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Afghanistan: Threats and opportunities for the Transatlantic relation

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Afghanistan, 5 years after: Some achievements and great disappointments.
    1. Post-war governance: Installing democracy in Afghanistan.
    2. The failed development of Afghanistan.
    3. The resurgence of the insurgency and the Taliban.
    4. The narcotics issue: The synthesis of the problems of Afghanistan.
  3. Improving transatlantic co-operation for the rebuilding of Afghanistan.
    1. Variety and conflicts of strategies between the allies.
    2. An agreement on the need for better security.
    3. The difficult economic issue.
    4. Counter narcotics as a symbol of the change of strategy?
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

Afghanistan represents undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges for the Western democracies. The reversal of the Taliban by the international coalition led by the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was seen as a symbol of hope. This war was considered as legitimate, because of the atrocities committed by the fundamentalists (violations of human rights and treatment of women), their protection of Al-Qaeda leaders, the unanimous consent of the international community and the approval of the Security Council (?Recognizing the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense in accordance with the Charter?). The ?rebuilding? of this country which had faced years of civil wars (jihad against the communist regime of Nazibullah supported by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and civil war in the 1990s until 2001, especially between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance in 1994-2001). Five years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains a subject of great concern for the Americans and the Europeans.

[...] Variety and conflicts of strategies between the allies One of the main limits to the efficiency of the transatlantic cooperation is the lack of coherence of the strategies adopted by the various members of the coalition. Those strategies were sometimes very different, and even in conflict with one another In the area of security, one of the best examples is probably the restrictions that have been put by member states over the tasks their national contingents may undertake in Afghanistan, the so-called caveats.[19] Some countries such as France and Germany have sent troops that are responsible for the security of the northern part of Afghanistan (Kabul, Panshir Valley), which is relatively quiet and peaceful. [...]

[...] Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Transatlantic Community, Speech at Center for European Policy Studies, Brussels (Belgium), March 26th 2007. Helen Thomas, ?Once Opposed, Bush Begins Nation Building,? ABC - The Boston Channel, (online) available at (Internet, accessed on April 29th 2007). Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union, New Challenges for Transatlantic Security Cooperation, Document A/1877, December 2004, paragraphs 63-78. The World Bank Group, Afghanistan Data and Statistics Country Profile, (online) available at: E=afg&CNAME=afghanistan&PTYPE=CP (Internet, accessed on May 1st 2007). [...]

[...] Afghanistan's 2006 production of opiates accounted for 90% of the world supply that is 6,100 tons of gum representing an export value of $ 2.9 bn (about 40% of the legitimate GNP).[15] The narcotics problem can be seen as a good synthesis of the various challenges for the Afghan authorities and the transatlantic cooperation. Three major challenges can be highlighted. The political challenge represents the threats to the establishment of the state of law, the eradication of corruption and of drugs terrorism. [...]

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