This will be a crucial year for Afghanistan. The NATO-led international combat operation is scheduled to end after 13 years, to be replaced by an operation designed to “train, advise and assist” the Afghan armed forces. US will leave almost 10,000 troops there beyond 2014 and other NATO allies are expected to come forward with numbers soon. Meanwhile presidential elections have been held that will bring an end to the 12-year rule of President Hamid Karzai.

So far however, things are not looking good. A recent UN report says civilian combat deaths from were up 17% in the first half of the year, to 1,564, amid intensified attacks by  Taliban forces seemingly emboldened by the drawdown of foreign troops.

The presidential elections have produced tensions in the anti-Taliban camp, with the outcome of second-round runoff bitterly contested by the two candidates – former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani and ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. Diplomats are scrambling to prevent the dispute flaring into violence.

With the NATO combat mission winding down what should the West’s role be? After America’s longest war, can the US afford to leave Afghanistan to its fate? Should European allies maintain their support?

In a comment sent in from Belgium, Karel was clear he feels it’s time for Europe to let the Afghans solve their own problems:

“Bring home the military since they are being slaughtered for nothing. Afghan people do not want the military there. So why even spend European blood, sweat, tears and money on them?”

But what risks does Afghan instability pose for the wider region? And to what extent are Afghanistan’s neighbours helping or hindering its peaceful development?

Contributor Kieran asked how Afghanistan’s neighbours are preparing for the drawdown? We put his question to Abdul Faizy, Director for the Afghanistan programme at the Centre for International and Strategic Analysis, who attended the Security & Defence Agenda‘s Annual Conference “Overhauling Transatlantic Security Thinking” last month in Brussels. Listen to his reply:

Give us your opinion! Should the West pull out altogether? Or would that pose too great a risk to international security? What role should Afghanistan’s neighbours play? Can Europe do more to persuade Pakistan, Iran, China and other regional powers to help Afghanistan emerge as a peaceful country? Let us know your thoughts in the form below, and we’ll get reactions from experts and policy-makers.


26 comments Post a commentcomment

    • avatar


  1. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    We should have never gone there in the first place!! Now if we pull out the result will be messy and bad for the region.. It will probably go back to what it was before. We got to accept that not all regions can be Westernized, not everybody wants “freedom and democracy” and not everyone enjoys capitalism.. Democracy can never be imposed or introduced by a foreign power, it is the people who must fight and die for it, the people of one nation. Democracy is won, it is not given! So as long as Afghans do not believe in it, either we are in or out their country we will never succeed in establishing a regime that is compatible with western values. We are losing our sons and daughters over there, and it is costing us a lot of money!! Pull out!

  2. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    I think the debate must be centered on what is going on in GAZA, but it seems like the moderators are Zionists because they ban this debate and centrifugate it to other places. War is not justified by humanitary reasons, there is no justification for war. Lets speeck on the origins of violences, and stop them… “democracy and freedom” is just an excuse to control “natural resources” and “economical interestes”!.

  3. avatar

    Well, it’s quite simple. Afghanistan will be taken over by the Taliban. The country will fall back to it’s original state before NATO intervened. Afghanistan will be run by a bunch of raving lunatics. Anyone who has helped NATO in the past plus any other dissidents will be murdered in cold blood, most likely by decapicitation. Women will be opressed and western values will be lost once again. Every penny spent on the war and every life lost in Afghanistan will be one that’s wasted. Every soldier returning home, with whatever trauma’s they’ve suffered while abroad will now it has all been for nothing. This screams Vietnam all over again.

    Always finish what you’ve started.

  4. avatar

    Afghanistan is too far away from several perspectives. There is no business of Europe unless talibans attack Europe. Most of westerners are naive thinking that a millennium of certain way of life could be wiped out and replaced by “democracy” in just a decade. Things it will turn worse in no time. One more proof that “Bush’s Doctrine” was profound wrong with major global implications afterwards. G. W. Bush just took advantage of Europe sharing the cost of his war with european taxpayers. One more question, Who’s the winner and who’s the looser in Afghanistan ?

  5. avatar
    Debating Europe

    Hi Jaume and Nikolaos, thanks for your suggestions. We will launch a debate about the situation in Gaza soon.

  6. avatar

    Jaume, what holocaust would that be?

    The ‘Palestineans’ are, since 1948, the only population group in the world whose numbers have INcreased by more than 1000%

    That doesn’t sound like a holocaust to me. A holocaust is when, say, Europe’s jews see their numbers decline by 52% between 1942 and 1945.

    And the Palestinean leadership at that time was allied to Nazi Germany. Unlike Europe, that region was never denazified. Modern day Palestinean organizations like Hamas consider themselves heirs to the Nazi alliance of their forefathers and even its charter specifies the destruction of Israel.

    Plus, the socalled brave Palestinean ‘fighters’ deliberately fire their missiles from residential areas and use mosques and hospitals as ammo dumps, hoping Israel will attack them there so they can then run to their western friend and cry about some non-existent ‘holocaust’.

    Since 1948, there has only been one side that has been the consistent agressors, and it is not Israel.

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      I don’t know whose propaganda you’ve been reading, but, you haven’t got your facts right.

