Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

From security transition to civilian power: Supporting Afghan youth after 2014

21 Jun 2012 - 13:32

The NATO Chicago Summit of May 2012 has confirmed the pace, sequence and end state of the remaining part of Afghanistan's security transition process towards 2014, by when Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will have taken full responsibility for the country's security.

But while the international community pledged international commitment and continuation of its efforts to train and support the Afghan security forces beyond 2014, the Chicago Summit did not provide a clear, post-transition stabilisation strategy on the civilian side. This is remarkable as the security transition offers a clear window of opportunity to disconnect civilian power from the military approach in which it has been embedded since 2001. That means the international community can finally come up with a more positive and more impactful civilian effort in Afghanistan if it is willing to commit enough resources after 2014 and if it is serious about assisting the country beyond the military engagement that has dominated so far. The boost of civilian power should especially focus on reaching out to Afghanistan's next generation: the millions of young men and women that will ultimately determine the long-term impact and sustainability of our international efforts. Beyond 2014, the need for stabilisation continues in Afghanistan, and the Afghan youth could easily prove to be one of the most cost-effective and impactful investments in future stability. Intended to start a thorough debate on these issues, this first post-transition policy paper offers some initial ideas on how the international community could target the Afghan youth while safeguarding the country's stability.