Afghanistan Regional Forum No. 11, October 2013
By Rafik A. Tairov
Head of the Strategic Research Directorate of the Center for Military-Strategic Research, Astana
The forthcoming withdrawal from Afghanistan of the international coalition forces is currently stimulating a number of discussions among politicians, experts, and the international public. The discussions concern the following questions. What will the Afghan army be like in the immediate future? Will it be able on its own to withstand internal and external threats to the state? How will it fight against terrorism and drug trafficking? Furthermore, what influence will social, financial, and economic factors have on the Afghan National Army (ANA)? Will its unitary form be preserved? Will the division of the country and its army into a confederation, or the formation of autonomous regions or new states like “free Balochistan” bring peace to Afghanistan and its neighbors? If Afghanistan is federalized, will that produce a “domino effect” on other, closely neighboring states? These are but a few of the many questions for which there are no categorical answers or ready-made prescriptions.