Afghanistan is one of the most fragile states in the broader Central Asian region and has suffered from prolonged periods of internál strife and foreign occupation in the pást decades. The intemational community has since 2002 been trying to stabilisé its internál situation through both military force and civilian support and to pút the country on a path of development that may ensure the functioning of the country based on a sound economy and internál administration, and on a balanced régiónál and intemational co-operation. Afghanistan possesses valuable raw materials and a significant agricultural potential, and is an obvious junction fór intemational trade. Yet Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries with an underdeveloped society, struggling with a high level of illiteracy and significant deficiencies in terms of social and health services, as well as with a high rate of unemployment, a rapid increase of its population, where public expenditure is largely covered by the intemational donor community. Public administration has been weak due to the country’s historical and cultural traditions. Hence, ensuring the country’s extemal and internál security and creating the basic institutions of public administration and of a judicial system is fundamental fór a functioning State.

The development of the situation in Afghanistan has an impact on intemational security that stretches way beyond the boundaries of the region; sources of threat such as terrorism and drug production, the neutralisation of which intemational forces are fighting fór, may eventually regain a new momentum and may jeopardize peace and stability nőt only in the region, bút alsó the security of the broader Euro-Atlantic area. The intemational community thus has a fundamental interest in supporting the development of Afghanistan in a positive direction, thereby alsó helping the Central Asian region expand its economic and cultural potential by ways of peaceful co-operation. The stabilisation of the country cannot be achieved solely by military means. Therefore, the establishment and reinforcement of different structures of public administration, the development of a system of basic services and provisions and the creation of jobs remain fundamental fór the country’s independent functioning, which will become necessary once the intemational forces have withdrawn.

Hungary has traditionally had bút few contacts with Afghanistan, with bilateral frameworks constituting only a minor segment of the relationship between the two countries. During the pást few years our participation in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the responsibilities assumed in 2006 in the context of reconstruction in Baghlan province and the related development co-operation frameworks have become the centrepiece of bilateral relations. In the forthcoming years Hungary’s relationship with Afghanistan will be determined by the military support provided fór the stabilisation of the country and the extent of development assistance.

Hungary has been involved in the efforts of the intemational community in Afghanistan since 2003. On the basis of the respective U.N. Security Council resolutions , the country has been participating in NATO- and EU-led operations and missions in Afghanistan, as well as in the intemational development co-operation co-ordinated by the United Nations. The Hungárián engagement contributes to the stabilisation of Afghanistan, to combating intemational terrorism and drug trafficking, to the reestablishment of Afghan security forces, the enhancement of govemmental structures and the reconstruction of the country, as well as to the improvement of the living conditions of the Afghan people in Baghlan province in particular. While Hungary’s medium-term Afghanistan strategy adopted in 2009 remains valid in many respects, the change of the strategic environment and the corresponding shift in the main directions of intemational engagement call fór a review of the document and its adaptation to the latest developments.

In accordance with the decision taken at the 2010 Kabul Conference. July 2011 marked the beginning of the process of gradual handover of security responsibility to the Afghan authorities (“Inteqal - Transition”), which opened a new chapter in the consolidation process in Afghanistan. In the framework of this transition, Afghan forces will take over the primary responsibility fór security from the intemational community. This process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. The transition process will take piacé in close co-ordination with the Afghan authorities, at a pace determined by local circumstances.

The advancement of the transition process and the increase of the number and preparedness of Afghan security forces will allow the gradual drawdown of NATO’s combat troops. Simultaneously, ISAF’s tasks will alsó undergo transformation, with the emphasis shifting from active combat operations to supporting roles. Fór the transition process to be successful, the intemational community will need to continue to focus on ensuring the irreversibility of the process. Afghanistan must nőt once again become a safe haven fór intemational terrorism. With wide-ranging intemational co-operation the objective is to have a State structure that is able to independently guarantee stability in Afghanistan. This would alsó provide a credible underpinning of the policies of intemational actors involved in the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan in particular the UN, NATO, and the EU.

The key to a successful transition as well as to sustainable stability lies in the quantitative as well as qualitative development of the capabilities of the Afghan govemment and its security forces, and in reaching a political settlement that will pút an end to the armed conflict. Internál reconciliation and the re-integration intő society of former insurgents who have laid down their arms, and the involvement of other countries in the region in the stabilisation process are important components in seeking a political solution in Afghanistan.

