By Priyashree Andley
The NATO has been involved in counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan since 2001. However, the recent attack by a group of suicide bombers on a US base near the border with Pakistan, leading to multiple explosions and the closure of a key road used by their supply trucks, raises the issue of countering cross border insurgency when insurgents have safe havens across borders.
In the light of the increasing concern for national security and safe borders, there is a need to understand that it is very important to coordinate the work of multiple actors involved. Peace agreement vs. peace process: what comes first? If we define a peace process as continuous dialogue for peace, then South Asia exemplifies coexistence of conflict and dialogue.
In the latest suicide bombing on 1st September 2013, the Taliban claimed that the highway between Jalalabad city and Torkham, an important route for Nato supply trucks, was closed. Militants on both sides of the Afghan border have frequently targeted the supply line, leading Nato to shift much of its supply delivery toward routes from Central Asian states instead of through Pakistan.
There are different approaches to conflict resolution and these are challenging, and require collaboration between multiple actors and roles. Secondly, agencies at local and middle level often avoid working with national authorities making peace processes fragmented. Moreover, the role and nature of civil society varies in conflicting states. In Afghanistan, the civil society has less capacity to act as a countervailing force on warlords with entrenched localised power.
Post 9/11, NATO troops entered Afghanistan to counter global threats posed by the Taliban. However, international responsibility for institutionalisation has led to long term intervention in the state creating resistance and dependence among the people. Second, neighbouring state actors start feeling that why would international actors invest much in a state unless it is of geopolitical importance? In this background, insurgents who have made safe havens across borders benefit the most. The lack of agreements between government and international actors is a clear example of the same. Finally, there is the problem of coordination of activities between autonomous agencies, governments and international organisations like the UN each with a list of priorities and overlapping roles.
One can imply that approaches to conflict resolution have to be broadened for achieving sustainable peace. Most of the current approaches assume a clear distinction between pro war and pro peace constituencies. As experts like Duffield suggest, this approach is problematic as war networks dissolve conventional divisions between combats, civilians and governments. Conflict resolution and counter insurgency needs to concern itself with social, psychological and political changes affecting actors. The gap between urgency and sustainability in increases the incentive for rebellion causing breakdown of peace processes. Current counter insurgency operations should be viewed in the broader background of conflict resolution aiming at state-building, perpetuating the international order of sovereign nation-states as visible in Afghanistan. However, has it reduced the hegemony of dominant actors and their value systems? Enhancing the capacities of local people in the process of bringing peaceful social change is crucial. But what is the most effective model of international and local partnership in countering cross border insurgency and suicide bombing attacks is still not known.
The current situation raises the concern of global security when Nato troops are reducing their numbers and suicide attacks are increasing across Afghan borders. Moreover, will it be possible to counter militant attacks given the fact that Nato and international troops plan for a complete withdrawal of troops by end of next year?
An independent analyst and focuses on International Relations, Foreign Policy and Current Affairs. She has several years of experience working in both the public and private sector. Her research has taken her across India with publications appearing in national as well as international media. Priyashree is a Felix Scholar from SOAS, London and has degrees from JNU and St. Stephens College, Delhi.
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