One year on from the start of transition to Afghan lead for security
A year ago, on 17 July 2011, Afghan security forces formally took over the lead for security in Bamyan province from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Bamyan was part of the first tranche of provinces and districts to start transition. Since then, a further two tranches have been identified for transition – soon 75 per cent of the Afghan population will be living in areas under Afghan security lead. The transition process is due to be completed by end 2014, when ISAF’s mission will end.
At NATO’s recent summit in Chicago, leaders from ISAF’s troop-contributing nations, as well as international partners, including the United Nations, European Union and Japan and regional partners including Russia and Pakistan, met with the Afghan authorities. They discussed the completion of the transition process and how best to continue to support the Afghan security forces after 2014. They agreed to a follow-on NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
“We reaffirmed our strong commitment to support the training, equipping, financing and capability development of Afghan forces in the years to come,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, after the meeting.
“Allies and partners are playing their full part.… This is an investment in our own security, to maintain the hard fought gains we have achieved together,” he added.
The responsibility to contribute to the financing of this effort is one for the international community as a whole. It was high on the agenda of the recent Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, which aimed to pave the way for the sustainable development of Afghanistan, taking into account the situation after 2014.
The Tokyo Conference also noted the areas in which the Afghan government must continue to make progress. At the conference, the Afghan government undertook to pursue the commitments and values set out in the country’s constitution, concerning democracy, the rule of law and good governance, including fighting corruption and promoting human rights.
“These commitments […] are necessary for Afghanistan’s future success,” said NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Simon Gass, who represented the NATO Secretary General at the Tokyo Conference. “If there is no security then economic development will not last. But equally, if there is no prosperity security will not be sustainable. And both security and development will be difficult if not impossible without good governance.”
NATO remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in the long term. “Afghanistan will one day stand on its own, but it will not be standing on its own,” says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.