Transition in Afghanistan explained
With 50 per cent of the Afghan population living in areas of transition, it’s all change. But what exactly is ‘transition’? Report by Ian Carr.
Look up “transition” in the Oxford English Dictionary and it will define it as “a passing from one place, state or condition to another”. That seems fair enough, but like many things in Afghanistan, when applied to the transfer of responsibility for security, the definition is not quite so straightforward; which is why Brigadier Tim Bevis has spent 12 months in Kabul as Director of the ISAF Transition and Assessment Group developing and refining “what we mean by transition”.
The ISAF brief describes transition as a Joint Afghan NATO Inteqal (the Dari and Pashtu word for Transition) Board, ultimately resulting in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) taking responsibility for security. It also makes clear that transition is a lengthy process, not an event. And although working towards a full ANSF lead is not time-conditional, 31 December 2014 is concentrating the mind:
“Our model of transition,” says Brigadier Bevis, “is security with a big S, governance with a reasonable-sized G and development with a small D – development is a slower burn over a longer time frame.
“The problem is – well, one of the problems is – each geographical area has a different starting point, and maybe a different end point, and a different journey to get there.”
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