The Afghan government is unprepared to assume security responsibility following the withdrawal of NATO forces in 2014 and could potentially collapse, the International Crisis Group warned Monday.
“There is a real risk that the regime in Kabul could collapse upon NATO’s withdrawal in 2014,” Candace Rondeaux, the International Crisis Group (ICG) senior Afghanistan analyst, was quoted by Pajhwok news agency as saying.
Afghanistan: The Long, Hard Road to the 2014 Transition, Crisis Group’s new report, explains how the country is on course for another set of fraudulent elections and how that could undermine what little hope remains for stability after it takes full responsibility for security.
“The Afghan army and police are overwhelmed and underprepared for the transition,” believes Rondeaux, who said: “Another botched election and resultant unrest would push them to breaking point.”
According to the document, the government’s credibility has not recovered since the chaotic presidential and parliamentary polls in 2009 and 2010, and so far, leaders have been unable to reverse the downward spiral.
“President Karzai and parliament have long known what needs to be done to ensure a clean vote, but they have steadfastly refused to take any serious steps in that direction,” says Rondeaux.
“Karzai seems more interested in perpetuating his own power by any means rather than ensuring credibility of the political system and long-term stability in the country”.
Resolving both the long crisis over electoral administration and related constitutional disputes could well be the key to determining whether the current political system will survive the NATO drawdown.
If the elections are rigged again, the credibility of the authorities will be cast into even deeper doubt and more people will look to alternatives, adds the report, which claims many key tasks are unfinished, particularly regarding electoral oversight.
Confusion over the rival authority of several commissions and the courts threatens to unravel the system entirely, it continues. Constitutional defects need to be addressed and rule of law has to be reinforced.
As the first step, the date for presidential elections be set as soon as possible, the group demands.
“Unfortunately, it is not likely many in the political elite view the problem this way. The danger is President Karzai’s top priority is maintaining control, either directly or via a trusted proxy.
“He and other leading members of the elite may be able to cobble together a broad temporary alliance, but political competition is likely to turn violent on the heels of NATO’s withdrawal,” it concluded.