The U.S. and the Taliban after the Killing of al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
The U.S. and the Taliban after the Killing of al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
Report 256 / Asia

阿富汗过渡期之后的叛乱活动

执行摘要及建议

阿富汗战争于2013年进入了新阶段。如今,这场战争愈发演变为叛乱分子与阿富汗国家安全部队(ANSF)之间的争夺战。2014年4月5日,阿富汗举行了相对成功的首轮总统大选,政府内外的许多人士因此对阿富汗的稳定更有信心。然而,人们应当现实地评估2014-2015年过渡期期间卡尔扎伊总统的继任者将要面临的安全挑战,避免过度乐观。如果国际社会不向阿富汗持续提供大量的安全、政治及经济支持,那么喀布尔或许会难以克服这些挑战。

整体而言,阿富汗的暴力活动与叛军袭击事件趋向升级。随着国际部队在阿富汗的逐渐撤离,喀布尔在边远地区的影响力也在衰弱。叛乱分子未能攻占主要城镇,有些地区的局势在国际部队撤出后也变得更加和平与稳定。不过,叛乱分子的信心日益增加,表现为有能力调集更大规模军队来发动袭击,这降低了2014-2015年期间举行有意义的国家级和平谈判的可能性。

仔细审视法利亚布、库纳尔、帕克蒂亚及坎大哈四省的局势,便会发现一些有可能在短期加剧冲突的潜在因素。国际部队驻扎阿富汗期间,历史仇恨与尚未消除的不满情绪受到暂时的压制,但如今这些问题正趋于恶化。法利亚布省主要是民族矛盾,坎大哈省大多是部族不和,但所有过渡地区都存在各种遗留问题,有可能导致2014年后暴力活动加剧。同时,政府军不同部队间最近在帕克蒂亚省发生小规模交火之后,当地的谈判代表预测,亲政府人士内部的冲突可能会变得更加频繁。坎大哈省的局势也表明,在外国军队监督减少的情况下,阿富汗人遭到本国安全部队的苛待,导致仇恨滋生,助长了叛乱活动。最后,巴基斯坦尽管作出了减少为叛乱分子提供避风港及其他支持的承诺,却并未付诸行动,阿富汗——尤其是坎大哈省及库纳尔省——对此耿耿于怀,两国关系可能因此恶化。

这些趋势并不意味着阿富汗注定要重蹈20世纪90年代初苏联撤离后国家崩塌的覆辙,如果国际社会持续向阿富汗提供强有力的支持,这种情况发生的可能性就更小。事实上,阿富汗部队虽然在2013年遭受创建以来最大的伤亡,并因叛乱势力的增强而从某些地区撤离,但在全国大部分地区,他们保持了行动的节奏。阿富汗国家安全部队仍然不乏年轻人入伍,这就抵消了退伍或逃兵人数增加的影响。政府依然有能力通过高速公路向城市中心运送物资。未来几年,阿富汗国家安全部队是否具有凝聚力可能会成为决定性的因素,尽管帕克蒂亚省的政府军内部发生了交火,但2013年报道的阿富汗部队内斗事件规模甚微。只要捐助国仍然愿意为阿富汗支付军饷,庞大的阿富汗安全部队——如今人数可能已超过37万人——就是一道强有力的屏障,可以阻挡叛乱分子攫取大范围的战略收益。

然而,塔利班及其他叛乱组织不会因此而放弃寻求这样的战略利益。尽管叛乱分子在多哈短暂地表示过可以参与和平谈判,但在外国部队撤离的地方,叛乱分子的行为表明他们并没有任何放松战斗的迹象。他们封锁道路,攻占农村地区,企图击垮地区行政中心。叛乱分子受到国际部队打击的风险降低了,于是他们便调集人数更多的军队,与阿富汗安全部队人员进行日趋频繁的面对面的地面战,有时会持续数周之久。不断增加的袭击事件表明,外国部队撤离后叛乱分子仍有借口进行战斗动员,他们改变了宣传辞令:过去的口号是抵抗异教徒占领,现在他们转而强调对抗政府中的“傀儡”或是“伊斯兰教叛徒”。诸如 “敢死队阵线”(Mahaz-e-Fedayeen) 这样的从叛乱组织中分离出来的小团体影响力正在上升,这进一步表明,未来数年内叛乱活动仍将猖獗。

2013年,由叛乱分子造成的阿富汗安全部队伤亡人数几乎与叛军自己的伤亡人数相当,这在历史上尚属首次,有关边远地区战斗的某些记录表明,双方近乎势均力敌。有人担心,随着外国部队继续撤离阿富汗,天平可能向叛乱分子倾斜,尤其是在某些农村地区。卡尔扎伊总统拒绝与美国及北约签署在2014年12月以后继续保留少量国际部队的协议,而进入决胜选举的两位总统候选人则都承诺要与美国签署《双边安全协议》(BSA),这一协议进一步会为北约《驻军地位协议》(SOFA)的签署创造条件。虽然仅仅依靠一批外国驻军还无法抵制叛乱分子,但外国驻军的完全撤离将会导致极为严重的问题。阿富汗国家安全部队仍然需要国际部队的支持,《双边安全协议》与《驻军地位协议》的签署可能会带来间接效应,在这样一个局势脆弱的时期释放出重要的信号,表明国际部队的承诺,从而帮助阿富汗得到持续的资金、发展及外交支持。

无论是否有国际部队作为后援,阿富汗政府都需要更多的直升飞机、装甲车及后勤支持,才能实现其有限的目标。这些额外的军事物资也能让政府更多地依靠相对训练有素的阿富汗军队,而非有伤害平民的斑斑劣迹的非正规部队。

