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Michael Daxner

The Afghan Intervention – Fragile State, Unstable Society as Results from No Lessons Learned

CAS Public Colloquium | Wednesday, 22 May 2013  | 05:00 pm
Date: Wednesday, 22 May 2013  | 05:00 pm - 07:00 pm
Speaker: Michael Daxner  (University of Oldenburg/FU Berlin, Germany)
Location: Centre for Area Studies | Thomaskirchhof 20 | 04109 Leipzig
Organization: Centre for Area Studies (U Leipzig, Germany)


The Afghan intervention by Western powers of 2001 is the last in a long line of foreign interventions. If we only take the last 40 years, we find indirect external interventions before 1978 both from the U.S. and the former S.U.; then we have the direct intervention and occupation by the Soviet Union in 1978, to be followed by a heavy internal war of many factions, some of the supported by external powers. The Taliban, seizing power in 1995, had enjoyed some external support i.a. from Al Qaida and Pakistan before that date, and still get this support – partially – from these sources, while orienting themselves differently in the course of time. After 2011, OEF and ISAF have been building the backbone of a society of intervention, while the political framework and sustainable economic, cultural and civic development options for a state under reconstruction were neglected or missed. In my presentation I shall start with the present stage of “transition”, i.e. the period till 2014, when the combat troops of ISAF will be gone – A retreat? A failed expedition? A necessary bridge into what is euphemistically called “transformation”: a period that shall last until 2024, and get the government in Kabul the chance to develop and enhance full sovereignty over its internal and foreign affairs. More so, it is hoped that the Afghan government, supported by the ANSF and international assistance will develop functional statehood and exercise good governance. Why this is hope, but not one based on solid expectations, will be in the core of the second part of the presentation. In retrospect, I will comment on the concept of societies of intervention; on the role of the U.S. in not even trying to build a state during the Golden Hour; on COIN; and on the various roles the international actors and the local powers play simultaneously and ever conflicting.

Biographical Note:

Michael Daxner undertook his studies at the Universities of Vienna and Freiburg, where he was enrolled in pedagogy, philosophy, as well as humanities and social sciences. His research interests focus on cultures of intervention and cultural policies; civil/military interaction and governance in Afghanistan; and higher education policy. Michael has held prominent posts as a political and academic consultant, for example for the UNMIK in Kosovo and on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office in Afghanistan. Professor Daxner was president of the University of Oldenburg, Germany from 1986 to 1998. He has taught and conducted research at universities in Oldenburg, Osnabrück and at the Free University in Berlin. Since 2009, he has been a senior fellow at the Berghof Foundation. Professor Daxner currently is leading a project at FU Berlin titled “Security and Development in North-Eastern Afghanistan”.