Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

Russia's strategies in Afghanistan and their consequences for NATO

Marlène Laruelle

November 2011

NATO Defense College


In July 2011, the first U.S. troops started to leave Afghanistan - a powerful symbol of Western determination to let the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) gradually take over responsibility for national security. This is also an important element in the strategy of Hamid Karzai's government, which seeks to appear not as a pawn of Washington but as an autonomous actor in negotiations with the so-called moderate Taliban. With withdrawal to be completed by 2014, the regionalization of the "Afghan issue" will grow. The regional powers will gain autonomy in their relationship with Kabul, and will implement strategies of both competition and collaboration. In the context of this regionalization, Russia occupies an important position.