Desired results from NATO summit unlikely: analysts
The two-day gathering on Sept 4 and 5 will decide on future support to Afghanistan and a follow-up mission to train and advice Afghan security forces as the alliance’s longest combat mission ends this year.
Both presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai are locked in a battle to succeed outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who has declined to attend the NATO gathering.
The government had earlier hoped the next president would represent Afghanistan in the NATO meeting, but the UN last week said the vote audit process could not be completed until Sept 11.
However, Karzai’s security team, National Security Council (NSC), on Monday decided to send Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi to attend the NATO summit.
Military expert Abdul Wahid Taqat called the Wales summit as very important for Afghanistan. Its participants would discuss future international aid and NATO’s post-2014 mission in the country, he said, adding new decisions would be made in accordance with the allies past aid.
He said signing of the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the United States was important because future international support to Afghanistan was linked to the document.
“How the international community would renew its pledges when the new president is yet to be elected. Afghanistan would suffer until the security agreement is not signed,” Taqat believed.
Political analyst Abdul Hamid Mubariz said the NATO’s meeting was important for continued support to Afghanistan and Afghan president should have been there.
“Relationship between Afghanistan and the US has weakened and international aid decreased during the past two years. The next president would have shared Afghanistan’s requirements and promised improved relations with the US at the meeting,” he added.
Mubariz said sending the Afghan defence minister to the summit would not help achieve what Afghanistan required.
Discussions on the BSA had long been concluded between Afghan and US officials and a consultative Loya Jirga had already endorsed the agreement.
But President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the agreement and left it for his successor to sign.
US officials had warned full withdrawal their forces from Afghanistan and suspension of support to the country if the Afghan government did not sign the agreement.
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