Ehsanullah Zirak is an Afghan writer and analyst. He writes on issues related to War and Peace, Strategic and Military Affairs, and International Security Issues. He is a Senior Expert of Assets at ARG/Presidential Palace and the Head of SPARC (Security, Peace and Resolution of Conflicts Studies Strategic Organization).
Afghanistan | July 8, 2020 | Opinion Article
German-Afghan relations have more than a century-long history. The first contacts between the governments of the German Reich and the Kingdom of Afghanistan took place in 1915 after World War I had started. Since then, Afghanistan held on to the right of neutrality both in World War I and II.
The relations between Germany and Afghanistan have continuously been positive. Even during the darkest term of the Taliban regime, when no foreign and international agency was carrying out missions, German (and Swedish) aid and development work continued. Between the 1960s and 70s, until the occupation in 1979, Germany was the third largest bilateral donor for development co-operation in Afghanistan related to education, healthcare, water supply, agriculture, and infrastructure. At times, Germany sent over 200 experts and development workers to Afghanistan.
Even after the overthrowing of the Taliban regime, Germany continued its active and positive role in Afghanistan from 2001 until now, as the peace process is becoming a step forward to the Intra Afghan Dialogue.
Germany’s Role in various Afghan Sectors since 2001
Since its considerable engagement in Afghanistan starting in 2001 – with the most extensive civil-military mission in the history of Germany, Germany has been the second-largest bilateral donor in Afghanistan. Germany is currently providing up to 250 million Euros per year for development and 180 million Euros for civil stabilization and is the fourth-largest troop-contributing nation to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (currently providing up to 980 soldiers and up to 80 million Euros per year to Afghan army trust funds).
Germany has played a very active and positive role in Afghanistan through the Resolute Support Mission by contributing to various sectors, such as education, women rights, capacity building; training, advising, supporting and funding the Afghan national forces; infrastructure, water supply, and energy-providing. Germany has started to provide shelter for Afghan refugees within Germany. Furthermore, two important conferences have been held in Bonn, Germany, in the years 2001, and 2011. The first focused on building a new government after the Taliban regime had been tackled, and the second convened to discuss the military presence of the international community and to shift the security responsibility to the Afghan National Forces.
Germany’s Role in Bringing Peace and Stability to Afghanistan
As the current Afghan war is both shaped by internal and external factors, there can be no long-lasting peace and stability without addressing those factors. International factors contributing to the war include illiteracy, drug cultivation, trafficking, warlords, poverty and economic decline. External factors evolve around Afghan rivers’ water, the Durand Line, regional powers and international great powers’ conflict of interest.
Therefore, all root causes that shape the current Afghan war need to be addressed and countered in order to create peace.
Germany has played and will have a significant role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan by supporting and strengthening ANF (Afghan National Forces), funding infrastructure, supporting Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and counter-narcotics, helping in alleviating poverty (both on the national level and international level), and backing the Afghan government stance.
Moreover, Germany has a decisive role in the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy, and the EU’s position can bring a significant change of the international community’s perspective on third world countries and particularly Afghanistan.
Considering the role of Germany in the NATO alliance, Germany’s military presence as part of the international community also contributes to peace in Afghanistan. As the USA is currently making a peace deal with the Taliban – by granting dozens of privileges – the EU as a whole and Germany, in particular, show their persistence. The current deal could lead to a peace agreement, which could secure all the achievements of the past 20 years.
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