This is a scientific Net Assessment of the situation in Afghanistan and India’s critical security stakes in this region. A Taliban take-over in Kabul could cause the dominoes to fall not only in Central Asia but also in Pakistan—a recipe for security disaster for the region. This study analyses the drivers of change.
The Afghan War has been grossly under-resourced for far too-long. Using the Cross Impact Matrix Analysis Technique, the panels of experts have helped to crystallize the Alternative Military Futures for Afghanistan—both in the short and long term. This will majorly be premised on the success of the American troop surge. The experts gave 60 per cent chances to a scenario in which the US will try and scale down its troops before the next US Presidential elections. This assessment has substantially been vindicated by President Obama’s recent announcement of a surge of 30,000 additional troops and the clear determination that, in 18 months, US troops will start returning home.
The study underlines the critical factor that capacity building of the Afghan Armed Forces is the key to victory over the Al Qaida/Taliban combination. It is here that there is urgent need for action. It is felt that the optimal size of the Afghan National Army (ANA) must be 550,000; the strength at the time of the Soviet withdrawal. The then Afghan Army had held the Mujahedeen at bay for three years (before the Soviets pulled out the economic plug). India has a vital stake in the capacity building of the Afghan State and in ensuring its survival.