This page was archived on October 2020.



65 - Afghanistan

Grade: C+
Unity 3/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 5/10
Total 10/20
Scorecard 2012: C+ (10/20)
Scorecard 2013: B- (11/20)
Scorecard 2014: C+ (9/20)

Europe’s residual role in Afghanistan is likely to be marginal.

The year 2014 marked a turning point in Afghanistan’s history as national elections created a new opportunity for the country and NATO concluded its combat operations. Europe’s influence in Afghanistan has long been marginal, with the US firmly in the lead both militarily and politically. Nonetheless, Afghanistan’s transition also marks a turning point for many European armies, which bear serious scars from campaigning there.

The legacy of their efforts appeared at risk in summer 2014, when elections led to a prolonged stand-off between two candidates: Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Ghani eventually gained the presidency in September in a power-sharing deal with Abdullah and quickly improved relations with Western powers, which had suffered under his predecessor, Hamid Karzai. But there was an increase in violence in 2014 and concerns remain about the government’s ability to fight the Taliban.

NATO has launched a new training mission, meant to involve up to 12,000 personnel, but at present, the US is the major contributor. Germany has pledged 850 troops to the mission and Italy and Spain have also made significant pledges, but the overall level of enthusiasm among Europeans is low. The US has had to keep more troops than planned on the ground to fill the gap.

The EU also maintains a CSDP police-training mission in Afghanistan, and has committed to extending this until the end of 2016. Its priorities are primarily institutional, including strengthening the ministry of the interior and promoting professionalism among the police. It will pass off some of its duties to other EU agencies at the end of 2015. The UN, meanwhile, will maintain a political presence in the country.