Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan : the role of post-conflict reconstruction
Date of Issue2014
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The objective of this thesis is to analyze why the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan emerged despite lack of support from the Afghan people on the one hand and significant external assistance on the other. The study argues that the weaknesses in the post-conflict reconstruction framework developed at the Bonn Conference of December 2001 (Bonn-I), followed by inadequate implementation of the framework, resulted in the revival of the Taliban-led insurgency. The UN-brokered agreement negotiated at Bonn was the beginning of a process to bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan and it was aimed at promoting national reconciliation, sustainable peace and stability and to ensure respect for human rights in Afghanistan. Under the auspices of Bonn-I, the international community initiated a process of post-conflict reconstruction on both security and non-security lines. Bonn-I provided a framework for setting up an interim government tasked with drafting a constitution, convening a Loya Jirga (grand assembly), holding presidential and parliamentary elections by 2005, strengthening the Afghan police and military forces, and establishing a judicial system. Although the political benchmarks were achieved in the designated time frame, peace remained elusive in Afghanistan owing to inefficiency and corruption in state civil and security institutions, weak governance, and shortfalls in economic reconstruction. Bonn-I was followed by several international conferences to discuss issues related to the reconstruction and to reaffirm the commitments made by the international community to help rebuild Afghanistan. However, on both security and non-security fronts, international pledges for material and human support remained either inadequately designed or were not implemented well. These shortcomings allowed the window of opportunity created by the fall of the Taliban and the overwhelming support of the Afghan people to close. Subsequently, the Taliban-led insurgents re-emerged as a potent force by exploiting the Afghan people’s discontent, which arose from the absence of security, especially in the South and East of Afghanistan and the failure to rebuild the country’s economy, as a result of which the weak Karzai regime lost its legitimacy. The international community’s failure to make headway in reconstructing post-Bonn Afghanistan helped the Taliban to draw material and human resources for their movement from the disgruntled population. The study, which evaluates developments between December 2001 (Bonn-I) and December 2011 (Bonn-II), shows that the relative success of the Taliban-led insurgency can largely be attributed to the improper conception and then inadequate implementation of the post-conflict reconstruction policies by the international community. The study thus underlines the vital importance of a properly planned and implemented process of the reconstruction for ensuring lasting stability in weak post-conflict states.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science::International relations