Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Transition Monitoring

Afghanistan and ISAF announced a second tranche of transitions--of additional provinces, cities and areas where Afghans will take the lead.  Sounds great, as transition is the exit strategy.  As the Afghan forces take over, the outsiders can go home.  Sure.  But what does taking control or the lead mean?  Will Marja in Helmand really be run by Afghans?  Are Afghan security forces really running Kabul's security, for instance?  After all, Kabul was supposedly transitioned a couple of years ago but still had ISAF doing heaps of security.  Sure, the handover is not a light switch, as the transition is one of a process of handing over more and more responsibility.  But are the Afghans up to the task?  Will NATO trust them enough?  Can they?

With these hunks of territory transitioned over, we should have enough evidence over the next 6-9 months to figure out how this process works.  Of course, the question is whether the transition process will move faster than that or not.  The reality is that transition will be complete by the end of 2014 as NATO and the US will be out of the combat business by then.  Maybe.

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