Can Afghanistan contain insurgency?
May 16th, 2014
12:27 PM ET

Can Afghanistan contain insurgency?

“To contain a growing, increasingly confident insurgency as NATO troops withdraw, Afghanistan needs continued international support, including military, and the new government in Kabul will need to reinvigorate the state’s commitment to the rule of law,” the International Crisis Group writes in a report released this week.

But how likely is it that Afghanistan will receive the support it needs? And what are the next government’s chances of success? Graeme Smith, the author of the report and a senior analyst with ICG, will be answering readers’ questions on the future of Afghanistan.

Please leave your questions in the comments section below.

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Topics: Afghanistan • Reader Q&A

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Let me preface this by saying I am speaking only for myself and using hypotheticals. Which do you think Western policy makers would prefer... a new strong nationalistic government in Kabul that would be strong enough to expell the insurgency, but was anti-West OR a a weaker government that was unable to expell the insurgency, but in order to maintain some level of support from the US and West was pro-West...

    May 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • THORN

      That's an interesting point, but please, can you explain to me what it means to hate the "west"? What is the "west" where are the boundaries and what does it really mean? Why do people from just about everywhere migrate towards Europe and North America, "the west" I'm assuming, if the west is so terrible.Don't tell me it's the money thing because the money thing is all over the planet. I believe it's the "perceived" opportunity thing. We are at war with stateless criminal terrorists. State war is ending and we will make it our business to cross borders, with or without permission, to root out and kill them one by one or in groups. There are two realities the world must embrace, criminals will be prosecuted and Israel will exist. Everything else seems to be negotiable.

      May 18, 2014 at 7:53 am |
      • Robert

        First off I am a citizen of the 'west' and love my country so I personally do not hate the west. However, what I was trying to get at is many non-Western and even some Western states no longer believe we should no longer be a global police force and should stop being so hegemonic and allow other cultures to thrive.

        May 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  2. Peter mabas

    What,s gonna be the fate of that country,s future after NATO withdrawal?

    May 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      About the same as it was after the Russian withdrawal in 1989, Peter. It will take the Afghans decades to dig their way out of the mess NATO created there just as it took Vietnam decades to dig out of the mess we created there.

      May 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
      • Alan

        NATO didn't create anything. The Taliban did.

        May 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
  3. chri§§y

    Well we can't stay there forever! They're gonna have to learn how to contain a confident insurgency somehow! And if we havent taught them how by now then we never will.

    May 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
  4. ✠RZ✠

    Gee, was the insurgency ever really contained by anyone? Maybe pushed around, aside, or diminished at times. But unless the country changes and can somehow sustain a reasonably healthy economy and society, it will in all likelihood just revert back to what it was been for centuries.

    May 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
  5. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    May 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
  6. Inés Saldívar

    Would you consider the aid that the international community gave to Afghanistan was in fact effective to help rebuild the state or in fact it just left Afghanistan unable to to reach development by its own and the intervention will not help solve the real problems long term?

    May 16, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Can Afghan forces contain the the insurgency? Hopefully not! These thugs are no more than a mercenary occupation for the right-wing thugs in Washington so that the West can continue to exploit Afghanistan's underground mineral resources!

    May 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
  8. chri§§y

    Soooo NOT Joey! And i would say the aid given to Afghanistan in fact has turned that country to a "dependent" not an "independent" country!

    May 16, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
  9. Ferhat Balkan

    There are many challenges for Afghanistan. I hope that the leadership there will focus on education for all Afghans and more liberty for women. Clearly, the Taliban presents a great threat to the current government, but I believe the Afghan people will prove stronger against their scare tactics and in time achieves a true democracy.

    May 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Ferhat, it's not the Afghan people who oppose the Taliban but the West and it's crony government in Kabul with it's indigent mercenary troops. The same was very much true 30 years ago when the Russians were there to defend the Communist government that was in power then. We can very well do without another U.S. backed pseudo-democracy in Central Asia!

      May 17, 2014 at 12:25 am |
  10. hank paz

    What's the west's interest in counterinsurgency in Afghanistan? Is COIN the same as counterterrorism? Afghanistan's conflict cannot be solved without a regional approach and Pakistan's commitment to non-interference in Afghanistan.

