A largely unnoticed "surge" of European troops in Afghanistan now needs to be followed by a similar "surge" in civilian experts as part of a new European strategy for the country, argues the author of a new policy brief published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a leading pan-European think-tank.
The ECFR policy brief includes the first comprehensive survey of EU troop numbers in Afghanistan. It is released ahead of the NATO summit in Strasbourg-Kehl on 3-4 April. On his first visit to Europe, President Barack Obama will be looking for new European ideas to accompany the forthcoming growth in American troop numbers in Afghanistan.
EU countries must acknowledge there can be no military solution to end the insurgency and launch a new strategy for Afghanistan, argues Daniel Korski, a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, in "Shaping Europe's Afghan Surge".
Most importantly, the EU and the US should encourage the next Afghan government to negotiate with insurgent leaders willing to lay down arms and integrate the political process. While more troops continue to be needed, Europe's emphasis must be on sending more civilian experts, says Korski, a former adviser to the Afghan government in Kabul. Police, administrative trainers and election observers are a particular priority.