AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations will be left holding another very dangerous baby state when international troops leave Afghanistan in 2014, many experts and diplomats believe.
The Western alliance has promised billions of dollars in aid for security forces and essential civilian services. The message from Obama and even UN leader Ban Ki-moon has been those in Afghanistan now are not going to abandon the country.
But critics say these will not make up for the international void as the President Hamid Karzai’s government battles the Taliban and warlords for control of the country.
Even some of the Western countries are nervous. “It is not abandoning. But Afghanistan needs support and there are worries that the UN will be left carrying the baby — and a very unstable one — after 2014,” said one senior Western envoy at the UN.
Thomas Ruttig, Kabul-based co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, said there are ‘grave challenges and concerns about the viability of the transition strategy’. NATO leaders in Chicago have “talked up” the reality. “It is actually unfair to hand over the vast remaining problems to the UN, given that it had been virtually sidelined by NATO governments for the past years, and the central political role given to NATO itself.”
Dipali Mukhopadhyay, a specialist on Afghanistan for Princeton University’s Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton, said the international community must be “cautious” about the expectations placed on the UN. It has only a limited influence on domestic politics, Mukhopadhyay said. “In the face of foreign neglect and domestic violent conflict, its ability to build peace moving forward has always been limited.”
She pointed out how the UN has already been a target of attacks in Afghanistan.
Jan Kubis, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and a former foreign minister for Slovakia, said it was natural for the United Nations to take the lead role. “The UN was created for this kind of situation,” he told AFP.