Strengthening Transatlantic Policy Coherence in Fragile States: Afghanistan as a Laboratory for Solutions
The Afghan presidential elections taking place this Thursday, August 20, are fraught with challenges. Alongside the U.S. administration's renewed focus on the region and the upcoming renegotiation of UNAMA's mandate, they present opportunities and risks for the people of Afghanistan as well as the international community. Will these three milestones mark a departure from the past, and help set a new course? Afghanistan currently represents one of the main challenges of transatlantic cooperation in support of peace, security, and economic growth in fragile states. Results so far have been mixed, and arguably become worse. Leaders in the United States and Europe recognize that a policy shift is required, but change is slow to materialize. On April 29-30, 2009, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) convened a closed-door, solutions-focused seminar in Paris on ways to better address the twin challenges of human security and development in hostile and post-conflict environments, based on an in-depth analysis of the policy choices made in Afghanistan. The event brought together 28 senior experts and policymakers from the fields of defense, diplomacy, and development from both sides of the Atlantic. Based on the key findings of the seminar, this brief identifies ten concrete ways to improve the efficiency of international involvement in Afghanistan.