Ahead of the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, the international community started calling for "regional solutions" to the conflict. Regional actors are expected to take over responsibility for Afghanistan as the US and international troops withdraw. However, since a number of regions with their distinctive security governance mechanisms overlap in Afghanistan, the development of regional solutions is difficult. Against this background, the project addresses the following questions:
- What impact do the policies pursued by an external great power, the United States, have on the policies of the regional actors India, Pakistan, China and Iran?
- Why does the overlap of different regional security governance mechanisms hamper regional cooperation?
Contribution to International Research
In the recent past, regions and regional security have generated a great deal of academic interest both in the fields of IR and peace and conflict research, but few studies have explicitly addressed the role of dominant regional states in the management of security within their regions. This study addresses this gap and takes into account the peculiarity of Afghanistan’s position at the crossroads of different regions by arguing that the problems of regional cooperation can be best explained by taking into account the overlap of those dynamics.
Research Design and Methods
The analysis focuses, in a first step, on the development of hypotheses on the impact of external shocks on mechanisms of regional security governance and on the interplay of those mechanisms. These hypotheses are tested for the South Asian region with reference to the announcement of the ISAF troop withdrawal. The analysis is based on expert interviews, the qualitative analysis of official documents and of secondary sources as well as on process tracing. In a second step, the project provides an assessment of the regional security governance mechanisms of the regions that overlap in Afghanistan (South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia and the Middle East). This part of the analysis is carried out in Close cooperation with scholars from GIGA’s partner institute IDSA.