Afghanistan Beyond 2014: Elections, Political Settlement, Reforms

Afghanistan is currently one year away from its presidential elections, in which President Hamid Karzai is required by the Afghan constitution to transfer the presidency to another elected Afghan leader. This presidential transition, occurring as the United States and the NATO International Security Assistance Force draw down their military presence, will serve as a crucial determinant of Afghanistan’s long-term stability. Ultimately, a sustainable peace in Afghanistan will require resolving the political crisis at the heart of Afghanistan’s conflict and building a more legitimate Afghan government that is supported by broad range of Afghan actors and that is more accountable and responsive to its population. The election will be one crucial piece in creating a stronger political system in Afghanistan.

The Center for American Progress and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung organized consultation workshops for a large group of civil-society actors in Afghanistan in November 2012 and March 2013 to generate a set of recommendations related to Afghanistan’s political system and transition in 2014. CAP and Heinrich Böll Stiftung also brought a smaller delegation of Afghan civil-society leaders to Washington, D.C., and New York City in February 2013 to understand the concerns of U.S. policymakers and the broader public and to share their views. Their paper, “Afghanistan Beyond 2014: Elections, Political Settlements, Reforms,” is the product of their deliberations. This is their paper alone.

These Afghan civil-society leaders, whose organizations are listed at the bottom of the document, focus the paper on three areas where they believe more attention is needed by Afghans and the international community—the elections, a political settlement process, and political reforms for the Afghan government—and provide specific recommendations in each category. They believe that Afghan civil society has an important role to play in preserving the gains that have been made and in leading the effort for further change. And they ask for the international community’s continued support in bolstering a more democratic, inclusive, and responsive Afghan state.

Read the paper here. This paper was also published by Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

Caroline Wadhams is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.