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A Dangerous Escalation in Afghanistan
A Dangerous Escalation in Afghanistan
Report 262 / Asia

重设巴基斯坦与阿富汗的关系

执行摘要

一直以来,巴基斯坦同阿富汗关系的主要基调基本是互不信任,且仅建立在狭隘的安全议题上。虽然结束根深蒂固的仇恨要花很大力气,但两国有着紧密的民族、语言、宗教和经济联系。在巴基斯坦建国以前,阿富汗人就早已在往该地区迁移,现今已成为巴基斯坦社会不可或缺的成员。然而,巴基斯坦军方基于他们所认为的国家安全利益制定了干预政策,支持其在阿富汗以普什图人为主的代理人,两国关系因此受损。即将上任的阿富汗总统加尼提出扩展双边关系,为伊斯兰堡提供了改善关系的崭新契机。巴基斯坦总理谢里夫对此作出积极回应,然而,随着阿富汗过渡期的临近,巴基斯坦军方和文职领袖们对喀布尔的态度愈发不同。通过将两国关系重新向经济关系定位,并寻求解决巴基斯坦领土上数百万阿富汗难民的问题,巴基斯坦可以同邻国阿富汗进行更具建设性的接触。

稳定摇摇欲坠的经济是谢里夫的首要目标,但安全是前提,而不稳定的邻国也会造成障碍。因此,谢里夫的政府主动接触阿富汗,以期能缓解双方的紧张关系,并为过渡期后阿富汗的稳定出力。但是,巴基斯坦军方高级将领继续一手托两家,或明或暗地支持阿富汗卷土重来的叛乱活动,这有可能阻碍阿富汗的顺利过渡。

自2001年塔利班被赶下台以来,阿富汗叛乱分子一直把巴基斯坦当成避难所。三个主要武装组织—奥马尔领导的“舒拉”(意为“立法会”),希克马蒂亚领导的“阿富汗伊斯兰党”和同基地组织有关的“哈卡尼网络”—都把它们的指挥控制部门设在巴基斯坦,并在巴基斯坦行动。这些叛乱分子的温床一直在持续削弱阿富汗打击叛乱的努力,在2014年安全防务过渡之后,它们可能会继续带来这样的影响。

巴基斯坦的干预政策还危及国内和平。阿富汗叛乱分子同巴基斯坦自己的部落极端分子沆瀣一气,而这些部落极端分子则是宗派、地区和跨国圣战组织联盟的一部分。在阿富汗极端分子的支持下,巴基斯坦的部落极端分子挑战政府的权威,在同阿富汗接壤地带的联邦直辖部落地区和白沙瓦省尤为猖獗。军方领导的解决办法或以绥靖交易为基础,或是通过对巴基斯坦塔利班派别发动强势军事镇压,两者都效果不佳。

巴基斯坦极端分子利用他们与阿富汗同伙的关系,在阿富汗获得了避难所,并以此拓宽了向巴基斯坦目标发动袭击的行动空间,这说明巴军方必须结束一切对阿富汗代理人或明或暗的支持。然而,这很大程度上依赖于巴基斯坦文职政府能否在脆弱的民主过渡中从军方手中夺下对国家安全和外交政策的控制权。

从2008年巴基斯坦开始民主过渡起,连续两届政府都意图改善与阿富汗的关系,政策之一即不干预,但都因军方拒不让步而失败。在2013年5月的选举后,巴基斯坦首次实现了政权从一个民选政府向另一个民选政府的过渡,这给加强文官对国家安全和外交政策的控制提供了良机,包括改善同阿富汗关系。但是,以巴基斯坦正义运动党领导人伊姆兰·汗和神职人员兼政客塔希尔·卡德里为首的反政府示威活动从2014年8月开始一直持续至今,这加大军方的筹码,使其更能迫使谢里夫的巴基斯坦穆斯林联盟-纳瓦兹政府妥协,在涉及阿富汗这个巴基斯坦最敏感的地区关系之一时尤其如此。

然而,谢里夫仍有机会重新定义双边关系,将其扩展到狭窄的安全议题以外,这并不仅仅因为喀布尔的新政府开始了主动接触。在民主过渡稳定下来,巴政府可以结束对阿富汗代理人或明或暗的支持之前,谢里夫应同喀布尔合作,拓展经济关系,包括升级与扩充道路和两国边境铁路等基础设施,减少繁缛的安全措施,打击腐败,并开始就自由贸易协议展开会谈。简化过境和为两国公民提供经济机会也会使两国获益。但是,改善两国关系需要巴方帮助其领土上数百万阿富汗难民改善惶惶不安的生活。伊斯兰堡应签署并批准1951年《难民公约》及其1967年的议定书。在此之前,巴基斯坦应为难民立法,将对难民的长期保护和难民的权利写进法律,并尊重难民不被遣返的权利。

伊斯兰堡/布鲁塞尔,2014年10月28日

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.