Afghanistan and its Neighbors: the Challenge of 2014
The focus of international attention has shifted away from Afghanistan as the conflicts in Egypt and Syria have intensified, but the prospect of the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops in 2014 raises the possibility that the situation there may take a turn for the worse and again demand our attention. It is beyond doubt that all regional actors have both strategic and economic interests in the region, but the question is how they will respond to the reduction of the current forces, as there is a clear threat that 2014
will mark the beginning of increased instability. It is often heard, not least in China and India, that the U.S. troop drawdown will not be as fast or large as has been claimed, as this would reduce U.S. influence in the extended region. This is an argument that is not in tune with the situation in Washington, where there is an eagerness to minimize international engagements, not least in terms of the financial burden they entail and also for their impact on higher priority domestic issues. The speed and extent of the withdrawal will be decided as we go along, but the tide has turned and the current forces will be reduced.
Appears in the Conference Report “Security and Development in Afghanistan After 2014 6th Annual ISDP-AMS Conference December 6-8, 2013”, Ed. David Mulrooney
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