Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Twitter Video Camera Youtube
A Dangerous Escalation in Afghanistan
A Dangerous Escalation in Afghanistan
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。

Commentary / Asia

A Dangerous Escalation in Afghanistan

The Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is likely to continue unabated in 2018, despite the U.S. effort to step up its military campaign. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to utilise its influence with Afghan political actors to help rebuild trust and increase prospects for mediation.

This commentary on the escalation of danger in Afghanistan is part of our annual early-warning report Watch List 2018.

In 2018, Afghanistan is likely to witness escalating violence and could also face political crisis. President Ashraf’s National Unity Government (NUG) should work with U.S. officials to ensure Washington’s new strategy has a political, not merely military, component. It also should reach out to opposition politicians and parties, advance preparations for credible parliamentary elections and counter the perception that power is being centralised along ethnic lines – all measures the EU and its member states, which retain influence in Kabul, should encourage. With the U.S. for now determined to escalate its military campaign against the Taliban insurgency, prospects for progress toward a political settlement in 2018 appear dim. Still, beyond their contribution to the training, advising and assisting of Afghan security forces, the EU and European leaders and member states should continue to emphasise the importance of such a settlement and help preserve channels of communication to the insurgency.

A military strategy with no political framework

Washington’s new Afghanistan strategy involves stepping up the military campaign against the Taliban through U.S. airstrikes and mostly Afghan-led, U.S.-supported ground offensives. U.S. President Donald Trump removed deadlines for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, while increasing the number of troops on the ground by 4,000, to reach a total of 15,000 (still far below the 100,000 deployed as part of the 2011 surge). European NATO allies have committed to sending more military personnel to train and advise the Afghan security forces. Although the increase is modest – less than a thousand officers – it is a symbolically significant expression of support. U.S. officials maintain that the goal is to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and leave the group no choice but to enter into talks about a political settlement, although when such talks would take place is unclear. U.S. efforts to engage the Taliban – or at least encourage them to enter talks with the Afghan government – appear to have petered out.

Over the past year, the Taliban have stepped up their offensive, launching massive high-casualty attacks, sometimes by driving military vehicles – usually stolen from the Afghan army – laden with explosives into military and police compounds. These demoralising bombings are likely to continue. The Taliban also could continue their pattern of spectacular urban attacks to shake public confidence in the government; a 27 January attack, which saw insurgents detonate explosives packed in an ambulance on a busy Kabul street, killing more than 100 and injuring at least 200, mostly civilians, is only the latest such strike. For some years already, insurgents have used increasingly sophisticated equipment and, in some places, engaged Afghan forces in direct – as opposed to asymmetric – confrontation. The Taliban also appear to enjoy stronger connections than ever before to outside powers, not only their traditional patron (Pakistan), but also Iran and Russia. Afghan civilians are likely to bear the brunt of any escalation.

The U.S. undertook only a single observable political effort in 2017, which was to pressure Pakistan to stop harbouring and supporting the Taliban and their Haqqani network allies. Even that initiative is unlikely to bear fruit.

Prospects in 2018 for serious progress toward a peace process are slim. U.S. officials say their new strategy integrates diplomatic and military efforts to achieve a political settlement with the Taliban. Yet diplomacy clearly has been downgraded. The U.S. undertook only a single observable political effort in 2017, which was to pressure Pakistan to stop harbouring and supporting the Taliban and their Haqqani network allies. Even that initiative is unlikely to bear fruit, however, as cuts to U.S. military assistance almost certainly will not alter the strategic calculus of Islamabad’s security establishment that drives Pakistani support for Afghan insurgents.

U.S. and Afghan officials pay increasing attention to what they describe as a growing threat from foreign terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-KP). In truth, however, non-Taliban groups contributed only a small percentage of the violence in 2017. Despite dramatic and shocking attacks in urban centres, the IS-KP has, for the most part, been held in check by U.S. and Afghan forces, on the one hand, and the Taliban, on the other.

Politics in crisis

National politics are likely to suck oxygen from counter-insurgency efforts as President Ashraf Ghani’s unity government may well face a political crisis in the coming year. Parliamentary elections, already postponed in October 2016 and now scheduled for July 2018, are at risk of further delay while presidential elections are scheduled for 2019. Delayed reforms and preparations risk undermining prospects for clean polling, according to Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Secretary-General’s special representative for Afghanistan. Insecurity across much of the country may also obstruct a credible vote.

The government faces a political opposition that is larger and more diverse than previously has been the case during the post-Taliban era. Afghan politics may be factious and fluid, but, at least for now, several groups have aligned against the Ghani government, in part because they see stalled election preparations as evidence it is looking to manipulate the vote. Many accuse the president of tightening his grip on power and deepening ethnic divisions.

Ghani’s vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek warlord who left for Turkey amid a criminal investigation into allegations (which he denies) that he abducted and raped a political rival, has formed an alliance with influential Tajik and Hazara leaders. A spat between Ghani and Atta Mohammad Noor, the powerful governor of Balkh province who is resisting the president’s efforts to remove him from his post, also threatens turmoil. Atta has the support of a major part of Jamiat-e Islami, one of the largest political parties. That he seems ready to defy the central government so brazenly, even violently, sets a dangerous precedent for regional power brokers seeking to slip Kabul’s grip.

Powerful politicians also are arrayed against the government. Ex-President Hamid Karzai has been mobilising to convene a Loya Jirga or grand council of tribal elders to debate the country’s future. While Karzai argues a council would unite the bitterly divided Afghan polity, his critics accuse him of trying to shake up politics and regain power.

President Ghani has tried to fend off his rivals and shore up his legitimacy with the backing of Western powers. But external support is an inadequate substitute for domestic approval, particularly with elections looming. Ghani needs to invest more in building national consensus, which will be critical to manage conflict and street protests should a political crisis unfold.

Making external influence more constructive

The EU and member states have difficult tasks ahead: they must simultaneously help keep the government from unravelling; support, along with the UN, election preparations; encourage President Ghani to reach out to his opponents; and assist the U.S.-led battle against the Taliban, all the while talking to the insurgents.

Although EU influence in Kabul suffered when it closed its special representative’s office and downgraded its diplomatic presence last year, there may at some point be opportunities for Europeans to help bring the Taliban to the table.

In this respect, the EU continues to enjoy clout with various Afghan political actors, even if less than some years ago. Their reduced footprint in Afghanistan notwithstanding, the EU and member states provided €30.5 million in humanitarian assistance in 2017 to help the country’s growing numbers of displaced people and other civilian victims. More broadly, over the past decade the EU has provided some €756 million in life-saving aid. It should now use the resulting influence to push for progress toward a political settlement to the conflict. Specifically, it should press and encourage the Afghan and U.S. governments to go down this path, while ensuring that lines of communication to the insurgency remain open. If signs re-emerge that the Trump administration is planning to close the Taliban’s political representation office in Doha, Qatar – which it threatened to do in 2017 but then apparently reconsidered – European leaders should actively discourage such a move. Although EU influence in Kabul suffered when it closed its special representative’s office and downgraded its diplomatic presence last year, there may at some point be opportunities for Europeans to help bring the Taliban to the table. Indeed, mistrust between the Taliban and the Ghani government means credible third parties will, at some point, need to step in.