Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Peace and Development Efforts in Afghanistan: A Lost Decade

Patryk Kugiel

December 2011

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


The paper summarizes the last decade in Afghanistan and points at critical mistakes made by the international community. The author argues that Western powers didn’t treat Afghan security and reconstruction seriously and displayed much ignorance about its regional environment—all in all causing the great opportunity to put the country on its own feet to be lost. The modest achievements in Afghanistan will be at grave risk as the West prepares to leave the country by 2014. The international commitment to Afghanistan needs to be reinvigorated before the country descends into yet another war. The analysis concludes with a set of crucial lessons learned from the Afghan conflict for future peace-and-reconstruction missions.