Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Experts on the NATO Summit, Afghanistan Transition, and Engagement with Pakistan
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Experts on the NATO Summit, Afghanistan Transition, and Engagement with Pakistan

Ahead of NATO Summit, Former UK Foreign Secretary Endorses CAP Plan for Transition in Afghanistan

Listen to today’s press call here.

Watch our Ask the Expert video here.

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress today held a press call to release “Afghanistan Transition: Elevating the Diplomatic Components of the Transition Strategy at the Chicago NATO Summit and Beyond,” discuss allied policy in Afghanistan, the political and diplomatic steps missing from current transition planning, and the upcoming NATO conference in Chicago. The Center also released “Getting Back to a Functional Relationship with Pakistan” and “What’s Next for NATO.”

On the press call to discuss the new report on the Afghanistan transition, the Right Honorable David Miliband, member of Parliament and former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, endorsed the CAP plan saying, “The central message of the CAP report that has been published today—namely that there is ‘an imbalance and lack of synchronization between the military and political components of planning and implementation, increasing the risk of insecurity in Afghanistan over the medium and long term—is absolutely correct.”

In order to make good on the goal of  handing over responsibility to Afghan leaders, this paper lays out a clear set of recommendations for U.S. officials and NATO leaders to follow in support of a negotiated peace settlement and Afghan government reforms, which include:

  • Begin serious preparations for the 2014 Afghan presidential elections now, including support for free and fair elections, political outreach to different political parties and leaders, and the establishment of governmental checks and balances outside of the country’s executive branch.
  • Facilitate an inclusive and transparent Afghan peace negotiations process among the various factions, in concert with regional diplomatic efforts.
  • Clarify expectations for the Afghan government through a set of conditions and incentives tied to Afghan government performance.
  • Align military and political efforts in support of a credible political transition and an inclusive settlement process while pursuing a steady drawdown of U.S. forces beyond the fall of 2012.

A transition to Afghan ownership and the drawdown of foreign forces is the right approach for the long-term interests of Afghanistan, the region, and the United States and its NATO partners. But for this approach to be successful and sustainable, there must be a clear recognition by all parties that a security transition is inextricably linked to a political transition. Clearly, more work needs to be done to synchronize military and political efforts in order to carry out the steps necessary for a durable resolution to the political issues at the core of the conflict.

See also:

  • Getting Back to a Functional Relationship with Pakistan,” by CAP’s Brian Katulis argues for the United States to remain engaged with Pakistan and encourage it to play a constructive role in the region. After perhaps the worst year in U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relations, the United States and Pakistan both need to take active steps to advance stability in the region beyond Pakistan’s participation in the Chicago conference—a modest signal that it wants to rejoin the international consensus on Afghanistan.
  • In addition to pressing concerns surrounding the Afghan transition and cooperation with Pakistan, CAP’s Lawrence Korb and Max Hoffman contend in “What’s Next for NATO,” that NATO members meeting in Chicago this weekend should also focus on long-term challenges to the organization, which include defining the role of the 63-year-old alliance in the post-Cold War and post-9/11 world and financial and military burden sharing between the United States and the 27 other alliance members.

Listen to today’s press call here.

Watch our Ask the Expert video here.

To speak with CAP experts, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].