore, the principle of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) is best used when complemented by a joint coalition effort. The concerted act of the international community to come forward and partake in the intervention will strengthen MOOTW’s objectives in eliminating the Taliban and al-Qaeda threat and subsequently secure an environment conducive for post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
Another factor is the confidence level in the ability of the international forces to prevent or suppress the conflict. If leaders have more confidence in the ability of the international community to manage the intervention in Afghanistan successfully with limited losses, they would certainly be more willing to commit their states to international efforts. Such confidence, coupled with a clear understanding of costs, risks, expected duration of a contemplated intervention, and the prospects of success, would better equip leaders to make a compelling case and take the risks associated with military intervention as well as per capita assistance funding in building and maintaining the Afghan economy in the post-conflict reconstruction phase.
For the planning of the ad hoc grouping of nations for an international coalition, the United States will need to call upon other member states to establish a degree of commonality in their objectives for military intervention as well as post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan. More widespread sharing of national analyses of conflicts and of the costs, risks, and benefits of using military forces would be useful. These exchanges should help inform interveners on when and how multinational forces should be employed.
On the domestic front, political leaders should seek to expand foreign policy objectives to include reducing the level of international violence. Leaders should mobilize their countries to become involved in efforts to prevent or contain deadly conflict or all the efforts for the purpose of improving the capacity of the international community to deal with deadly conflict will ultimately be of little use. Domestic structures may need to be adjusted to deal more effectively with foreign internal conflicts. For example, additional military police units will be called upon as military forces to become increasingly involved with operations that put them into direct contact with civilian populations on a regular basis and training for these military police units will have to be undertaken in order to prepare them for the battles and challenges on the ground.
Ad hoc coalition states must either borrow from an existing command structure, such as The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO), or rely mainly on the assets of the leading partners. With commonality in objectives and interests, like-minded nations are likely to possess interoperable equipment, easing logistical problems, and as previously touched upon many may have already conducted bilateral and multilateral military exercises with the United States and among its allies. Since these coalitions usually involve one or more of the major powers, material and financial support is assured, and the depth and quality of military resources when compounded together can often exceed those available in the membership of regional organizations. The only setback for coalitions is when they are in danger of disintegrating during the course of difficult military operations, where national interests may take precedence over common interests over time. This was without a doubt a huge setback during the Gulf War.
At the London Conference of 31 January-1 February 2006, Kabul and over 60 nations and international institutions agreed on three critical and interdependent areas of activity over five years. They are security and governance, rule of law and human rights, and social and economic development. (Witte, 2006) In order to ensure the pursuits of these internationally agreed goals, international coalition forces will need to possess the persistence to commit to staying the course in Afghanistan. Persistence paid off for past coalition efforts in rooting out the rebel forces. In late August 2005, Afghan government forces backed by United States troops and heavy air strikes successfully ousted Taliban forces in which up to 124 fighters were, according to Afghan government estimates, killed. (Burns, 2005) In Operation Mountain Thrust launched in May 2006 with the purpose of rooting out Taliban forces, more than 1,100 Taliban fighters were killed and almost 400 captured in the month and a half long operation. (cdi.org, 2006)
While the launch of attacks was carried out solely by American and British forces, a number of other countries provided support to coalition efforts. Among them France (4500 troops), Germany (3000 troops), and Canada (2500 troops) contributed the most number of troops, with Italy (1,900 troops), Romania (1500 troops) and the Netherlands (1400 troops) trailing behind. (iiss.org, 2006) Canada and the United Kingdom and a joint European force of Danish, Dutch and Norwegian as well as separate Polish Navy have also provided a large number of naval and aircraft deployment which include naval ships, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, destroyers, frigates, nuclear fleet submarines, fighter aircrafts, tanker aircrafts, surveillance aircrafts, reconnaissance aircrafts, transport aircrafts and Chinook helicopters. (defenselink.mil, 2002) Canadian and Dutch forces are also commendable for their leadership roles in NATO’s Regional Command South in Afghanistan’s Operation Medusa, Operation Mountain Fury and in the Battle of Panjwaii. (unhcr.org, 2006) With a renewed United States-led military intervention, there is a chance for additional troops and resources contributions from these interested member nations to form a larger coalition.
On the other hand Australia only committed 300 Australian Special Air Service Regiment while Sweden sent 200 troops from the Swedish military Special Operations Unit. (CBC news, 2006) With regard to Australia and Sweden, it is hopeful that the United States could muster more troop and, or resource contributions from both countries as well as other Scandinavian nations such as Norway and Denmark. The Scandinavian nations did contribute troops and aircraft artillery however a persistent and overwhelming operation will need more than the respective current commitments.
