USIP’s Bill Byrd examines the challenges to the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework for Afghanistan, and what could be done to make its implementation more effective.

Summary

  • Implementation of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework for Afghanistan (TMAF) is being undermined by: (1) doubts about the realism of some Afghan government and international community pledges; (2) intrusion of overriding short-term priorities; (3) emphasis on process at expense of substance; and (4) focus on the TMAF distracting from achieving results and outcomes.
  • Rather than investing more effort in trying to fix and fine-tune the TMAF, the Afghan government and its international partners need to manage their own and each other’s expectations.
  • Both sides can responsibly pursue their respective, clearly-defined objectives, while staying realistic about overlaps and disconnects. The main objectives of Afghanistan and the international community are interdependent and in many ways broadly consistent—provided they include a broader, medium-term perspective rather than solely serving narrow and short-term interests.
  • Key milestones of the current political and security transition include the 2014 presidential election bringing into office a new government perceived as credible and legitimate, and completion of the international military drawdown with Afghan national security forces effectively taking over.
  • Once these elements are successfully in place the TMAF, if tempered by realistic ambitions and timeframes, may provide the basis for a productive partnership between Afghanistan and the international community over the medium term.

About This Brief

William Byrd is a development economist and has worked on Afghanistan in various capacities over the past decade and longer. During 2002–2006, he was stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served as the World Bank’s country manager for Afghanistan and then as economic advisor. He is currently an Afghanistan senior expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). This Peace Brief builds on his earlier analysis of the July 2012 Tokyo international meeting on Afghanistan and the mutual accountability framework agreed there, as well as a note on the subsequent Afghan government decree that put forward implementation benchmarks. The views expressed in this brief do not necessarily reflect the views of USIP, which does not take policy positions.

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