Can Afghans Still Count on the EU?

Can Afghans Still Count on the EU?
Op-Ed The European Voice
Summary
The EU should commit itself to a ‘civilian surge', but with Afghan rather than European civilians.
Related Topics
Related Media and Tools
 

The EU should commit itself to a ‘civilian surge', but with Afghan rather than European civilians.

When EU foreign ministers meet in Stockholm this week, they are likely to focus on how to deal with the immediate fall-out from the contested result of the presidential election in Afghanistan.  But the real question is what strategy the EU should adopt in the light of the US troops surge, an insurgency that shows no signs of abating and the election of a president who, regardless of his identity, will be discredited by the intimidation and fraud in the election and by the low turn-out. Instead of focusing on the new Afghan leader or following on the heels of US strategy, the EU should do what it does best – namely, help build up local institutions.

A map of where the Afghan government's writ runs, with lighter grey indicating areas under its control, would show that large, contiguous areas of dark grey dominate. That is especially true in the south of the country, but darker blotches would now also be visible in the north. The result was a low turn-out even in areas close to Kabul and with a reinforced security presence.

A lack of security and control is just part of the problem. An equally important element is the inability of national and provincial governments to provide services consistently in the country's many outlying areas. This is where the EU should focus its work in the future.

There has been much talk of a European ‘civilian surge' to complement the deployment of an additional 21,000 US troops. But what the Afghan government really needs is to be able to surge itself, from Kabul into the provinces and then from provincial capitals into the districts.

This is crucial for two reasons. One is to take back space occupied by the Taliban among rural Pushtun communities in southern Afghanistan. The second is to establish an Afghan civilian and military presence that will develop from the bottom up and allow an incremental phase-out of combat operations by international troops.

To do that, the EU should support the creation of a Civil Service Academy in Kabul, with regional branches in Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad. Training government officials at all levels would enable a ‘civilian surge' to put down roots in local communities and make the surge sustainable. What Afghanistan needs is more technocrats, not more guns.

To make sure the best and brightest young Afghans choose an Afghan career first, the EU, as one of the main international donors, should lean on the rest of the international community, including non-governmental organisations, to regulate pay so that they do not drain local talent away from local institutions.

But training civil servants will not be enough. There is currently no way to track the appointment, promotion and (often) removal of local officials, or to identify clashes of interests and battles for sinecures in opium-rich areas. To address this, the EU should also sponsor a central register of appointments and re-assignments.

Despite appearances, all is not lost in Afghanistan. But, realistically speaking, only a few years remain before ordinary Afghans, Europeans and Americans lose patience with the international mission. To turn things around, EU foreign ministers need to focus attention on helping Afghans mend the gaping holes in Afghanistan's democratic fabric, holes not easily mended by outsiders.

Fabrice Pothier is director of Carnegie Europe and Daniel Korski is a senior research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

End of document
Source http://carnegieeurope.eu/2009/09/03/can-afghans-still-count-on-eu/bz2c

More from The Global Think Tank

Publication Resources

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address in the field below to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
 
 
Carnegie Europe
 
Carnegie Europe Rue du Congrès, 15 1000 Brussels, Belgium Phone: +32 2 735 56 50 Fax: +32 2736 6222
Please note...

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.

请注意...

您离开卡内基 - 清华全球政策中心网站,进入另一个卡内基全球网站。