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Standing by Afghanistan: the strategic choice

The article below was written for NATO Review by IWP student Mohammad Shafiq “Hamdam,” a social activist, writer and analyst. From 2008 to 2014, he served as a Senior Media and Public Diplomacy Advisor to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s defence and security forces face enormous challenges. They are countering an insurgency of well-equipped guerrilla fighters, who enjoy the unconditional support of organised crime, international terrorists and some neighboring countries. They are on the front line of the fight against terrorist groups including Al-Qaida, so-called Islamic State and the Haqqani Network. Moreover – as Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said repeatedly – for fourteen years Afghanistan has been in an undeclared war with Pakistan. And it’s also believed that the country continues to be the proxy battleground for India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers.

It is essential that the international community continues to stand by Afghanistan, building up the capacity of is forces and sustaining them financially until the country is able to do so itself. Not only is this support vital for Afghanistan, it is also in the strategic interest of its international partners.

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