Plagued by factionalism and corruption, Afghanistan is far from ready to assume responsibility for security when U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in 2014. That makes the political challenge of organising a credible presidential election and transfer of power from President Karzai to a successor that year all the more daunting. A repeat of previous elections’ chaos and chicanery would trigger a constitutional crisis, lessening chances the present political dispensation can survive the transition.
Senior analyst Candace Rondeaux is quoted as saying, “There is a real risk that the regime in Kabul could collapse upon NATO’s withdrawal in 2014. The window for remedial action is closing fast. The Afghan army and police are overwhelmed and underprepared for the transition. Another botched election and resultant unrest would push them to breaking point.” The report emphasizes the need for restraint and responsibility on the part of President Karzai, and properly run elections over the next two years — outcomes which will hardly be easy to come by.