Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold their next summit in the United Kingdom from September 4 to 5, 2014 to discuss a number of important issues relating to global security and redefining the organization’s structure and defense relevance in the view of the emerging security threats.
Afghanistan’s future will be an important topic for the member states. Discussions about Afghanistan will include the conclusion of military mission and defining a fresh strategic framework to engage in Afghanistan after the already planned military withdrawal is complete by the 2014. The future strategic partnership will also cover the size and duration of financial assistance to Afghan government and providing advising, logistic and mentoring support to the country’s fledgling security forces. The individual position of the member states on Afghanistan is not clear yet. However, it is expected that members will share grave concern and frustration about Afghanistan’s slow progress towards meeting the minimum goals of state building and introducing an effective governance that can consume international monetary fund with transparency in the designated areas.
The recent political crisis on election fraud in Afghanistan will definitely overshadow the Afghan agenda in the summit, discoursing the member states to extend larger political and financial contribution to Afghanistan. President’s Karzai government has continually frustrated its domestic and international partners in the last years. The fact that the government was unable to take forceful action against corruption committed routinely in Afghan public administration has undermined the willingness for an enduring strategic cooperation.
The final decision on presidential election will take time and will not be finalized before the NATO summit as the votes auditing task and working out the framework for a unity government will take considerable amount of time. This in view, Afghan delegates will attend the summit with great deal of ambiguity and leadership vacuum. In addition, the presidential election was held in April and since then, everyone in Afghanistan, including the government officials and its so-called technical staff and specialists were busy in the election campaign as full-time. Afghanistan’s public servants are not like their counterparts in the institutionalized or more stable democracies that could survive the leadership change. In other words, in the institutionalized democracy, any election will mainly change political positions and figures while the technical wing of the government will remain intact as every new leadership needs their expertise and service. Ironically, in Afghanistan the government lacks technical arm and appointments are made on patronage, networks and unprofessional criteria, tempting the appointees to continually struggle for survival, especially if a new leadership is taking over. On the other hand, during the election campaigns, Afghanistan governors, district chiefs and members of parliament have been noticed to favor candidates of their choice—although it is a violation of the constitution and presidential order.
In the few days ahead of the summit, the government has to decide on who will represent Afghanistan and what will be the proposal presented in this important summit. If for any reasons, Afghan delegation cannot clarify the country’s priorities with solid reasons, the country will be in serious trouble in the next years in dealing with recovering the moribund economy and providing minimum budget for keeping the security forces. The US and NATO are already short $1.8 billion of the estimated $4.1 billion annual expenses of Afghan mission beyond 2014. Any ambiguity in the part of Afghan government will make it difficult for the US to convince the NATO members for more financial contribution.