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What Somalia Can Learn from Afghanistan Fast Moved Crisi

Mohamed Muse

Saturday - September 11, 2021

This piece of writing is trying to script some of analysis is what is happening in Afghanistan and what can be learned from the onset. Situation is tightening its firm grip in Afghanistan. Every country, be in with the advance stable democracy and with stable security, but could be overwhelmed by such kind of situation caused by unpredictable crisis. What media is reporting from Afghan is disturbing, though yet with no significant civilian casualties. Difficulties in this regard is bearing the fruit of sudden withdrawal of US-NATO. This has ravaging the country like no any other thing living in the memory. Taliban have gained grounds in all over the towns and districts in the country while Afghan security forces were massively retreating their positions which demonstrates grieving circumstances, despite billions of dollars spending to support and training the Afghan forces since 2001 when US troops and NATO forced out Taliban from power.

Are they significantly stronger than before? What’s motivate their fast move to capture towns or district including capital Kabul, is what could be described local support of Afghan population who lives in the areas controlled by Taliban. However, some have reportedly fled or internally displaced because of the fight, fear of their lives to be in danger, and reached in Kabul, also some have left from the capital, including the president as reported. The withdrawal of the alliance forces after 20 years without prior plan to make necessary arrangement for Afghan forces to take full responsibility of their security. This could be disbelieving to so many, because BBC reported on 13 August 2021, that only in one day, five provincial capitals fells into Taliban hands which show how quickly things have changed with notwithstanding of human tragedy of loss lives, broken families, and scared community. Significant social and economic changes caused by the fast-moving fight could further be persist for more swiftly than that’s expected.

Despite long battel and conflict affected Afghanistan, along with presence of major foreign security forces, the argue is that why now this has triggered the re-emergence of Taliban fast moving to capture the capitals, and districts, if they have been drove out or weakened their capabilities to carry out massive operations, which’s also so quick to work on. Apparently, to me this is an evidence of how a little contribution to peace and security of a country by foreign forces like Afghanistan, can make little changes to peace, because the engagement of corporate social responsibility will never be a productive in specific context. Since the local communities play an essential role in promoting and sustaining peace and security, they need engaged to fill the security gab in their own country for ensuring a lasting peace, but seems that did not happen in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, and yet it was only to keep them at pay. Now, Taliban is in control all over Afghanistan, called the war in Afghan is over, and soon willing to declare Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.


Difference between ALshabaab and Taliab

Even though Taliban use the Alqa’ada style for their attacks, but they don’t show attacking and killing foreigners in Afghanistan and local population or civilians, and military inside their country, like what Al-Shabaab does in Somalia. The likelihood that they carryout terrorist attacks in the homeland of those foreign troops were remain uninterested, but again it cannot be denied that they have networks pursuing to exploit opportunities to make Taliban immediate international terrorists. But then again, they use guerrilla tactics to threaten countries of the foreign troops staying in Afghanistan, nonetheless sometimes those who linking to the Pakistani Taliban group, which is distinct from the Afghan Taliban, and has a record of involvement in international terrorism.  TTPs also remain potential to revitalize the current crisis make use of it in Pakistan and wider region, because Afghanistan -Pakistan ties and future stability in the region. The international cooperation between US, Pakistan, and NATO sometimes pressure Taliban to carry out activities in the foreign countries and its leadership who willing to negotiate their political agenda with those foreign countries. Trump administration has directly engaged with Taliban, which means they are not in state department’s list of international terrorists. On the other hand, Al-Shabaab in Somalia continue targeting to carry out attacks against regional peacekeeping forces (AMISOM), Somalia National Army, civilians, foreigners, by claiming are Islamist group fighting to defend Islamic religion and occupational forces in Somalia, which has nothing to do with local civilians and Somali people as whole. So, support to both group either by civilian population or international actors remain different because of their ideological difference, their strength in manpower, and that why Al-Shabaab may not able to have that fast-moving attacks against government forces, and civilians after the AU-led mission leaves Somalia late 2021.

What Somalia can Learn from What is Happening in Afghanistan

Somalia Should Strengthen its Army Forces (SNA)

The current situation in Afghanistan shows that how the country’s security forces (military) have not been prepared to manage a large scale, and influx attacks from Taliban or any internal and external threats, and be able to deploy multiple and separate combatants. This was unexpected for them the pull out of US and NATA troops with unprecedent arrangements and is a living instance to take advantage by other fragile states or countries that relies foreign troops for their national security. That’s why its good time for Somalia to take this a serious lesson for its own forces and reinforce structurally for its own forces. Ensure to avoid internal division within the security forces which can make their job and working together very difficult

Federal Government to Engage with UNSC to Lift Army Embargo so that SNA can be well Equipped and can Battle Both Internal and External threats.

SNA to be more effective, their military arsenals and necessary equipment be supportive to the forces, and stand stronger to their own foots. The federal government of Somalia (FGS) should engage thoroughly with the UNSC and request to lift the long overdue arms embargo in the country, but the leaders should demonstrate leadership and accountable on this by qualifying their case through the lessons that can be learned from Afghanistan, but also presenting clear plan on how the weapons have been managed over the last few years, and how it will going to be controlled the incoming weapons, and prevent not be diverted into the wrong hands. The FGS leaders must use its diplomatic challenges that could assist their voice to be perceived, and in the meantime, they must use the necessary resource/tools available to them and mobilise its manpower to ensure they are ready for quick reinforcement in when required and where required of the battle field.

