Assassination Highlights Afghan Security Concerns

As the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) try their best to quell violence and establish security in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan it seems that blow after blow has been leveled against them. The latest being the assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai — half brother to the Afghan president and a powerful force in southern Afghanistan — by his own body guard.

Against the backdrop of the seemingly hasty troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, attacks such as this create a terrifying narrative for what may happen in the country after the withdrawal is complete.

Since President Barack Obama's speech about the coming troop drawdown, a slew of damning events have occurred in Afghanistan that will make one raise an eyebrow about the future.

What does this mean for the efforts at securitization in the rest of the country?

This latest assasination is the damning proof that Afghanistan is still incredibly unpredictable. The situation there can change at a moment's notice and create a power vacuum that is easily filled by someone more sinister. A lack of structure is exactly what has caused so much turmoil. If it is later proven that the assassin was affiliated with the Taliban, it will deal a harsh blow to the efforts of ISAF to rid Kandahar of its Taliban plague and further destroy the confidence of the Afghan people in their struggle for security.

Rapidly changing situations require dynamic institutions to assess situations and develop and implement new strategies. Afghanistan has none of these. What they do have is a military that is easily infiltrated by the Taliban, a police force that is not ready or willing to enforce rule of law, and a political system that errs toward tribal favoritism over a democratic structure.

None of this is new information, but to those who question why this latest assassination matters, it serves as a wake up call. The U.S. is 10 years into a war and a nation-building effort that arguably created a more secure Afghanistan, but may have only served as a decade-long interruption of the inevitable failure of a state. The Afghan people wanted structure and they got it when we took hold of the country. However, the Taliban provided structure as well, albeit a harsher version.

The U.S. will come and go but the Afghan people are ultimately responsible for their own security in the future. From the look of things, this is something they simply aren't capable of. The lack of predictability in the country only serves to show that as much as policymakers like to say we are finally starting to get it, maybe we aren't.

Photo Credit: isafmedia

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Joseph Sarkisian

Joseph graduated with a Master of Science in international relations from the University of Massachusetts Boston and was an intern at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC. He completed his BA at Arizona State University in political science as well as studied Arabic language, terrorism/counterterrorism, and religion. Joseph also lived in Egypt where he studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo in 2007. Joseph was the Secretary of the Executive Committee for the University of Massachusetts Graduate Student Government, a teaching assistant in his department, and teaches a class on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. His main areas of interest are the Af/Pak region, Iran, Syria, and other current foreign policy issues.

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