NATO Withdraws from Afghanistan

It seems like forever that our military has been present in Afghanistan, but that will soon no longer be the case.  Reports have come in that NATO military forces led by the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the country, culminating in a complete withdrawal by 2014.  The move, prompted by a seemingly endless military stalemate in the area, has been met with mixed reactions.  Many have expressed concern over the potential effects on the Afghan government after the troops have been pulled.

There has not been any one potential consequence that people have discussed completely, though one major one that has come up is civil war in Afghanistan. “The likely outcome is a civil war, much more fierce and widespread than the one fought during recent years,” reads an article from the London School of Economics and Political Science. According to an article by Louis Ford of Roar News, the Afghan government is likely to implode following the removal of the troops.  The widespread unemployment and social issues in Afghanistan will make it difficult for their government to stay afloat without Western intervention.

Afghanistan currently has 800,000 unemployed, a staggering 35% rate, which has led to increased poverty, rising crime rates, and widespread drug abuse.  Ford argues that the departure of NATO forces hinders the situation even more by taking away the jobs of thousands of people who were employed on the NATO bases.  For these thousands, corruption in the government and in businesses has made it even more difficult to find new positions, especially given that, according to Ford, a number of their leaders do not fully understand the economic issues of the country.

The region of Afghanistan faces a tough road once the last of the NATO troops have been removed.  It is a region that has seen little peace in a long time and will face a number of challenges to achieve that peace, not the least of which are fighting insurgency, negotiating with the Taliban and combatting staggering unemployment.  Ultimately, they may not be able to do it without outside help, but that cannot be known unless they are allowed to try.  As NATO prepares to depart, Afghanistan will be given that chance, for better or worse.


Sources:  London School of Economics and Political Science; Roar News

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