What is most important about Afghanistan In Transition: Beyond 2014?, is that it is the first edited book presenting perceptions of the Afghan mind, through papers written by distinguished Afghans with a rich mix of academic, political and media backgrounds.
With the drawdown of international forces scheduled for 2014, Afghanistan is in for yet another phase of uncertainties. While the international community is perplexed by the complexities of an effective inteqal (transition) and by the modalities that are so far being worked at for ensuring it, this book brings together varied Afghan voices to set the agenda. The strength of this volume stems from the rich contributions by experts, providing an indepth analysis of the perceptions, needs and preparedness on the ground. The common thread that runs through all the chapters of the book is that the inteqal process needs to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. This book provides diverse perspectives of the Afghans by taking a realistic assessment of the achievements and challenges in building local capacities and institutions in key sectors-security, political, governance and economic, as these would form the basis of future progress. By delving into a range of complex interrelated issues such as security and political sector reform; peace processes-reconciliation and reintegration; economic opportunities — investment, trade and connectivity; civilian aid coordination and effectiveness; strategic communication; status, welfare and role of women; international and non governmental organisations — both from micro and macro perspectives, this volume highlights several critical components of the inteqal process that need immediate and sustained attention. Chapters on regional perspectives, including one on India’s engagement and one on Pakistan’s perspective as well as the US perspective provide important insights into the role of external players in the present imbroglio. This book is a valuable and timely contribution to the academic and policy discourse on the prospects of effective transition and long-term stabilisation of Afghanistan.
India, as a historic friend of Afghanistan, has major concerns about the post- 2014 security of that nation as well as of Indians stationed there for the process of reconstruction. According to Satinder K. Lambah, former ambassador to Afghanistan and currently Special Envoy, Prime Minister’s Office, “Some guiding principles which include that any process leading to a settlement must be Afghanowned and Afghan-led. This in recent past has not been the case as other countries are often driving the pace of the process. The process must not sacrifice the gains of the last decade, the emphasis on reconstruction should continue. The red lines approved in earlier international conferences should be observed. Nothing should be done in sudden haste as reversal of trends on security transmission demonstrated in Tokyo, Chicago, London and Kabul conferences, which could be seen as an act of desperation by the adversaries of Afghanistan… There must be serious attempts at internal consensus building within different constituencies in Afghanistan so that the ethnic division is not deepened leading to polarisation,” he said. “The growing political competition, natural or on the eve of the elections should not overshadow the election process. No outside interference and elimination of sanctions,” he added.