    May 17, 2014 at 12:13 am |
  11. Matt

    They got 2024 won't sign. This election as we said is stretching out to June then fraud investigation 6 months was the limit. If the numbers of the residual force is not adequate might as well leave no one. And the time sets the decision on withdrawal and the numbers and relevance. I told Karzai 2024 in 2008/09 I leave with a clear conscience. But 10,000 is now getting close to off the table, moving towards 3,000.

    May 17, 2014 at 12:15 am |
  12. Naqib Wardak

    There was a lot of excitement about the first round of the election. The first round is shaping to be a more contest between a Tajik and a Pashtun. Will this not cause further split and instability?

    May 17, 2014 at 12:40 am |
  13. Jeff Roem

    I think Indian men are much more HAWT than Afghan men.

    May 17, 2014 at 12:45 am |
  14. Naqib Wardak

    Afghanistan's stability is a distant dream. The candidates standing for the election were part of the foundation of the current government which has done nothing in the last 13 years other than corruption and thievery. Without the money and support of foreign forces the upcoming government will have a short life.

    May 17, 2014 at 12:48 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Let's all you're right, Naqib. After all, Afghanistan belongs to the Afghans and nobody else!

      May 17, 2014 at 9:44 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Sorry Naqib for the misprint. I meant to say "Let's all hope you're right", not "Let's all you're right". I left out the word "hope".

      May 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
  15. j. von hettlingen

    Mr. Smith, are the top brass within the Afghan army loyal to Hamid Karzai? How much influence do the regional warlords have on the Afghan National Army? The problem Afghanistan has is that it has three armed forces there: the ANA, the warlords and the Taliban, along with the affiliated insurgent groups.

    May 17, 2014 at 4:59 am |
  16. common

    Insurgency will never be stopped ,US and the west have toppled the taliban in 2001 when they were ruling and allied with warlords and criminals

    May 17, 2014 at 11:31 am |
  17. KC Sekander

    Afghans are in obvious conflict with each other. This is in fact a civil war, though not thought of in that way because of U.S. goals for the region. However, foreign forces appear clearly to be used by all sides involved in the conflict. Or, perhaps foreign forces are using the Afghans? One thing is sure, the Afghans are in conflict with each other. The U.S. supports GIRoA against another group of Afghans, the insurgents. So instead of picking sides to implement violence, why can't the U.S. work to bring peace between the various Afghan groups in conflict? Moreover, instead of framing the question in a WE vs. THEM mentality – you know, how can WE contain THEM! – why can't we, as contemporary, liberal Americans, find a non-violent, higher road to peace? Continued mindset to see violence as the only tool in the shed suggests Afghanistan remains the foreseeable battle space for the projection of American authority, albeit violent, since, as President Bush said, the violence is "better over there than over here." That's the real reason why the U.S. wants to stay in Afghanistan – to keep attracting global terrorists/jihadists/Islamists to Afghan villages to try to ambush roaming U.S. special forces. The great game instead has turned into a cat and mouse chase.

    May 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
  18. Joseph McCarthy

    What should happen in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO forces is a resurgence of Communism. Unfortunately, the Taliban killed almost all the Communists but hopefully, the satellite state created by the NATO forces will also collapse.

    May 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • Ferhat Balkan

      Joseph, you've got to be joking. It was because of the Communists that the Mujahadeen existed in Afghanistan. It was because of the oppressive Soviet rule that the Afghani people had no choice but to rebel in the DRA. The Soviets have a long history of minority suppression and ethnic cleansing. The Soviet Union is the reason why the Taliban exists today. Thus, establishing a Communist state is the last thing on their minds right now. It is the one thing that the Afghans hate the most.

      May 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
  19. chri§§y

    Amen @ Robert! Not to mention that has become to big of a financial burden on this country...particularly when we have had to borrow from other countries!

    May 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
  20. Nangiyalay

    Things can really change if international community make Pakistan change it's policy towards Afghanistan ?

    May 19, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
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