State-building in the shadow of war: Afghanistan
EU capabilities in the fields of conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Afghanistan
This desk study report discusses the capabilities of the European Union (EU) in Afghanistan in the fields of conflict prevention and peacebuilding from 2001 until 2016. Despite fifteen years of international intervention – including EU efforts – the political, security, and economic future of Afghanistan is increasingly uncertain, with important consequences for the civilian population. While the early years after the 2001 US-led intervention were relatively stable, especially since 2005 Afghanistan has seen escalating violence, a growing insurgency, predatory militia behaviour, a deterioration of Kabul's reach in outlying districts (International Crisis Group 2014), and, recently, increased migration flows. Never since 2001 has the Taliban controlled as much territory as it does today, while at the same time the UN (2016) reported that the first half of 2016 showed a record high level of civilian casualties. Generally, state presence is weak in rural areas, and various hybrid arrangements of warlords, militias, and insurgents fill the security and governance vacuum at the local level. According to Martin et al (2016: 18), this ‘political or conflict context' can create serious challenges for the EU's civilian capabilities in the fields of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.