Other Arab nation contributions also saw a large mine clearing team from Jordan and Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf did offer support despite reluctance in the Arab communities toward retaliation against the al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan. Also, Pakistan and Iran have agreed to open borders to receive the expected increased migration of refugees from Afghanistan with the former allocating three airbases to the United States for the invasion of Afghanistan. (globalsecurity.org, 2007) With a separate crisis in Iraq concerning Iran’s recent alleged provision of ammunition to Qud forces against United intervention in Iraq (Knowlton, 2007) as well as sensitive issues of ethnic clashes and Islamist Radicalism, it would be advisable for Arab states to steer cleer of any military contribution to avoid further cmplications in military operations. However, humanitarian and logistical service support would definitely be welcomed when offered. In addition, Afghanistan’s own National Army (ANA) should be involved in providing additional policing support to the larger coalition efforts. This will enable them to reinforce their strength and capabilities through the renewed military intervention in order to prepare them for post-conflict reconstruction in managing their own areas as foreign coalition troops exit.
Diplomacy and Post-Conflict Reconstruction
On the diplomatic front, the United Nations and major interveners will need to identify Arab states that play a big influence in Sunni-Shia confrontations and firmly persuade these states through a United Nation’s global coalition mandate to order violent hostilities amongst Sunni-Shia insurgents to cease. Another possibility would be meeting with Iranian (Shia influence) and Pakistani (Sunni influence) officials with Afghan leaders and Western nations interveners as well as other Sunni Arab states participation to dissuade further aggressions by calling on the Muslim community to condemn the hostilities by the Taliban and al-Qaeda terror acts. Along this line, the United Nations should reaffirm its resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001) (un.org, 2007) in supporting international efforts to root out terrorism as the the organization condemns the Taliban regime and maintains its peacekeeping mission.
Actions to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan must be based on and enforce the rule of law with priority given to the reform of the police and judiciary. Diplomacy and deals should not focus on any deal making with the Taliban. The key to restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan is not making concessions to the violent extremists but meeting the legitimate grievances and needs of the population who for the most part have eagerly embraced democratization. (Ingalls, 2004) With regard to state-building, undesirable elements must be eliminated from positions of power in the new institutions.
To serve its own interests and those of the Afghan people better, the international community must now demand serious steps of the Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s government to end the culture of impunity which is the obstacle to genuine reform. There must also be greater attention paid to building institutions at provincial and district level for real change to take place in the lives of Afghans. Reorganizing and initiating the largely ignored legislative branch into the heart of the governance process will also ensure attempts to be heard. The Bonn Process Compact’s (European Union, 2006) overseer of Afghan ministers and major international players should help drive the motivation and ensure coordination through additional regular meetings of the interveners and by establishing to draw the National Assembly into the process. Here state-building and counter-insurgency efforts must be complementary thus even after hostilities have ceased and the insurgents eradicated, there has to be ongoing security efforts. While Afghanistan’s security issues must be faced, policies must also be framed that keep long-term institution-building in mind, because that is the only path to lasting stability.
Massive humanitarian, refugee and food efforts by the United Nations, private humanitarian organizations as well as non governmental organizations will have to provide for the existing 1.5 million Afghan’s suffering from starvation, as well as an additional 7.5 million Aghans’ suffering as a result of the country’s situation; (World Food Programme, 2007) the combination of civil war, famine, and with regard to the increasing renewed hostilities of the Taliban’s oppressive regime and the aftermath of renewed U.S.-led multinational military invasion. Specifically, the United Nations World Food Programme which was temporarily suspended within Afghanistan at the beginning of the bombing attacks (World Food Programme, 2006) will have to resume and food sources will be needed to provide sufficient relief to the impoverished masses. Non governmental organizations will be allowed to resume humanitarian assistance and will be required to work smoothly with security assistance troops when the circumstances dictate. As reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts are ongoing, the Northern Alliance will have to be reorganized and revamped to include representatives from various factions thereby dissolving warlord factions. This will provide a legitimate channel for factions to cease and acquire legitimate voice in Afghanistan’s governmental bodies.
This recommended approach when carried out with full intensity by all parties to the intervention and reconstruction efforts should pave a way for Afghanistan to hold its own against any Sunni-Shia crises and subsequently rivaling clashes against their own people. By acknowledging the importance of diversity within Afghanistan, and by providing a legitimate and working government that is able to provide jobs for its people, the Afghans would certainly learn to place value upon their newly developed identity as a more secular state separate from Islamist Radicalism and will be able to use this newly reinforced security to build their own economy and judicial system.
The decision for a previous quick and cheap intervention is what brought Afghanistan to its present dangerous situation. This armed ethnic and religious conflict will undeniably take many years however the Afghans need to be reassured that the West’s intention is clear; that is to help them achieve the status of an inclusive state.
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