Support for Afghan war is at its lowest ebb in Europe and America. Most of the people in America and Europe believe that they are fighting an unjust war. According to AP-GFK recent poll, only 27 percent of Americans support Afghan war while 66 percent oppose it. Public opinion in Europe is also against this war and they want an early pullout from Afghanistan. Australian government has already announced that they will bring back their troops in 2013, but their support for Afghanistan will continue in terms of training, reconstruction and development. French government has also announced that they will also pull out their troops from Afghanistan in 2013, but will continue their support with financial assistance and training of the Afghans security forces.
According to NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen some allies have pledged to contribute a significant amount for Afghanistan. Britain has pledged $100 million annually; Italy, $120 million; Australia, $100 million; and Turkey, $20 million. It is expected that France will contribute around $256 and Canada $125 million. NATO secretary general believes that other partners will also come forward and pledge a considerable sum for the stability of Afghanistan.
US policy in Afghanistan is marred by suspicion and doubt. After strategic deal with Afghanistan, it is expected that America will stay there even beyond 2014 with around 15,000 to 25,000 troops. This means drone strikes, night raids, cross-border attacks and covert operations by Special Forces will continue in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas. This force will be there to secure America’s strategic interests in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan, to eliminate safe havens of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and to keep continued surveillance on nuclear activities of Iran. Presence of foreign forces after 2014 will destabilize Afghanistan. Taliban will attack these forces with impunity and more frequently. Ultimately, Afghanistan will again plunge into the quagmire of instability and turmoil.
Afghanistan needs some practical solutions; it is difficult for NATO to achieve the goal of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. There is a lack of commitment in the US-led alliance. ISAF has seen frequent failures in last 11 years and now they are war weary. Their shaking economies and incensed public opinion does not allow them to continue this aimless war.
It is advisable that instead of spending billions of dollars on Afghan security forces, the US-led alliance with the help of regional countries like Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran and Central Asian states starts dialogue process in Afghanistan. There is a need to give equal political representation to all ethnic groups in Afghanistan. Politically stable Afghanistan will bring peace and prosperity and end hostilities among ethnic groups.
Pakistan’s role will be crucial in the stability of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s security forces proactively carry out search operation against militants linked with Al-Qaeda and other groups and never allow Pakistan’s soil against any neighboring country. Stable Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan. Stability in Afghanistan will open avenues of trade for Pakistan with resource rich Central Asian state. Without any comprehensive political strategy, it is not possible for international community to resolve Afghan issue. Role of the regional countries is crucial for the long-term peace and stability of Afghanistan.