As drone technology advances and proliferates ever further, national and international security interests will increasingly come to be seen being served better by drones than by expeditionary campaigns. That said, the temptation for more state (and non-state) actors to use drones and to do so more often, will not necessarily make the world a safer or less violent place.
The announcement by the United States that it intends to enter into direct negotiations with the Afghan Taliban represents a significant opportunity to manage the Western ‘exit’ from the country by the end of 2014.
The recent attacks in Afghanistan underscore that the situation in the country continues to represent a major challenge for internationalised peacebuilding and state building efforts and that the fundamental problem remains wide-spread insecurity.
The 2011 Bonn Conference needs to make clear that the Afghan government and people and their partners in the international community are united in their efforts to make tangible and sustainable progress towards a more stable Afghanistan in an equally more stable region.
A political settlement will only be possible and sustainable if both the Afghan government and the Taliban commit to it credibly and if it has broad regional and international support during its negotiation and implementation.
Osama Bin Laden’s death is a significant, if perhaps mostly symbolic, achievement in the fight against international terrorism. It does not spell the end of al-Qaeda, but it demonstrates that Western skill and determination can prevail.
There are important parallels between Yemen and Afghanistan that help put in context the very complex challenge that Yemen has posed for some time.
What Afghanistan needs in light of its newly found mineral wealth is a revenue-sharing framework that is fair and sustainable and a regulatory framework that gives foreign investors a sense of security so that Afghanistan’s people have a chance of reaping real benefits from their country’s mineral wealth.