当然,阿富汗政府的未来主要取决于其自身的行为:政府的法治承诺、反腐败措施以及其他能体现出政府对所有阿富汗人福祉的关心的因素。然而,国际社会也有责任:过去12年,国际社会帮助阿富汗恢复和平与稳定的努力并不总是尽如人意;现在,国际社会不能对阿富汗的局势漠不关心,而是应该重续承诺。

Executive Summary

The war in Afghanistan entered a new phase in 2013. It now is increasingly a contest between the insurgents and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Many within and outside the government are more optimistic about stability in the wake of a relatively successful first round of presidential elections on 5 April 2014. However, any euphoria should be tempered by a realistic assessment of the security challenges that President Karzai’s successor will face in the transitional period of 2014-2015. Kabul may find these challenges difficult to overcome without significant and sustained international security, political and economic support.

The overall trend is one of escalating violence and insurgent attacks. Ongoing withdrawals of international soldiers have generally coincided with a deterioration of Kabul’s reach in outlying districts. The insurgents have failed to capture major towns and cities, and some areas have experienced more peace and stability in the absence of international troops. Yet, the increasing confidence of the insurgents, as evidenced by their ability to assemble bigger formations for assaults, reduces the chances for meaningful national-level peace talks in 2014-2015.

A close examination of four provinces – Faryab, Kunar, Paktia and Kandahar – reveals underlying factors that may aggravate the conflict in the short term. Historical feuds and unresolved grievances are worsening after having been, in some cases, temporarily contained by the presence of international troops. In Faryab, these are largely ethnic tensions; in Kandahar they are mostly tribal; but in all transitional areas there is a variety of unfinished business that may result in further violence post-2014. Similarly, clashes among pro-government actors may become more frequent, as predicted by local interlocutors after recent skirmishing between government forces in Paktia. The situation in Kandahar also illustrates the way mistreatment of Afghans at the hands of their own security forces, operating with less supervision from foreign troops, breeds resentment that feeds the insurgency. Finally, despite its rhetoric, Pakistan has not reduced safe havens and other support for the insurgency, while Afghanistan’s hostile responses – especially in Kandahar and Kunar – risk worsening cross-border relations.

None of these trends mean that Afghanistan is doomed to repeat the post-Soviet state collapse of the early 1990s, particularly if there is continued and robust international support. In fact, Afghan forces suffered record casualties in 2013 and retreated from some locations in the face of rising insurgency but maintained the tempo of their operations in most parts of the country. Afghanistan still has no shortage of young men joining the ANSF, offsetting the rising number of those who opt to leave them or abandon their posts. The government remains capable of moving supplies along highways to urban centres. ANSF cohesiveness, or lack of it, may prove decisive in the coming years, and Paktia notwithstanding, only minor reports emerged in 2013 of Afghan units fighting each other. As long as donors remain willing to pay their salaries, the sheer numbers of Afghan security personnel – possibly in the 370,000 range today – are a formidable obstacle to large-scale strategic gains by the insurgents.

That will not stop the Taliban and other insurgent groups from pushing for such gains, however. Despite a short-lived gesture toward peace negotiations in Doha, the insurgents’ behaviour in places where the foreign troops have withdrawn shows no inclination to slow the pace of fighting. They are blocking roads, capturing rural territory and trying to overwhelm district administration centres. With less risk of attack from international forces, they are massing bigger groups of fighters and getting into an increasing number of face-to-face ground engagements with Afghan security personnel, some of which drag on for weeks. The rising attacks show that the insurgents are able to motivate their fighters in the absence of foreign troops, shifting their rhetoric from calls to resist infidel occupation to a new emphasis on confronting the “puppets” or “betrayers of Islam” in the government. The emerging prominence of splinter groups such as Mahaz-e-Fedayeen is a further indication the insurgency will not lack ferocity in the coming years.

For the first time, the insurgents inflicted almost as many casualties on Afghan security forces in 2013 as they suffered themselves, and several accounts of battles in remote districts suggested the sides were nearly matched in strength. There are concerns that the balance could tip in favour of the insurgency, particularly in some rural locations, as foreign troops continue leaving. President Karzai has refused to conclude agreements with the U.S. and NATO that would keep a relatively modest presence of international troops after December 2014. The two presidential runoff candidates have vowed to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S., which would in turn allow for a NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). While retaining a contingent of foreign soldiers would not be sufficient on its own to keep the insurgency at bay, its absence could prove extremely problematic. The ANSF still needs support from international forces, and signing a BSA and a SOFA would likely have knock-on effects, sending an important signal of commitment at a fragile time, thus encouraging ongoing financial, developmental and diplomatic support.

With or without backup from international forces, the Afghan government will need more helicopters, armoured vehicles, and logistical support to accomplish that limited objective. Such additional military tools would also permit the government to rely increasingly on the relatively well-disciplined Afghan army rather than forcing it to turn to irregular forces that have a dismal record of harming civilians.

Certainly, the future of the Afghan government depends primarily on its own behaviour: its commitment to the rule of law, anti-corruption measures and other aspects of governance must demonstrate its concern for the well-being of all Afghans. However, responsibility also rests with the international community; its patchy efforts over a dozen years to bring peace and stability must now be followed not with apathy, but with renewed commitment.

Podcast / Asia

The U.S. and the Taliban after the Killing of al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood speaks with Crisis Group’s Asia Director Laurel Miller about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s foreign relations and what the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the Afghan capital Kabul says about the threat from transnational militants in Afghanistan a year into Taliban rule.

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