Initiate an Effective Dialogue with Al-Shabaab:

Does Al-Shabaab intent to start negotiation with Somali government and the people of Somalia, since they have kill so many, devastated a lot of properties, causes many families to loss for loved once, and they also loss a lot. To safe remains, government should demonstrate willingness, leadership, and initiate how in the best options to bring those Al-Shabaab militants into the negotiation table to end the ongoing human casualties and stop further loss of lives. If not, what’s the alternate (militarily), is the government ready to crash them militarily and put a lot of pressure so that those who are wishing to surrender, they will have to do so, others will escape from the offensive, and at least they can be in deep collapse. However, the last options require a something big to reality, like that drives in one morning that feeds you an energy (leadership). In terms of asking questions, such as ‘what do we have on ground, and what we don’t have’, so forces will have something clear for their priorities and activities that needs to be achieved within short period of time.

Whether it will be a benchmark or not, there should always be a commitment to overcome endless tasks, and its associate process but only within the available tools and resources. Yet, its depends on what’s being planned to construct a good start from an hour, daily, weekly, and monthly to achieve certain goals, and that’s what I mean when I am talking about (militarily), this can only be done when action is taken by the believing leader with specific goals in mind. Thus, does SNA ready to follow this worthy own way, in order not to wait to be like the situation in Afghanistan today.

Ensure AMISOM to Implement Transition of security responsibility to Somali National Army.

Turning out to be quicker and paves the way a good and proper transition from AMISOM to SNA, it’s important that government leaders to ensure building a good relationship between civil society and security sector which is fundamental to human security and help the fight against Al-Shabaab militants, if no negotiation option is available. Because, civilians view security forces with suspicious, and perceiving them as predators rather than protectors, and that’s why civilians in Afghanistan cooperated with Taliban to take over the country. Also, the relationship between the civil society and security forces could be a well administered problem and would further help corporation between security forces and civil society as part of local ownership in security sector. This will assist Somalia to use logic local ownership techniques in the security sector ‘’who assesses, who plans, who implements, and who evaluates’’, so the country will not turn into like Afghanistan and ready set the preparation in such significant security implications, in pacifying that SNA will capable to hold grounds after AMISOM exists from the country.

Fighting for Corruption and at Same Time Promote and Encourage National Army to Motivate Them.

Somalia should learn from areas of military and police community engagement strategies, in the failed Afghanistan where the security is aiming to build relationships with the community, civil-military coordination, protection of civilians, negotiation, and good governance, requires capacity to help the military and police understand civil society and their approaches to human security. Create significant opportunities to promote fundamental changes that could decrease inequalities, strength social network relations, and improve state-society relations.

Clan issues that Al-Shabaab Uses as a Power:

Increase government commitments to address recurrent clan issues such as clan conflicts which in the meantime does not happen the areas controlled by Al-Shabaab and uses as power of human security. Strength to use traditional mechanisms that serve as a veneer to cover systematic problems such as clan corrupt behaviours that enables the security threats to endanger both political and economic interest of the country. The government should ensure to prioritize the local security needs, and identify security infrastructure gabs. Pay great attention to the community reconciliation to the coexistence of divided communities and the building of the trust. 

Strategic Dialogue within the Government:

The diverse stakeholders must participate in broader of the policy-making and programming of the security sector. Involving just a handful of local elite men in a consultation cannot yield an accurate picture of the interests or needs of all social groups in society. It’s important that government should engage every individual in society, from children to elders, males and females, working in every sector of the society, with different levels of education, religious beliefs, economic status, and with diverse gender, because these will add a meaningful to local ownership. Strength government oversight and engagement mechanisms withits institutions and activities that provide citizens the ability to contribute, influence and control security sector policies and programming. Information sharing is very important when it comes to human security, because government could identify threats from Al-Shabaab, but that only happen when civil society also identify Al-Shabaab threats to the government, so they would maintain peace together.


Political Stability to Avoid AS to Take Advantage from the Existing Security Gabs.

Somali people and their government will for ever not rely on outsiders to take care the national government, instead they must attempt rebuild themselves, local groups should collaborate to use their own incentives or the time to build coalitions among themselves to form the national government they want. This would assist the emergence of stable and functional governance in the long run and could prevent country to get trapped by a new violence. As, without outside intervention, goverment leaders at both levels and political stakeholders must take greater incentive to build broad coalitions between social groups to improve state society relations, and issue of relevance in this kind of relationship building among local groups in negotiating with each other to change in identifying common ground proposals and platforms that is essential to country’s sustainable peace. Then, without such robust local efforts, the security gains made in the last 20 years may simply fail, just like what’s happen now in Afghanistan.

Somalia should learn about and identify what has been in the security sector challenges and gabs that dictated Taliban had used to achieve so much of its current activities and capture all the territories in Afghanistan including capital Kabul, and be prepared to prevent and detect Al-Shabaab not to copy and paste in Somalia for that enduring tactics.


Mohamed Muse

Professional/Interested in the areas of peace and security/sustainable peace:

Twitter: @MohamedMuse9


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