Addressing Afghanistan’s challenges requires a comprehensive approach, involving civilian and military actors, aimed not only at providing security but also at promoting good governance, the rule of law and long-term development. The Alliance acts in a supporting role to the Afghan government and works in close coordination with other international partners, including the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, the World Bank, the European Union and the development community.
The Alliance also works closely with many non-member countries to help secure Afghanistan’s future. Currently, ISAF troop contributors include 21 partners from as far afield as Australia and Latin America. Altogether, they represent almost a quarter of all the member countries of the United Nations, underlining the broad international support for ISAF’s mission. For many years, Australia was the top non-NATO troop-contributing nation. With more than 1500 troops deployed, Georgia is currently the largest partner troop contributor.
Beyond troop contributors, many partners are supporting ISAF’s mission and the international community’s objectives in Afghanistan in other ways, such as through over-flight and transit rights, or through financial support for building the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces and for development projects. Examples of this important support are given below.
Cooperation with countries in the region
Countries in the region, particularly Pakistan, have important roles in ensuring enduring peace, stability and security in Afghanistan. They share a common interest in reducing the threat of extremism, promoting regional security, and addressing the problem of drug trafficking. NATO shares the same interests and concerns. One of the main NATO supply routes into and out of Afghanistan passes south through Pakistan. And NATO’s Central Asian partners – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – have all provided some form of support to ISAF, including over-flight rights and the leasing of military bases to individual Allies. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (along with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine) have provided rail networks through which non-lethal supplies can be transported to and from Afghanistan along a northern route.
NATO and Russia have a common interest in stabilising Afghanistan and the broader region. Several initiatives are underway to help stabilise the country. Under the framework of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), some 2600 Afghan, Central Asian and Pakistani counter-narcotics personnel have been trained by April 2013, helping to develop regional capacity against the threat of drug trafficking. Another important initiative under the NRC is the Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund. Launched in March 2011, it provides maintenance and repair capacity, including the provision of spare parts and technician training, to the Afghan Air Force helicopter fleet. As of April 2013, some 30 personnel have received training. The second phase of this project was launched in April 2013 to include activities on more types of helicopters and in support to the development of the Afghan Air Force medical evacuation capabilities.
Since 2008, Russia has facilitated the transit of non-military equipment for ISAF contributors across Russian territory in support of the ISAF mission. NATO-Russia transit arrangements proved critical to the development of the northern supply route to Afghanistan, linking rail transportation between Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Initially set for non-lethal equipment originating from NATO member states, the arrangement was extended to the non-NATO troop-contributing nations, including reverse transit, at the NATO Lisbon Summit in November 2010. An agreement allowing for multi-modal reverse transit, using a mix of rail and air transit, for ISAF equipment through Russian territory was signed in July 2012.
Cooperation with Japan
Japan has provided much-valued support for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and for reconstruction and development efforts in Afghanistan. Japan helped mobilise international support for Afghanistan’s ongoing development by organising the Tokyo Conference in July 2012 and has itself pledged US$5 billion to this end over a five-year period (2009-2013).
In the past, Japan supported efforts to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate former combatants, and it continues to support efforts to reintegrate insurgents under the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program, to which Japan has contributed US$52 million.
Japan has also provided financial support to human security projects in numerous regions of Afghanistan since 2007. Facilitated by ISAF, the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) identify critical areas for Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GAGP). In 2009, Japan appointed liaison officers to the Lithuanian PRT in Chaghcharan and the Swedish PRT in Mazar-e Sharif to support these programmes. Moreover, Japan has made valuable contributions to the Afghan National Army (ANA) Trust Fund aimed at equipping and sustaining the ANA, including US$20 million for literacy programmes as well as funds to procure medical supplies. Additionally, Japan has made generous contributions to a NATO/Partnership Trust Fund project in Afghanistan with a view to enhancing stockpile management and physical security of ammunitions.
Japan has also been contributing generously to the Law and Order Trust Fund in Afghanistan (LOFTA) since 2007, mainly to support the salaries and training of Afghan police. Donations over the three-year period from 2010 to 2012 amounted to almost US$600 million.