Provinciái Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) assuming military and civilian tasks led by both NATO and partner nations will play a Central role in preparing and implementing the transition process. Responding to the requests of the Afghan govemment, PRT lead nations committed themselves to supporting the successful realisation of Afghan goals through the transformation of PRT tasks and structures and, upon completion of that process, to phasing out the PRTs in their current form.

Transition will need to continue to give due consideration to national and allied interests related to engagement in Afghanistan, as well as to the principle of a comprehensive approach and to the means available. Hungárián engagement in Afghanistan, in particular in the PRT- context, is an interagency undertaking involving ministries and background institutions as well as non-govemmental organisations.

In accordance with its political commitment reconfirmed alsó at govemmental level, Hungary will, in line with its burden-sharing capacities, continue to contribute to the efforts of the intemational community aiming at stabilising Afghanistan until the completion of the transition in 2014 and beyond. In parallel with the decrease of the military component of this engagement, increased govemmental attention should be paid and resources allocated to civilian activities.

Northern Afghanistan, Baghlan province in particular and the Hungarian-led PRT operating there will remain in the focus of the Hungárián engagement. A number of supply routes of strategic importance connecting Kabul and the Northern provinces are passing through Baghlan province. These routes nőt only provide a geographic link to neighbouring provinces bút are of great importance in the context of transition, as well. An estimated 70% per cent of ISAF supplies will by 2013 pass through provinces under the control of the Northern Régiónál Command, a fact that must be taken intő consideration in national planning. Keeping intemational strategic goals in mind, Hungárián presence in Afghanistan will be gradually decreased until laté 2014, taking local conditions intő account and in close co- ordination with our allies. However, transition does nőt mean complete withdrawal bút rather a transformation of the set of tasks. International support fór Afghanistan will continue alsó after the handover of security respon
sibility to the Afghan authorities.

The planning of civilian engagement until 2014

Development activities

Development co-operation between Hungary and Afghanistan was launched in 2003, and since 2007, linked to the operation of the Hungarian-led PRT in Baghlan province, has become the largest-scale component in Hungary’s bilateral intemational development assistance policy. In accordance with the Afghan National Development Strategy, Hungárián projects implemented with the participation of ministries and non-govemmental organisations have been carried out mainly in the field of public administration capacity building, agriculture, education, health services and infrastructural development.

Commensurate with its means, Hungary alsó takes part in the development activities of the intemational donor community in Afghanistan, primarily with a view to promoting the success of transition in Baghlan province. The transformation of the PRT calls fór the gradual reduction of the military and the increase of the civilian component, processes that need to be carried out simultaneously. To this end, the Hungárián Ministry of Foreign Affairs reinforced the civil component of the PRT with a development advisor in 2011, whose activities have resulted in the enhancement of the role of the civilian component in co-ordinating and monitoring development projects.

In the course of transition, we need to ensure that even amidst the planned and phased decrease of military engagement - which requires significant budgetary resources - and the limited development activities alsó determined by budgetary constraints, the Hungárián contribution remains beneficial, visible and sustainable, in accordance with intemational expectations and Hungárián capabilities. The scarce resources available fór development still need to be focused on Baghlan province, on a few priority areas, promoting directly the goals of transition and ensuring visibility, keeping qualitative aspects in the foreground.

Such fields may include the development of the province’s local administration capacities, the advancement of agricultural activities, as well as the continuation of the scholarship programme, all being issues attracting a direct interest from the Afghan side. These fields mirror the ideas related to the future of EU international development policy, focusing on branches that can help create the possibilities fór sustainable economic growth and social development. The enhancement of administrative capacities may contribute to more effective functioning of the provinciái govemment. The development of agriculture may increase local employment and generate revenues, contributing to the reduction of poverty and improving the situation of women. While operating in those two key target areas, we need to continue to rely on non-govemmental actors who can help to realize respective goals through their valuable experience gathered Ín the field. The continuation of co-operation in the field of education will have a multiple positive effect by offering a perspective fór the Afghan youth, increasing local intellectual potential, improving the image of Hungary, strengthening cultural ties, thus benefitting bilateral relations, as well.

