Afghanistan: Success or failure?
William Patey, the outgoing British ambassador to Afghanistan, shares his views on the future stability of the country.
It has been 11 years now that ISAF, NATO’s international security assistance force, have been in Afghanistan, occupying Afghanistan as part of the global ‘War on Terror’ in 2001. There has been much debate in the past years as to what the current purpose of the mission is. With the withdrawal of troops scheduled for 2014, many argue that Afghanistan will still be a failed state with a potential of increased chaos, once the Afghan security forces are completely in charge themselves. Are the Taliban just as much of a threat as they were in 2001?
Joining Sir David to discuss what is needed for continued stability in Afghanistan is Sir William Patey, the outgoing British ambassador to Afghanistan. Now retiring, he gives a candid account of what he really thinks of current UK foreign policy towards Afghanistan, along with his predictions for the future stability of the country and an assessment of Hamid Karzai’s presidency.
Patey says: “If we don’t continue to provide support for training and the funding of the Afghan security forces for a number of years beyond 2014 then we are asking for failure…. The Taliban used to gain support because there was no government…the Taliban were the only alternative if people wanted justice. Over the last ten years that has changed…. Taliban are finding it very difficult to operate in parts of Afghanistan. They don’t have the safe havens they used to have, they’ve just announced a new spring offensive, this follows on from the last summer offensive which was a failure. The Taliban are unable to taking hold ground. Once the international troops come out, will they be able to overcome the Afghan natinal security forces? I think they are delusional if they think they can wait us out and then overthrow the Afghan army. The Afghan state that they will face in 2015 is a very different one from the one they faced in 1996/1997 when they took power. The institutions are stronger, the army is stronger, is better trained, has international support, and provided we fund it, they will confront a very different situation.”
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