The international community has yet to prioritize the establishment of an Afghan state that can survive without large-scale external assistance. The beginning of the transition process offers an opportunity to start a long-delayed conversation with the Karzai government about that goal and the commitments required on both sides to meet it.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai will officially mark the beginning of the transition process in Afghanistan in a speech on March 21, a process slated to run from this year through 2014. American policymakers, to date, discuss the process of transition in Afghanistan almost wholly in terms of U.S. troop levels, progress training Afghan security forces, and limited efforts to reconcile and reintegrate Taliban insurgent fighters.
But questions about the political and financial sustainability of the Afghan state itself are of far greater long-term concern for our engagement. And the answers to those questions do not appear to be good.
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