News / Asia

Report: Afghanistan 'Far From Ready' for 2014 Transition

Afghans gather at the site of a bombing in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, south of Kabul, October 8, 2012.
Afghans gather at the site of a bombing in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, south of Kabul, October 8, 2012.
VOA News
The International Crisis Group says the Afghan government is "far from ready" to assume security responsibility when U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in 2014.

The non-profit group says the government in Kabul could collapse, especially if the next round of the country's elections is fraudulent. In 2009 and 2010, the country suffered chaotic presidential and parliamentary polls.

An ICG report published Monday said in the current environment, the prospects for clean elections and a smooth transition of power are slim. It also said it expects political cohesion in the capital to decline as foreign aid and investment goes down with the approach of the 2014 drawdown.

The Brussels-based group recommends that the international community craft a contingency plan to ensure adequate security for Afghanistan's 2014 presidential campaign. It also urges Afghan election officials and lawmakers to be transparent and settle election-process issues ahead of the polls.

Kabul Police Chief General Mohammed Ayub Salangi told VOA that he finds the report "completely baseless" and that the Afghan security forces will be ready to take responsibility from the coalition.

The report follows a car-bomb attack near a security forces office in southern Afghanistan that killed two intelligence officers and wounded four civilians.

Separately, the outgoing head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan said the country's armed conflict has worsened for civilians. Reto Stocker is leaving Afghanistan after seven years in his current position. In a news release, he said he deplored the continued lack of access to health care for civilians. He also said alongside the ill effects of the armed conflict, civilians are suffering from economic hardship, as well as severe weather and natural disasters.

Despite the challenges, Stocker said his group has made some progress in raising its concerns with various parties in the conflict, who he said have shown a greater willingness to listen and follow certain recommendations.

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