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RELEASE: Managing the Political Transition Between Now and 2014

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Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Phone: 202.481.8181
Email: cdipasquale@americanprogress.org

Read “Managing the Political Transition Between Now and 2014” here.

Washington, D.C. — Today, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai prepares to visit Washington, D.C., early next week and U.S. officials plan to announce long-term plans for an American security presence in Afghanistan after 2014, the Center for American Progress released “Managing the Political Transition Between Now and 2014.” This column recommends that the Obama administration structure its financial and security assistance in a way that meets U.S. strategic and diplomatic priorities for Afghanistan and the broader region, while recognizing competing interests within the country and the limitations of the Afghan National Security Forces.

The Obama administration has recently pushed more forcefully to implement a political transition strategy, taking steps to support an election in which President Karzai transfers power to a democratically elected successor in 2014, as the Afghan Constitution requires; making numerous attempts to create a dialogue between the Afghan government and the insurgency; and facilitating discussions among regional and global players. These efforts should be intensified.

Priorities for U.S. policymakers between now and 2014 and beyond include the pursuit of the following:

  • Transparent, free, and fair presidential and provincial elections in Afghanistan in 2014
  • A new political settlement that can better balance the competing interests of Afghanistan’s many factions—including the government of Afghanistan and leaders of major Afghan political factions, civil society, and women’s groups—together with insurgent representatives
  • A regional agreement aligned with an Afghan political settlement that is a result of discussions with Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Pakistan

Even as the United States realigns its military and financial investments, Afghan stability remains a U.S. interest. A breakdown of the Afghan state or an upsurge in violence could have terrible humanitarian consequences for Afghans, create greater pressure on Pakistan as violence and refugees cross Afghanistan’s borders, and expand ungoverned spaces for terrorist groups. But preventing this breakdown will come largely through political compromises among Afghan and regional players, not via military victories.

After all of the blood and treasure that has been spent in our decade-long war, Americans should care about supporting a stable Afghanistan, and U.S. policymakers should develop a drawdown plan that seeks to prevent the collapse of the Afghan government.

Read “Managing the Political Transition Between Now and 2014” here.

To speak with Caroline Wadhams, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or cdipasquale@americanprogress.org.

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