Coalition warfare in Afghanistan: Burden-sharing or disunity? (Chatham House)

As long as parts of Pakistan serve as a safe haven for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, coalition forces will not be able to control Afghanistan.

Summary

Western forces’ success in fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and in achieving a satisfactory level of security throughout Afghanistan remains limited. The lack of success results from the coalition’s failure to develop and implement jointly a coherent strategy for Afghanistan that integrates counter-insurgency, counterterrorism and stability and reconstruction operations.

– The coalition’s internal cohesion regarding the development of the Afghanistan operation is becoming increasingly fragile. The willingness to share risks has become a key issue. National caveats are increasingly disputed. Not all NATO member states are prepared to send their forces into combat. This puts the fundamental principle of alliance solidarity on the line.

– The coalition forces’ comprehensive approach towards stability and reconstruction operations remains an elusive concept on the ground in Afghanistan. The consensus is that civil–military cooperation has to become an instrumental part of the Afghan operation, but it remains an unresolved issue how this could be translated into operational practice.

– The conflict has increasingly become a regional one. Taliban bases in Pakistan cannot be targeted by coalition forces; however, logistical and armament supplies out of Pakistan are significant, and Pakistan is used as a recruitment base. As long as parts of Pakistan serve as a safe haven for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, coalition forces will not be able to control Afghanistan.

Coalition warfare in Afghanistan: Burden-sharing or disunity? (Chatham House)

Afghanistan

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