Citha D. Maaß, Thomas Ruttig

Is Afghanistan on the Brink of a New Civil War?

Possible Scenarios and Influencing Factors in the Transition Process

SWP Comment 2011/C 21, August 2011, 4 Pages



In July 2011 ISAF began transferring security responsibilities to the Afghan government. While NATO countries view this process with calculated optimism, four entirely negative scenarios are becoming probable. A "power oligarchy" could develop, either directly out of the current leadership (Scenario 1) or with the political participation of the Taleban (Scenario 2). It is also conceivable, however, that the country could relapse into a "civil war" after 2014, the prospective end of the ISAF mission (Scenario 3); or into a renewed "Taleban emirate" (Scenario 4). Which of these developments will occur depends on several influencing factors: the internal risks within Afghanistan; future ISAF strategy in the asymmetric war; and the nature of long-term US engagement in Afghanistan.