      Israel never existed, except in scrolls of historical Judaist writers. Referred to by Europeans as a Bible starting with Genesis. Palestine was a British protectorate and Lord Balfour in his declaration, way back in the early 20th century, gave part of Palestine away to the terrorist Zionist fighters from Poland, when they made a deal to rehouse the European Jewish survivors of the holocaust there. This led to the same Polish Jewish freedom fighters of terrorists bombing the British military in the King David Hotel for an even bigger piece of the pie. From then on, that same Zionist party systematically massacred the simple tent dwelling Arabic people of that land. Until now, when they have almost finished them all off.


      The big problem for the world to take on board and realise right now, is, Israeli populations is growing and spreading at a rate that was inconceivable back then. So, once they have finished off the job they are presently at, it will not stop there. And the next upheaval will start with the same tactic they have used for years. Blaming the indigenous of whatever land they have their eye on for their move to overthrow them. The guess is, who will they go for next?

    • avatar

      Marcel, just say Hamas, don’t use Palestinians to describe what Hamas is responsible for.

  7. avatar

    As for Afghanistan, there should be no role at all.

    No western troops in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere in the Middle East or Africa.

    Someone should tell the French to get theirs out of Africa and stop holding their former colonies hostage with financial-economic ‘deals’ that only benefit France and a tiny elite in those African countries but keep the populations destitute because they don’t benefit from local natural resources (France however benefits massively).

    France has been doing this for decades, it is about time to boycott France for this despicable behaviour. They’re also the same country that demands the Common Agricultural Policy and this policy blatantly puts African farmers at a huge disadvantage as the French have set up the system so that Africans cannot put tariffs on ‘our’ products but they CAN put them on African products.

    The French elite is neo-colonialist and racist to the core.

  8. avatar
    Goran Burazer

    Yes, there are plenty of reasons: we cannot westernize Afgans, let them enjoy in their tribal society. New Cold war is glooming upon us and all our troops should be in Europe. In the end no one in Europe cares about A-stan or is willing to invest hard earned money in that bottomless pit.

  9. avatar
    Conrad Wallenrod

    I dont know about politics, but one thing I know. Armed forces spread aound the world? Pull the boys back home! The war is coming – not liek Iraq or Afghanistan. A global war – and we all will shit our pants in the very moment it will begin.

  10. avatar
    catherine benning


    What about the war going on in the Ukraine? Closer to home. The same players of course, the US, UK and satellites trying to force a thermonuclear war on the Russians. Lets all sincerely hope the US administration is unable to persuade the Germans, French and Italians that this little scenario they have planned to boost their war machine sales and globalisation tactics is an empty barrel.

    My suggestion to the US think tank on how to raise the value of the dollar, would be to start a nuclear war in North America. Now that would show us all how tough you are. Take it to your own doorstep. Or, is that a bag of shite you don’t like the small of?

    • avatar

      Either you know very little of economics or you’re simply delusional. Nuclear war will destroy economic markets, I cannot fathom the amount of chaos that would bring. I’m pretty damn sure that the actual use of nuclear weapons is the last option in anyones mind, including Obama and Putin.

  11. avatar
    catherine benning


    Oh, and you, of course, are the clever boy of world politics. Yet, you refuse to take on board what you see and hear. Strikes me you are a very naive economist. Are you saying the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, A: destroyed world markets? B: the equipment used on that devastating day on Japan were the so called ‘last option’ even when we now know they were a deliberate testing of the arms in the US arsenal of the day?

    That aside, war is a big money maker for arms companies and those who hold shares and deal in them. Personal wealth grows dramatically in any war, especially one that is deemed will rid those who block this wealth. Why do you believe the US is forever at war with one nation or another? For benevolence toward those states they aim their aggression at? Look at Gaza today. Israel is a satellite of the US war machine.




  12. avatar
    Caleb Smith

    The Russians spent 30 years trying to sow the seeds of communism in the middle east, and were unsuccessful. The west has had and will continue to have the same effect. That part of the world is nothing like the west. Our failure to see this is our greatest failing in our endeavor. There is nothing that can be accomplished. Especially if continue to play with our enemies and never truly defeat them. They will always come right back.

  13. avatar

    Positive.should have stayed out of this shit rigth from the beginning.One of the reasons i decided not to become an officer and studied at a civil organisation.
    Getting killed while defending your countries border….well that s one thing.
    Getting killed while shooting at random people in (enter name of the country) ,completle diffrent.

  14. avatar

    Also the Russians used to say the phrase:”Every place that will be passed by a deer,will also be passed by the Russian soldier.”-Generalissimo Alexander Vassiljevitch Suvorov.
    Well the Afghanis used to reply to it:”Yes we know their formidable warriors.But even the places that will never see a deer ,will still be passed by the Afghani mujahed.”In diffrent words,those are freaking tougth people.

  15. avatar

    what is happening is against all human dignity palestine suffers day after day humiliation they are prisoners hemed in from all sides while there neighbours build hotels and homes have every thing they want at te exspense of the palestines even there water and the world stands by and watches and hamas are blamed and before them arrafat never themselves give them FREEDOM let them live SLAVERY is not your right my heart is with you palestine keep dreaming the impossible dream ONE DAY IT WILL COME

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.