Afghanistan: The Need for International Resolve

TitleAfghanistan: The Need for International Resolve
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleReport of the International Crisis Group (February 2008)
Year of Publication2008
VolumeAsia Report N°145
Number of Pages30 pp.
PublisherInternational Crisis Group (ICG)
Accession Number1002

Afghanistan was meant to be a model of multilateralism and a cause that the international community believed was worth fighting for. Today, however, many of the country's problems are of the international community's making, the result of empowering and entrenching some of its most undesirable actors over the past six years, and of misjudging the regional dimensions. Most coordination issues are neither new nor unique, but lessons from past multilateral endeavours have been ignored. New mechanisms and new momentum are urgently needed but must be grounded firmly in a comprehensive strategy to which all parties are committed. Without unity of effort and resolve, engagement will remain ineffective, feeding disillusionment of Afghans and home publics alike.
Too rosy a picture was painted early on; by contrast, some now spread a sense of hopelessness, perhaps in order to justify a quick exit. The international community would do better to accept that mistakes have been made and rectify them. Success demands not tinkering around the edges but fundamental rethinking of internal and regional priorities. The will for real change of direction can be summoned if it is understood that Afghanistan is a test not just in itself or of nation building and conflict management, but of 21st century multilateralism.

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