Denmark takes the lead on Afghanistan coalition

Prospective donor countries are likely to be hesitant to divert more funds into Afghanistan, expert warns

December 31, 2014 is the date that all foreign military personnel will have left Afghanistan. From then on the Afghani security forces, ANSF, will be on their own in defending their embattled country from the Taleban.

Denmark’s foreign minister, Villy Søvndal, is heading a new initiative, dubbed the 3-C (Coalition of Committed Contributors), that will help stabilise Afghanistan after the withdrawal of coalition troops.

Søvndal has sent a proposal to 87 countries appealing for financial contributions to help the Afghans foot the bill for a national security force that is expected to exceed 355,000 men by 2015. Søvndal previously announced in December that Denmark would continue to provide Afghanistan with financial support following the 2014 withdrawal of NATO forces.

“We owe the Afghans as good a transition as possible and that is why I have proposed this 3-C initiative,” Søvndal told Politiken newspaper. “I believe that the best thing the international community can give the Afghan people is to provide a specific and firm promise that we will be there for them after 2014.”

As of today 23 countries, including Denmark, have signed the initiative, which is expected to raise 23 billion kroner a year to help support the massive resource allotment needed to address Afghan security concerns.

Despite the good intentions, however, there are a few parameters of the deal that have yet to be negotiated. The amounts to be donated by each country have not been determined. It is expected that the terms will be negotiated during the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago in May and a donor conference in Tokyo in July.

Tomas Valasek, the director of foreign policy and defence at the Centre for European Reform, said that countries that have already signed the initiative may be a little less forthcoming during these negotiations as many governments are struggling with a financial recession and the general feeling that they have given enough to the struggle in Afghanistan.

“Many will probably give political promises, but actually getting money on the table will be like trying to squeeze blood from a stone,” Valasek told Politiken. ”That’s because there are many governments that are looking forward to not spending money in Afghanistan anymore. And the security forces are only one component; what we really need is a stable government. We don’t have that now, and we won’t have that in 2014 either.”

Yet the fact that so many countries have agreed to the initiative is a good sign, according to Søvndal.

“Now the countries have said that they want to be a part of this. We haven’t agreed on an amount but that will come in round two,” Søvndal told Politiken. “I hope that many nations will join the initiative and I am pleased that so many have already pledged their support.”

The initiative also states that Afghanistan will donate three of the 23 billion kroner to the project.

The countries that have signed the initiative are: Denmark, USA, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Croatia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, Australia, South Korea and Albania.