- There are three important transitions that are taking place in Afghanistan simultaneously in 2014. These are in Political, Economic and Security areas. Political transition includes elections and formation of new government after the election under the new president, economic transition corresponds to the viability of Afghan state to develop and sustain itself financially and growth and security transition comprises the ability of Afghan national security forces to ensure security and stability in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international forces from their country.
- On the political front, the upcoming national elections in Afghanistan are critical for the country’s future. Indications are mix as to who will win these elections. Increase in violence during the election process and extent of fraud perpetuated to favor a particular candidate will significantly impact the post – elections stability. It is possible that there emerges no majority candidate in the first round of a two stage election process and second round may also not throw up a clear winner in Dr. Weinbaum’s opinion.
- Important candidates for these elections are only two namely, Mr. Zalmay Rasool Zad and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the competition will remain between these two personalities. This is probable that Zalmay Rasool Zad might win the elections in the end.
- On the economic front, continuous financial support of international community is crucial for building a new and dynamic Afghanistan. According to some credible survey’s, young men are increasingly becoming part of the political process in order to prosper economically. In 2012 the international community pledged 16 billion dollars to Afghanistan assistance program. It is however a big IF whether this amount actually be kept by all the donor countries.
- On the security front the cohesion of Afghan national army (ANA) is a most crucial factor. It is unlikely that a grand bargain with the Taliban will materialize as we have seen in the failure of Qatar process. The reason is the fundamental difference on the concept that should shape the future of Afghanistan. Taliban want to impose Shariah in Afghanistan.
- Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan can only be served if there is no Taliban government in Afghanistan and there seems to be a realization on these lines within Pakistan as well. Moreover India can be a partner for peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. Professor Weinbaum was of the view that Pakistan needs to move ahead from its India centric strategic paradigm and make use of opportunities likely to emerge by a stable Afghanistan.
Dr. Marvin Weinbaum is currently the scholar-in-Residence at the Middle East Institute, where he provides analysis n Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, terrorism, development issues, political economy, and democratization. He is also professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has served as an analyst in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1999 to 2003. Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director CISS, welcomed Dr. Marvin Weinbaumat the institute. Following main arguments were presented by Dr. Weinbaumin his talk at the Center: