Issue BriefsPublished on Aug 23, 2023 PDF Download
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Post-Election Challenges for the New Government in Kabul

This issue brief explores the prospects and problems for the new government in Afghanistan with respect to: the two new leaders and their respective positions; the Taliban; and the regional countries China, India, Iran and Pakistan.

With a new President—Ashraf Ghani—finally in place in Kabul, attention can shift from the protracted electoral process to the challenges likely to confront the new government. The ability of this government to deal with various political and security challenges will depend to a large extent on how it manages its relations with a variety of stakeholders.

Reviving the peace process with the Taliban is likely to be among the top priorities of the new government. The need for a political settlement with the insurgents has become all the more important given the impending drawdown of foreign forces from the region by the end of 2014 and persisting doubts about the capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The military drawdown, likely to be accompanied by a similar waning of interest and financial commitment, also makes it imperative for the new leaders in Kabul to persuade regional countries like India, Iran and China to increase their engagement with Afghanistan. Among the neighbours, dealing with Pakistan and its policy towards Afghanistan is likely to be a formidable challenge for the new government.

While all these problems confronted the previous regime in Kabul as well, President Ghani could face a possible new threat from within the government itself. As difficult as the other challenges may be, keeping the government together and maintaining a good working relationship between the President and the Chief Executive will likely prove to be an extremely onerous task.

This Issue Brief seeks to explore the prospects and problems for the new government in Afghanistan with respect to managing three sets of relations. The first is between the two leaders and their respective positions: Navigating this dynamic is crucial for the smooth functioning, and the very existence, of the Government of National Unity. The second is with the Taliban, which continues to pose a serious security threat. The last set of relations concerns the regional countries China, India, Iran and Pakistan.

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Aryaman Bhatnagar

Aryaman Bhatnagar

Aryaman Bhatnagar is a foreign policy security and political analyst based in New Delhi. He was a German Chancellor Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt ...

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