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  • Author: Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: On 31 December 2014, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the largest military mission of NATO, will be history. In line with the political decision taken at NATO's Lisbon Summit in 2010, ISAF troops will be leaving. With them will go all their equipment: a range of items, from weapon systems and armored vehicles to chairs, kitchens and fitness centers used by more than 100,000 troops and approximately the same amount of civilian personnel. This is a gigantic project. If one thought getting into Afghanistan was difficult, getting out is a lot harder. It represents the biggest multi-national military logistical challenge in modern history. Millions of tons of material have to be de-militarized, dismantled, handed over, sold, scrapped, recycled, donated to the Afghans and/or third nations, or transferred home. More than 125,000 containers and 80,000 military vehicles have to be disposed of or brought back home to NATO nations and NATO partner countries. If the containers and the vehicles were placed one after the other, end to end, they would form a line as long as the distance from Berlin to Paris.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Paris, Asia, Berlin
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO's decision to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan has forced the Alliance to think long and hard about the "how" associated with such a withdrawal. As a result the strategic importance of the five Central Asian states Kazakhstan, Kyrrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a politically neglected region, mostly seen as a supplier of raw materials and energy, is likely to increase significantly. During the past ten years the ISAF mission has focused its attention on Afghanistan itself. The only neighboring country taken into serious consideration has been Pakistan, as emblematically shown in the US AfPak policy approach. North of Afghanistan, the Central Asian states have been left on the sidelines and their strategic and political role has been underestimated. However, they are now back on the political agenda as an indispensable transit ground.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Sten Rynning
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO is set to terminate its combat mission in Afghanistan and establish Afghan security leadership by the end of 2014 - a process which the Alliance defined as "irreversible" at its Chicago summit on 20-21 May 2012. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will thus complete its mission after thirteen years, and become history. However, NATO is not just packing up and going home. In 2010 the Alliance launched its proposal for an Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan, and in Chicago it declared: "Afghanistan will not stand alone." Afghanistan can count on NATO's "enduring commitment" to the country, and NATO will now prepare "a new training, advising and assistance mission" that can begin in January 2015.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Ioanna-Nikoletta Zyga
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed as a defensive military alliance more than six decades ago, one of its fundamental tasks was to deter Soviet aggression against Western Europe. Since the end of the Cold War, the Allies have come to understand that their security depends on their ability to face threats emerging from well beyond the Euro-Atlantic space. NATO has thus broadened its focus from collective defense to security management beyond its borders: its numerous operations in this capacity have included peace support, peacekeeping, disaster relief and counter-piracy missions. These operations have taken place not only in NATO's traditional areas of intervention such as the Balkans, but also as far afield as the Gulf of Aden, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, International Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, North Atlantic
  • Author: James Boutilier
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO is at a crossroads. This is not the first time that Brussels has been faced with critical decisions about the direction, character and raison d'être of this unique and remarkable organization. But this time the stakes are even higher. The major centers of global power are all weak simultaneously for individual and inter-connected reasons. The greatest power on earth and NATO's banker, the United States, is confronting almost insurmountable levels of debt and talk about the end of the American empire has become commonplace. The European community is reeling from the cumulative effect of debt crises. And China, the 21st century's "workshop of the world" (and in the eyes of some a potential savor of ailing economies in Europe) has begun to see its economy slow disturbingly. At the same time, two other phenomena are unfolding; the rapid and profound shift in the global centre of economic gravity from the Euro-Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific region and the winding down of NATO's involvement in Afghanistan. The latter, of course, raises the inevitable question: "What next?" The former raises a related question: "Does NATO's future lie in Asia?"
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Marlène Laruelle
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In July 2011, the first U.S. troops started to leave Afghanistan - a powerful symbol of Western determination to let the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) gradually take over responsibility for national security. This is also an important element in the strategy of Hamid Karzai's government, which seeks to appear not as a pawn of Washington but as an autonomous actor in negotiations with the so-called moderate Taliban. With withdrawal to be completed by 2014, the regionalization of the "Afghan issue" will grow. The regional powers will gain autonomy in their relationship with Kabul, and will implement strategies of both competition and collaboration. In the context of this regionalization, Russia occupies an important position.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States