In a country with conditions as difficult as in Afghanistan, effective and sustainable co- operation providing an appropriate level of visibility cannot be ensured with resources of the present magnitude. It is therefore essential fór Hungary to further expand co-operation with a view to increasing resources to be spent, and to identifying and involving additional donors and development resources. Such tasks have been assigned already to the recently deployed development adviser. Diplomatic steps will have to be taken to ensure that Baghlan province receives greater funds from the Afghan central budget or at least to warrant that budgetary resources appropriated to the province reach the local authorities.

The law enforcement component

Sustainable stability and development as well as the handover of security tasks to the Afghan authorities are nőt possible without proper and efficient structures ensuring public law and order. Police training and the development of public administration, where demand is on the rise, will therefore remain a priority fór Hungary. The development of local police force capabilities will facilitate the improvement of the security situation of the province and the region as a whole, as well as the establishment of structures that can permanently uphold law and order. The purpose of Hungárián engagement in the field of law enforcement is to contribute to the development of civilian police structures and structures of penal judiciary allowing fór sustainable and effective operation under Afghan leadership. Such activities are complemented by elaborating and implementing training programmes responding to Afghan demands and by providing proper supervision, guidance, advice and equipment.

The practical results of the development of security forces will appear only in the médium and long run. It is therefore important to continue with the previously launched programmes. Conditions to this end include the appropriate channelling of local demands, fínancial sustainability, long-term planning, flexibility and interaction, as well as ensuring proper co- ordination with programmes run by international actors.

Along with maintaining the current level of the Hungárián contribution to EUPOL, we will alsó need to initiate contributions to the training and equipment of Afghan police forces in the framework of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, as well as to launch activities providing more visibility. Given the limited resources, there is alsó a need to explore niche capabilities and vitai practical skills that may be overlooked by major international actors. At the same time, training of senior officials in Hungary will alsó have to be intensified and broadened in scope.

The NATO-led IS AF-operation constitutes the framework of the Hungárián military presence in Afghanistan. NATO’s transition strategy provides the guideline fór defining the concrete shape of Hungárián engagement. The gradual decrease of the presence as well as the transformation of its set of tasks will take piacé in the light of the security situation, through consultations with Central and local Afghan govemmental structures and in close co- ordination with our allies („in together, out together”).

Hungárián military engagement will continue in the framework of ISAF and the incorporated NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A). Hungárián troops conduct training, education and mentoring activities, and take part in special operations and in the ISAF command structure.

Being the “flagship” of Hungárián engagement, the PRT will remain in piacé until completion of its tasks. The goal is to hand over the provision of security to the Afghan authorities in Baghlan province no later than at the end of 2014. To achieve this objective Hungary is co- operating closely with its allies and partners as well as with the Afghan side. Hungary focuses its efforts and resources on providing every possible support to the province’s preparations fór transition.

In accordance with the evol útion of the PRTs, the tasks, structure and rangé of activities of the Hungarian-led PRT will need to be transformed in a way ensuring their adaptability to the roles emerging from the transition process. The military component of the PRT will have to be reduced in a way that will nőt decrease its ability to back up the civilian component. Military and civilian elements of the PRT will alsó have to co-operate closely during the transition period.

Hungary will maintain its contribution to training, education and mentoring as well as to the ISAF command structure, and will increase its contribution to performing tasks related to special operations.

The planning of the post-2014 Hungarian engagement in Afghanistan

Hungary is ready to take part in the stabilisation of Afghanistan alsó after the completion of transition. Post-transition Hungárián military engagement will need to be developed in the framework of a long-term partnership agreement between Afghanistan and NATO. We will alsó need to keep in mind the provisions contained in the EU Action Plán to assist Afghanistan, as well as those of the EU-Afghanistan Partnership and Development Agreement under preparation since these may alsó assign tasks to EU member states, including Hungary. It can be expected that instead of active military operations, the bulk of demands will relate to capacity development, training and mentoring, an increase of development activities, with the latter including alsó direct support to the Afghan govemment.

Given the implications of the security situation and high profilé events such as the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, and NATO’s Chicago Summit that will provide fundamental guidance fór fiiture tasks, flexibility of the present concept should be retained. It is equally important to co-ordinate Hungárián engagement with NATO-allies as well as Afghan partners.

With the advancement of transition, the issue of institutional presence in the post-PRT period will alsó appear on the agenda. It is still premature to define the respective frameworks, yet planning should take intő account the solutions to be chosen by the actors remaining in Afghanistan, exploiting opportunities of linkage and co-operation.

Adopted by the PRT Steering Board of the Hungarian Government on 23 November 2011